Northern Highlight

Fairbanks, Alaska is an unassuming sort of place: the architecture is generally plain and the winter weather makes thermal underwear a blessing. Tourists use Fairbanks as a gateway to the subarctic wilderness, but a dramatic addition to the skyline is slowing down newcomers on their way through. It's the striking Museum of the North.

At the end of a $42 million renovation, the museum has won praise for the extent to which it now references its surroundings. The exterior architecture was inspired in part by the tectonic plates that gave rise to Alaska's mountains. Large windows flood the...

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