Welcome to the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
Imagine a world ...
Imagine a world where the vast steppe stretches unbroken as far as the eye can see. Envision a place where predators of staggering proportions compete with human hunters for food. Picture a land where the animals and plants struggle to survive in the cold, dry treeless expanse. Explore the treasures of that world within the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre and watch Beringia come alive.
What is Beringia?
Between two continents on the edge of the Arctic lay the ancient place called Beringia. It was a land of ice, giant mammals and the First People of North America. We live in unusual times. We may think that our climate today is typical but over the past 2 million years, the climate of the northern hemisphere has been dominated by huge ice sheets. During each Ice Age, vast glaciers formed in the Northern Hemisphere, locking up much of the world's water as ice. Global sea levels dropped as much as 100 - 150 metres as a result, revealing the floor of the Bering Sea and creating a land connection between Alaska and Siberia (shown by the area in green). This land bridge was part of a larger unglaciated area called Beringia.
Glaciers never formed in Beringia because the climate was too dry. Beringia, clothed in the hardy grasses and herbs of the mammoth steppe, was home to the giants of the Ice Age: the mammoth, the giant short-faced bear, the steppe bison, and the scimitar cat. At the height of the last great Ice Age, the most successful hunters of all, human beings, entered Beringia from the Siberian steppes, conquering the last frontier for the human species.
Beringia vanished with the end of the last Ice Age. But parts of this lost land can still be found in northern and central Yukon, Alaska and Siberia.
About the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
You are about to embark on a prehistoric journey, a voyage into the past when woolly mammoths and scimitar cats used to roam Beringia. These large mammals of an age long ago are recalled in the First Nations legends of gigantic animals and the creation of the world from a flooded land.
During the great Klondike Gold Rush word got out that there was more than just gold in "them there hills"...there were strange things too! Soon scientists from around the world were coming to the Yukon to record and collect spectacular ice age fossils. However, these discoveries were not news to the Yukon First Nations who already knew about the underground world of bones. It was not long before they would have a chance to tell their stories. In the 1960s and 1970s another wave of scientists arrived in the Yukon to document fossils and artifacts from the Old Crow area, including the famous Bluefish Caves. What they found set the scientific world on its head and challenged entrenched ideas about the peopling of the New World.
We welcome you to come and share the excitement of our heritage as we introduce you to the rich history of Beringia.
We can provide interpretive information and guided tours through this unique facility which includes interactive multi-media presentations. Murals and dioramas depict the Beringia landscape, flora and fauna. The Centre also features a film, original works of art, and exhibits of discovered remains from throughout the Yukon. The Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre is located in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada at km 1473 on the Alaska Highway, just south of the Whitehorse International Airport and the Yukon Transportation Museum. The drive from downtown Whitehorse via the North Access (Two Mile Hill) or South Access (Robert Service Way) and the Alaska Highway takes less than 10 minutes.
The Centre is wheelchair accessible.