The Alaska State Museum was established on June 6, 1900, when an Act of Congress created the Historical Library and Museum for the District of Alaska. The purpose of the Museum was to collect, preserve and exhibit objects from the territory. Although the collection of artifacts and volumes grew rapidly, a permanent place to house and display materials was not found for 20 years. Initially, the collection was originally stored wherever space could be found, with no provision made for public access. In 1920, the collection of the Alaska Historical Museum was made available to the public in the Arctic Brotherhood Building in Juneau. In 1923, the Territory assumed responsibility for Museum operations and the Museum continued to acquire and display important historical objects, and also developed research, tour guide programs, and educational activities. By the mid-1940s, the collection had outgrown its space and the Museum could no longer adequately store and display its materials.