Among the comments yesterday, Red made mention of the Canadian writer Pierre Berton's two books on the Klondike gold rush, which took place in Canada but also had dramatic effects on the history of Alaska. I've read both books and highly recommend them. I also recommend a book titled Alaska: Saga Of A Bold Land, by the author Walter Borneman, a look at the history of that state. For a quick overview of Canadian rushes, including the major ones in British Columbia, check this link.
This was one of the larger artifacts in the exhibit on gold rushes at the Museum, a large wagon of the period.
This collection of guns and rifles would have been typical for the era. Prospectors would have used them to defend their claims, and what had been the common practice in California or Australia carried over into the British Columbia rushes- and later into the Klondike: always keep your weapon close.
Women were a relative rarity in gold fields through the North American west (aside from prostitutes who ended up taking a good portion of whatever prospectors were digging up). This period clothing caught my eye.
This display case dealt with those distracting things that could take a prospector's mind off the reality that his dreams of gold riches weren't quite as he expected: alcohol, tobacco, or gambling, all of which made their presence known in gold rushes both in America and in Canada.
Faro was actually more popular through the 19th century West than poker, and this is a faro game and case counter. I'd heard the word in many a Western movie, but those films don't really show you the game itself. Your bet went on one of thirteen cards painted on the board; the dealer would draw two cards. The first card paid the house, the second paid the players. The counter would show how many cards were left in the deck, and players could also bet with the house.
This contraption might help a gambler cheat at cards, holding a high card concealed beneath the sleeve of a jacket on a device that could be fastened to the arm. Assuming of course that it wasn't discovered in advance, in which case you'd be in a spot of trouble.
Coming out of the exhibit was an interactive scale- you could see what your weight might be worth in gold. I'm apparently worth over 4 million dollars.... if I was made of solid gold. This display nearby featured gold in some current uses, such as Olympic medals, Emmys, or gold plated records for high selling albums- in this case, for Bryan Adams.