Abandoned bus made famous by Into The Wild set for a place in museum

A bus abandoned in the Alaskan wilderness and made famous by the book and film Into The Wild is set to be displayed at a museum after being moved for public safety.

The 1940s-era vehicle was airlifted from its spot west of the Teklanika River by a US Army helicopter last month.

The bus was the final resting place of 24-year-old adventurer Christopher McCandless, who lived in it during the summer of 1992 and died of starvation after 114 days in the wilderness.

It captured the imagination of fans from around the world who were tempted into sometimes fatal excursions to visit the bus.

Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has now said it intends to negotiate with the University of Alaska’s Museum of the North over taking the vehicle for display.

DNR commissioner Corri Feige said: “Of the many expressions of interest in the bus, the proposal from the UA Museum of the North best met the conditions we at DNR had established to ensure this historical and cultural object will be preserved in a safe location where the public could experience it fully, yet safely and respectfully, and without the spectre of profiteering.”

McCandless’ story was told by author Jon Krakauer in the 1996 book Into The Wild, which was adapted into a 2007 film directed by Sean Penn.

The bus was considered a danger to the public after tempting people into the Alaskan wilderness. Two travellers died after drowning while on their way to the vehicle in separate incidents in 2010 and 2019, officials said.

Since being moved last month, the bus has been kept at an undisclosed location. The DNR said it received “dozens” of suggestions for what to do with it and offers from museums, institutions and individuals from across the US.

They had plans to preserve, exhibit, monetise or memorialise it, Feige said. He added the DNR and the university, in the city of Fairbanks, expect to come to an agreement within the next few months.

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