From the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., to the National Park Service’s Iñupiat Heritage Center above the Arctic Circle in Barrow, Alaska, the history of the American West has been collected, saved, curated, displayed and interpreted in just about every way imaginable. From the supposed “smallest museum in the world” in Superior, Arizona, to the five-museum complex of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, every kind of museum—and topic—has been organized and displayed.
Since True West’s first year in print in 1953, the editorial team has partnered with museums across the country to tell the West’s story, and encourage readers to visit Western museums. In honor of this historic partnership this, the third annual True West Ultimate Historic Travel Guide, features select museums across the five Western regions of the United States. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list but, rather, an inspiration to visit a Western museum and experience the dynamic, enthralling history of the American West.
The Pacific Coast
California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington
The California Historical Society
When on a heritage tour of the San Francisco Bay area, visit the California Historical Society, where permanent and rotating exhibits provide an excellent introduction to the Golden State’s complex history. Also schedule time to tour the Presidio of San Francisco, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Golden Gate Park and Mission San Francisco de Asís, the oldest structure in the city.
678 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105
415-357-1848 • CaliforniaHistoricalSociety.org
Autry National Center of the American West
The top Western museum in California, the Autry National Center of the American West, encompasses a broad history of the region with its permanent exhibits featuring rare and unusual Old West firearms in the George Gamble Firearms Gallery and entertaining displays on popular culture of film and television in the Ted and Marian Craver Imagination Gallery. After a tour of the Autry, don’t miss a chance to visit Western historian Charles Lummis’s Historic Southwest Museum, which is now owned and operated by the Autry.
Griffith Park, 4700 Western Heritage Wy, Los Angeles, CA 90027
323-667-2000 • TheAutry.org
One of the most impressive and well displayed collections of artifacts related to the history of the American West is located one hour east of San Francisco at the Blackhawk Museum’s Spirit of the Old West. The museum displays many rare artifacts, including American Indian headdresses, weapons, tools and decorative arts, as well as a carefully curated collection of remarkable historical items related to American settlers—an impressive display of early firearms, outfits and cowboy memorabilia.
3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville, CA 94506
925-736-2280 • BlackhawkMuseum.org
California State Railroad Museum
More than 225,000 square feet of exhibit space houses 21 restored locomotives and cars, including the Gov. Stanford locomotive. After a tour, don’t miss a chance to take a ride on the Sacramento Southern Railroad at the Old Sacramento depot. Tickets are purchased at the museum and either the Granite Rock No. 10 steam locomotive or one of the vintage diesel locomotives from the museum’s collection will pull the excursion train.
125 I St, Sacramento, CA 95814
916-323-9280 • CaliforniaRailroad.museum
Columbia State Historic Park
The Gold Rush-era park and historic district have been preserved with shops, restaurants and two historic hotels. Visitors have a chance to “time-travel” to the 1850s, when a billion dollars’ worth of gold was mined in the area. Tourists experience a bygone era by watching proprietors in period clothing conduct business in the style of yesterday. There are opportunities to ride a 100-year-old stagecoach, pan for gold and explore the real working businesses of Columbia.
11255 Jackson St, Columbia, CA 95310
209-588-9128 • Parks.CA.gov
Museum of Western Film History
Open since 2006, the museum is the nation’s finest dedicated to the history and popular culture of Western films. Visitors will enjoy an outstanding collection of Western cinema memorabilia, much of it focused on the 400 films and 1,000-plus commercials filmed in Inyo County’s picturesque Sierra Nevada landscape. In addition to events held throughout the year, the museum hosts the internationally acclaimed Lone Pine Film Festival every October.
701 S Main St, Lone Pine, CA 93545
760-876-9909 • MuseumOfWesternFilmHistory.org
Idaho State Museum
The Idaho State Historical Society’s flagship museum reopened after major renovations in 2017, with exciting interactive displays such as “Spirit of the Land and Its People.” Exhibits explain how Idaho’s diverse cultures have adapted to the state’s land and geography. Exhibits also hosts educational programs throughout the year, with special spaces designed for adults and children. After a tour, make time to visit the nearby Idaho State Capitol and its grounds and gardens.
610 Julia Davis Dr, Boise, ID 83702
208-334-2120 • History.Idaho.gov
Located in Palouse country, the historic heart and home of the Appaloosa horse, the unique museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the breed and its relationship with the Nez Perce people. Exhibitions detail the history of the Appaloosa, the flight of the Nez Perce from Oregon to Montana in 1877 and the importance of the horse to Indian culture.
2720 W Pullman Rd, Moscow, ID 83843
208-882-5578 • AppaloosaMuseum.com
Basque Museum & Cultural Center
Situated in the Basque district of Boise, the museum and cultural center preserves and promotes Idaho’s rich Basque history and culture. Don’t miss insightful exhibitions including “An Enduring Culture: The Basques Past & Present” and “Artzainak: A Life of Solitude & Hard Work” before touring the historic Cyrus Jacobs-Uberuaga House.
611 W Grove St. Boise, ID 83702
208-343-2671 • BasqueMuseum.eus
National Oregon / California Trail Center
Step back into the 1850s for an immersive Overland Trail living history program at the National Oregon/California Trail Center. Costumed docents and live actors lead this interpretive experience. Visitors will enjoy touring an Old West mercantile and gun shop, taking a covered wagon train adventure and experiencing an evening wagon train program at the Clover Creek Encampment.
320 N 4th St, Montpelier, ID 83254
866-847-3800 • OregonTrailCenter.org
Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural and Education Center
One of the only museums in the country dedicated to memorializing the life of an American Indian woman, the center’s exhibits interpret the natural and cultural history of the Salmon and Lemhi river valleys, the influence of Lewis and Clark Expedition and Sacajawea and her people, the Agai’dika Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
2700 Main St, Salmon, ID 83467
208-756-1188 • SacajaweaCenter.org
Nevada Historical Society, Reno
The state’s oldest cultural institution is home to the American Gaming Archives, a collection of gambling manufacturers’ equipment, research materials and ephemera. The Reno Gallery celebrates many of the city’s iconic moments, characters, institutions and structures. The Dat-So-La-Lee collection features a variety of work from the storied basket weaver. The society’s research library is a resource for casual history buffs and scholars alike.
1650 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 89503
775-688-1190 • NVCulture.org
Nevada Museum of Art
Founded in 1931, the museum is one of the oldest cultural institutions in the Silver State. The permanent collection is exhibited in four themed areas: the Robert S. and Dorothy J. Keyser Art of the Greater West Collection, the Carol Franc Buck Altered Landscape Photography Collection, the Contemporary Art Collection and the E. L. Wiegand Work Ethic in American Art Collection. The museum also hosts special, temporary art and artisan exhibitions, from the recent “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” to the current “Treasures from the Robert Lee Collection Decorative Arms,” which showcases artistic embellishments on medieval to modern firearms from the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.
160 W Liberty St, Reno, NV 89501
775-329-3333 • NevadaArt.org
Nevada State Museum, Carson City
Housed in the former U.S. Mint, the museum tells the state’s history from prehistoric to modern times. The Natural History section features animals—from mammoth bones found on the Black Rock Desert to an ichthyosaur, which swam the waters of ancient Lake Lahontan. The “Under One Sky” exhibit tells the story of Nevada’s first inhabitants and Coin Press 1 operates to celebrate the building’s 150-year history.
600 N Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701
775-687-4810 • NVCulture.org
Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas
Located on the beautiful Springs Preserve, the museum contains 13,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space and brings the history of Las Vegas to life. The “Showgirl Wall” exhibit features spectacular costumes once worn in iconic stage shows on The Strip. Military displays celebrate the battleship USS Nevada and other exhibits detail Nevada’s infamous characters from Howard Hughes to the Rat Pack.
309 S Valley View Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89107
702-486-5205 • NVCulture.org
Nevada State Railroad Museum
No other museum in the world features two fully operational and restored steam locomotives from 1875. This museum showcases the narrow-gauge Glenbrook and standard-gauge Inyo. The collection also features the historic McKeen Motor Car, a National Historic Landmark; and Coach 17, the only surviving railcar that was present at the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad and the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, Utah, in 1869.
2180 S Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701
775-687-6953 • NVCulture.org
East Ely Railroad Depot Museum
The museum commemorates the era when the Nevada Northern Railway was in full operation for the copper mining camps of eastern Nevada. The depot remains virtually untouched since the end of railroad freight operations, offering a glimpse into the past. The museum works in conjunction with the Nevada Northern Railway, which operates rolling stock from the railroad’s heyday.
1100 Ave A, Ely, NV 89301
Northeastern Nevada Museum
Original art by Will James is reason enough to visit this museum, but add to that collection the seasonal exhibitions of cowboy gear, wildlife and pioneer items and it’s a well-rounded place. The Bob Chow Collection showcases a unique exhibition of firearms that were popular during the settlement of the West in the 19th century.
1515 Idaho St, Elko, NV 89801
775-738-3418 • MuseumElko.org
Oregon Historical Society Museum
Start your tour of the Beaver State’s flagship museum in the 7,000-square-foot permanent exhibition “Experience Oregon.” Discover the connections between the past and present and the historic interconnection between land, water and home in Oregon at the very interactive and educational “Across Time” stations strategically placed throughout the exhibit. Visitors will enjoy seeing and learning about the large number of artifacts from across the state’s geography and history on display—some on exhibit for the first time.
1200 SW Park Ave , Portland, OR 97205
503-222-1741 • OHS.org
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum
The museum is dedicated to the natural and cultural history of the Columbia River Gorge Ice Age Missoula Floods, the geology of the Columbia Gorge, American Indian life, early explorers and the Oregon Trail. One exhibit shows a wagon, with wheels removed, on a raft in the Columbia River, readying for the final leg of the Oregon Trail. While in the historic river town, don’t miss visiting the historic Fort Dalles Museum and Anderson Homestead.
5000 Discovery Dr, The Dalles, OR 97058
541-296-8600 • GorgeDiscovery.org
Columbia River Maritime Museum
Astoria’s internationally renowned museum is on the banks of the Columbia River, just a few short miles from the legendary Columbia River Bar—one of the most dangerous passages in the world. The museum recounts for visitors the dramatic history of exploration, sailing, trade, naval and maritime shipping on the Columbia River and in the Pacific Northwest. Don’t miss a tour of the lightship Columbia or the museum’s exhibits “Crossing the Bar: Perilous Passage,” “Mapping the Pacific Coast” and “USS Shark Cannon,” which displays two cannons from the 1846 wreck that were recently discovered and restored.
1792 Marine Dr, Astoria, OR 97103
503-325-2323 • CRMM.org
High Desert Museum
The 100,000-square-foot museum founded in 1982, is 135 acres of animals, exhibits and natural and culture history of the Northwest’s high desert. Generations of all ages will enjoy the closeup view of native wildlife, stories of early Oregon from docents dressed as historic characters and an authentic 1904 homestead and sawmill.
59800 US-97, Bend, OR 97702
541-382-4754 • HighDesertMuseum.org
Tamástslikt Cultural Institute
Visitors to the institute, located in the historic town of Pendleton, will be immersed in the history, culture and hospitality of the Native people who have lived in the Northwest region for more than 10 millennia. Learn about the storied past, present and future of the Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes through interactive exhibitions, special annual events and a dynamic Living Culture Village. A great time to visit is in mid-September during the internationally renowned Pendleton Round-Up!
47106 Wildhorse Blvd, Pendleton, OR 97801
541-429-7700 • Tamastslikt.org
Washington State History Museum
Start a tour in the Great Hall of Washington History and walk through time from the state’s earliest American Indian history to the present, including the era of the fur trade, pioneer settlement, statehood and industrialization. Don’t miss the exhibit that explains how the region’s geology affected local development and the exhibit “Washington: My Home,” which offers an insightful look at the multilayered contribution of immigrants and immigration to the state.
1911 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
253-272-3500 • WashingtonHistory.org
Clymer Museum and Gallery
The museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, researching and interpreting the art and life of John Ford Clymer, his contemporaries and the preceding and ensuing generations of artists whose art depicts and focuses on the culture, life and country of Clymer’s America. In addition to “The John Clymer Permanent Collection” exhibit, the museum hosts multiple temporary art exhibits.
416 N Pearl St, Ellensburg, WA 98926
509-962-6416 • ClymerMuseum.org
Museum of History & Industry
This museum is located in the always-popular Seattle Center museum and entertainment district, which includes the Space Needle. Start a tour with the “True Northwest: The Seattle Journey” exhibition, which walks the visitor through local history from the earliest Native cultures to the city’s present role as an international crossroads of enterprise, technology and culture.
860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
206-324-1126 • MOHAI.org
Tacoma Art Museum
Founded in 1935, this museum is one of Washington state’s most important centers of Northwest art curation, preservation, exhibition and education. The museum is well known for its Northwest Perspective Series of exhibitions and catalogues, as well as its rotating exhibits, which are either on tour or curated from the museum’s vast permanent collection.
1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
253-272-4258 • TacomaArtMuseum.org
Yakima Valley Museum
Eighteen miles from Toppenish, this museum offers a look at artifacts from early life in the region. Enter a post-contact tipi and the Mattoon family cabin, built in 1869. The Mattons left everything behind in the 1840s to cross the plains seeking a new life in the West.
2105 Tieton Dr, Yakima, WA 98902
509-248-0747 • YakimaValleyMuseum.org
The Desert Southwest
Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
Arizona Historical Society
The flagship of Arizona’s historical society is anchored by its research center and vast collection, which is interpreted and displayed in interactive exhibits on Arizona history. The museum is adjacent to the University of Arizona and conveniently located within walking distance of the Arizona State Museum, and its rich archaeological collection.
140 N Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701
520-770-1473 • ArizonaHistoricalSociety.org
Ninety years after its founding by Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard, the internationally acclaimed Heard continues to champion American Indian arts and American Indians of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Visitors will be enthralled with the Heard’s highly educational permanent displays and its changing exhibits of art, history and Native cultural material and artisanship.
2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004
602-252-8840 • Heard.org
Museum of Northern Arizona
One of Arizona’s—and the American Southwest’s—best museums dedicated to telling the interconnective story between the indigenous people and the geologic and natural history of the region offers educational programs, interactive exhibits and live demonstrations. Informative docents and workshops make the museum a community crossroads for locals as well as visitors from around the world.
3101 N Fort Valley Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
928-774-5213 • MusNAZ.org
Sharlot Hall Museum
The leading living history center of Arizona history in central Arizona, Sharlot Hall Museum has on its grounds one of finest collections of 19th-century Arizona buildings, including the Territory’s first governor’s residence, a log cabin restored to its original look. While in town, don’t miss a tour of the Smoki Museum, which showcases American Indian art and culture in a pueblo-style building, and the Phippen Museum, one of the top Western art collections in the state.
415 W Gurley St, Prescott, AZ 86001
928-774-5213 • SharlotHallMuseum.org
Spirit of the West: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
One the of West’s newest museums is dedicated to the region’s history, culture and art. Its curators want visitors to “see the West from a whole new perspective.” The museum interprets Western and American Indian history through art, artifacts and living cultures. Permanent exhibits include the “Abe Hays Spirit of the West Collection,” “Of Spirit and Flame: John Coleman Bronzes from the Collection of Frankie and Howard Alper” and “Courage and Crossroads: A Visual Journey through the Early American West.”
3830 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
480-686-9539 • ScottsdaleMuseumWest.org
New Mexico History Museum
Opened in 2009, the museum is the newest addition to the campus, which includes the Palace of the Governors, the Palace Press, the Portal Native American Artisans Program, the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library and the Photo Archives. The museum interprets the state’s history from pre-Columbian civilizations up through the Santa Fe Trail era, while the Palace of Governors’ exhibits focus on 400 years of history, beginning with the Spanish conquest.
113 Lincoln Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501
505-476-5200 • NMHistoryMuseum.org
Dedicated to the art and history of the people of Albuquerque and the Rio Grande River Valley region, the museum’s permanent exhibits include: “Common Ground: Art in New Mexico,” “Only in Albuquerque” and “Courage and Compassion.” Each year the curators provide visitors new, insightful temporary exhibits that explore and interpret New Mexico’s diverse cultural history and peoples.
2000 Mountain Rd, NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104
505-243-7255 • CABQ.gov
El Rancho de las Golondrinas
A Southwestern living history center, El Rancho de las Golondrinas (Ranch of the Swallows) celebrates the legacy of New Mexico’s land and its Hispano culture. Staff and docents dressed in period costume greet and educate visitors at the 200-acre historic rancho in a valley south of Santa Fe. Many of the buildings on the campus are original and date to the 1700s.
334 Los Pinos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507
505-471-2261 • Golondrinas.org
Kit Carson Home & Museum
Built in 1825, the historic adobe home of Kit Carson and his third wife, Maria Josefa Jaramillo, is preserved and maintained as a museum highlighting the Western frontier trapper, trailblazer, trader and soldier. A centerpiece of the museum’s collection is Carson’s Civil War saber, acquired at auction in 2013.
113 Kit Carson Rd, Taos, NM 87571
575-758-4082 • KitCarsonMuseum.org
New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum
This living history center dedicated to the history and heritage of farming and ranching in New Mexico offers tours and exhibits at the dairy barn, greenhouse and gardens and the Antique Equipment Park, featuring a collection of farm implements. Visitors can also watch forging at the blacksmith shop and sewing, spinning and weaving crafts at the Bruce
4100 Dripping Springs Rd, Las Cruces, NM 88011
575-522-4100 • NMFarmAndRanchMuseum.org
Oklahoma History Center
Managed by the Oklahoma Historical Society, the center is an 18-acre complex with its centerpiece a 215,000-square-foot learning center that exhibits the Sooner State’s geologic, cultural, settlement and development from the distant past to the present.
800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr, Oklahoma City, OK 73105
405-522-0765 • OKHistory.org
Cherokee Heritage Center
In association with the National Park Service, the center is the permanent home of a six-gallery exhibition that interprets the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their traditional lands to Oklahoma, originally known as the Indian Territory. Visitors should also take the self-guided tour of Adams Corner Rural Village, a living-history center of seven buildings that tells the story of the Cherokee community in the 1890s.
21192 S Keeler Dr, Park Hill, OK 74457
918-456-6007 • Cherokee.org
Chickasaw Cultural Center
A living history center dedicated to the Chickasaw people’s cultural history and heritage connects visitors with the tribe’s past, present and future. Learn about the Chickasaw culture through the center’s exhibits, re-enactments, demonstrations and performances.
867 Cooper Memorial Dr, Sulphur, OK 73086
580-622-7130 • ChickasawCulturalCenter.com
J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum, Claremore
All ages and generations will be fascinated with founder John Monroe Davis’s vast collection of firearms (over 12,000!) and non-firearm artifacts, ranging from the Old West to regional and local history. Multimedia exhibits are located throughout the museum for an informative and entertaining experience.
330 N J.M. Davis Blvd, Claremont, OK 74017
918-341-5707 • TheGunMuseum.org
Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art
“Americans All!” and “Enduring Spirit: Native American Art” remain perennial highlights for visitors to the Gilcrease, which has 12,000 pieces of Western art in its collection. Founder Thomas Gilcrease’s passion for the people, culture, history and art of the region led him to build the single most comprehensive Western Americana collection in the world.
1400 N Gilcrease Museum Rd, Tulsa, OK 74127
918-596-2700 • Gilcrease.org
Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
A tour of the Lone Star State’s capital city would not be complete without a visit to this museum and its three floors of exhibits on Texan history, culture and people. Start with “Becoming Texas” on the first floor and work your way upstairs from 16,000 years ago
to the present.
1800 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701
512-936-8746 • TheStoryOfTexas.com
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
Founded in 2000, the only museum dedicated to honoring the black soldiers in American history—from the American Revolution to today—has continued to excel, particularly after moving to its new location. Each Saturday the museum presents the “Day in the Life of a Buffalo Soldier” program, which it also takes into schools.
3816 Caroline St, Houston, TX 77004
713-942-8920 • BuffaloSoldierMuseum.com
Kenedy Ranch Museum
The contributions of three generations of the Kenedy family to the development of South Texas and Texas Gulf Coast are honored at this museum. Don’t miss the “Vaqueros” exhibit on the Kenedeños, “the people of the ranch.” The legacy of Mifflin Kenedy is also richly told in the wall murals and other exhibits.
200 E La Parra Ave, Sarita, TX 78385
361-294-5751 • Kenedy.org
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
The exhibits at this museum in Canyon, Texas, comprehensively walk the visitor through 14,000 years of history, including the key role of the Texas longhorn to the development of the region known worldwide for its cowboy and cattle culture.
2503 4th Ave, Canyon, TX 79015
806-651-2244 • PanhandlePlains.org
Museum of the Big Bend
Located on the Sul Ross State University campus, the museum is dedicated to the history and culture of Southern Texas and Northern Mexico regions that intersect in the Big Bend region of the Rio Grande. Visitors will enjoy informative exhibitions such as “Before Texas was TEXAS” and “Big Bend Legacy.”
400 N Harrison St, Alpine, TX 79830
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum
Situated on the banks of the legendary Brazos River, the museum is sponsored by the City of Waco and sanctioned by the State of Texas. Visitors will discover the inspiring history of the Texas Rangers through exhibitions that explore their development and role, from their founding in 1823 to the present.
100 Texas Ranger Trail, Waco, TX 76706
254-750-8631 • TexasRanger.org
Great Basin and Rocky Mountains
Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming
History Colorado Center
Located in Denver’s Golden Triangle Creative District, History Colorado Center is the Rocky Mountain state’s beautiful flagship museum. The interactive exhibits on state geological, natural and cultural history are housed in a spacious, beautifully designed facility that can be enjoyed by all ages. Enjoy educational programs, lecture series and the museum’s unique program, Tours & Treks, which takes participants out into the field with Colorado experts.
1200 N Broadway, Denver, CO 80203
303-447-8679 • HistoryColorado.org
A.R. Mitchell Museum
Trinidad still feels like an Old West town, so there’s no better place than the A.R. Mitchell Museum to learn about hometown hero Arthur Roy Mitchell (1889-1977), one of the golden era of pulp magazines’ top illustrators, who left New York in the 1940s to come home and paint and teach art. One of the exhibits includes the famed artist’s studio.
150 E Main St, Trinidad, CO 81082
719-846-4224 • ARMitchellMuseum.org
Colorado Railroad Museum
In a state beloved by historic railroad aficionados, the museum is dedicated to the heritage of railways in the Rocky Mountain State. Railfans will love the narrow- and standard-gauge rolling stock and locomotive (steam and diesel) collection in the 15-acre railyard, the roundhouse restoration facility and the Depot Museum, housed in an 1880s style station. Schedule time to attend a lecture series or behind-the-scenes tour.
17155 W 44th Ave, Golden, CO 80403
303-279-4591 • ColoradoRailroadMuseum.org
Cripple Creek District Museum
The historic museum campus is home to the 1890s Midland Terminal Railway Depot, Colorado Trading & Transfer building, the oldest wooden commercial structure in Cripple Creek, the early 1900s Assay Office, two vintage miners’ cabins (1892 and 1900), one of which was once home to the notorious prostitute, French Blanche. While in town don’t miss visiting the Cripple Creek Jail Museum, Old Homestead House Museum, Victor Lowell Thomas Museum
and Victor’s Gold Camp Ag & Mining Museum.
510 Bennett Dr, Cripple Creek, CO 80813
719-689-9540 • CrippleCreekMuseum.com
National Mining Museum & Hall of Fame
The high elevation here is equaled by the museum’s collections of mining equipment, rare rocks and minerals, and even a replica of a mine tunnel. After a tour of the museum, take a thrilling ride on the local historic train, the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad.
120 W 9th St, Leadville, CO 80461
719-486-1239 • MiningHallOfFame.org
Montana Historical Society Museum
The flagship state museum tells the story of the Big Sky State through the history of the land and the people who have made Montana their home. Enjoy exhibits of art and historical, archaeological and ethnological artifacts which assist in interpreting and telling Montana’s history. Schedule extra time to take the self-guided tour of the State Capitol.
225 N Roberts S, Helena, MT 59620
406-444-2694 • MHS.MT.gov
CM Russell Museum
Few artists’ work remain as iconic as Charles M. Russell’s, and what better place to honor him than his adopted hometown, where he lived, painted and sculpted? The complex includes Russell’s home and log studio, but the highlights are the roughly 2,000 pieces by Russell, some of his personal belongings and the permanent exhibit “The Bison: American Icon, Heart of Plains Indian Culture.”
400 13th St N, Great Falls, MT 59401
406-727-8787 • CMRussell.org
The 1895 Conrad Family estate with its 13,000-square-foot shingle-style mansion was donated to the City of Kalispell in 1974 and opened as a totally self-supporting museum in 1976. The three-story 19th-century home built by Montana entrepreneur Charles E. Conrad is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has a Norman period interior with 26 rooms, including three bathrooms and eight sandstone fireplaces.
330 Woodland Ave, Kalispell, MT 59901
406-755-2166 • ConradMansion.com
Custer Battlefield Museum
A visit to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument would not be complete without a tour of the neighboring educational center in Gerryowen. Visitors are greeted by The Tomb of the United States Unknown Soldier (his body was uncovered during road construction in 1926), flanked by busts of George Armstrong Custer and Sitting Bull. The museum, at the site of Sitting Bull’s camp, houses a large collection of rare Little Big Horn archives and material.
I-90, Exit 514, Frontage Rd, Town Hall
Gerryowen, MT 59031
406-638-1876 • CusterMuseum.org
World Museum of Mining
With the Orphan Girl Mine’s 100-foot-tall headframes and Hoist House as the museum’s centerpiece, visitors will be immersed in the history of the mine, literally and figuratively. The museum is divided into six major sections: the Orphan Girl, The Mine Yard, the Underground Exhibit, Hell Roarin’ Gulch, a re-created 1890s town, the memorial, Remembering a Fallen
Miner and the Mineral Room. Sign up ahead of time for either the 65-foot or 100-foot level underground mine tour.
155 Museum Way, Butte, MT 59701
406-723-7211 • MiningMuseum.org
Frontier Homestead State Park Museum
Discover firsthand the 19th-century pioneer history of Cedar City, Iron County, and southwest Utah through hands-on activities and view an impressive horse-drawn wagon collection, historic structures, Indian heritage items, an antique sawmill and a replica blast furnace. The “Native Heritage Exhibit,” a new area of the museum, allows visitors to experience how Indian peoples lived in Iron County prior to American settlement. And students can be archaeologists for the day, learning basic techniques and methods of the archaeological process. Walk through the Fremont pit house and the Paiute wikiups, visit a traditional shade shelter and Indian garden, all set among local flora and replica prehistoric-Indian village mounds.
635 N Main St, Cedar City, UT 84721
435-586-9290 • FrontierHomestead.org
John Wesley Powell River History Museum
A century and a half ago, John Wesley Powell led his first expedition down the Green-Colorado River. The museum interprets the exploration and the stories of the river explorers. The museum collects objects that explain the history of the Colorado Plateau and human interaction with watersheds and rivers in the region, with an emphasis on the Green, Colorado, and San Juan rivers.
1765 Main St, Green River, UT 84525
435-564-3427 • JohnWesleyPowell.com
Maynard Dixon Living History Museum
Southern Utah’s high mesa country with its endless vistas and dramatic skies attracted Western artists Maynard and Edith Hamlin Dixon to build a home in Mount Carmel in the 1930s. Visitors can walk the same trails that inspired some of Maynard’s iconic art. Tours, self-guided or with a docent, are available March 15 to November 15. The living history center has a limited winter schedule with the power and water turned off. Docent-guided tours are $40 per person and must be scheduled in advance. All tours begin at the Thunderbird Foundation headquarters at the museum.
200 S State St, Mount Carmel, UT 84755
435-648-2652 • ThunderbirdFoundation.com
Natural History Museum of Utah
Since 1969, when the Natural History Museum of Utah opened its visionary doors to the public, it has been enchanting and educating visitors on the natural, geologic and ethnological history of the Beehive State. Visitors are immersed in intriguing and educational exhibits including “Sky,” “Native Voices.” “Life,” “Land,” “First People” and “Great Salt Lake.” The museum has the best collection of dinosaurs in the state outside of Vernal’s Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum and Dinosaur National Monument.
301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
801-581-6927 • NHMU.Utah.edu
Union Station Museum
The museum complex is home to the Utah State Railroad Museum, featuring the Eccles Rail Center, the Utah State Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the Wattis-Dumke Model Train Exhibit, the John M. Browning Firearms Museum and the Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum.
2501 Wall Ave, Ogden, UT 84401
801-629-8680 • OgdenCity.com
Wyoming State Museum
Wyoming’s state capital is a city of museums, and the state museum should be at the top of every visitor’s list. It’s a leader as an educational, historical, and cultural institution, with the goal of collecting, preserving and interpreting artifacts that reflect the human and natural history of Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West.
Barrett Building, 2301 Central Ave, Cheyenne, WY 82002
307-777-7022 • WYOMuseum.State.WY.us
The Brinton Museum
The Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Building, which opened in 2015, features Western art by Karl Bodmer, Thomas Moran, Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington and John Mix Stanley. Also in the collection is a war shirt that belonged to Two Leggings—a piece that was selected in 2016 as one of the top ten historic artifacts in Wyoming— plus a Blackfeet war chief’s 1830s shirt and leggings, a Blackfeet grizzly bear shirt and a Lakota woman’s beaded dress.
239 Brinton Rd, Big Horn, WY 82833
307-672-3133 • TheBrintonMuseum.org
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
The July opening of the redesigned Cody Firearms Museum squarely places the BBCOW on our top museum list. Years in the making, the firearms museum still features its extensive collections of weapons, but offers new exhibits allowing visitors to see the guns and learn more about their designs and production. Outside of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the five-museum complex in Cody, Wyoming, stands singularly in the United States for the breadth and depth of its collections and exhibitions on the American West.
720 Sheridan Ave, Cody WY 82414
307-587-4771 • CenterOfTheWest.com
Jim Gatchell Museum
See a diverse variety of wagons, plus extensive artifact collections directly related to the war for the Powder River that involved Red Cloud and Colonel Henry B. Carrington. The wagons here are the real deal; one of them was even used for the filming of a river-crossing depicted at the National Historic Trail Interpretive Center down the road in Caspar.
100 Fort St, Buffalo, WY 82834
307-684-9331 • JimGattchell.com
Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site
On the National Register of Historic Places, the historic site has been restored for visitors to explore the 1872 hand-built stone building that held such famous convicts as Butch Cassidy, who was imprisoned here before he became the leader of the infamous Wild Bunch. Built first as a federal prison (1872-1890), it later became Wyoming’s State Penitentiary (1890-1903) and 1,063 convicts (men and women) were sent to live in its cells for the crimes they had committed.
975 Snowy Range Rd, Laramie, WY 82070
307-745-3733 • WYOParks.WYO.gov
Northern Prairie and Plains
Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
State Historical Museum of Iowa
Visitors will discover the rich and diverse history of Iowa in Smithsonian-style exhibits chronicling the natural, Native, cultural and settlement history of the prairie plains-river state.
600 E Locust St, Des Moines, IA 50319
515-281-5111 • IowaCulture.gov
The John Wayne Birthplace & Museum
Located in picturesque Madison County (home to the famous covered bridges), the museum preserves the Duke’s childhood home and the new 6,100-square-foot exhibit space displays the largest John Wayne collection in the world.
205 S John Wayne Dr, Winterset, IA 50273
515-462-1044 • JohnWayneBirthplace.museum
National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
Part aquarium, part museum, part science center, this is where history and the legendary river come alive. It’s great for all ages with lots of hands-on exhibits.
350 E Third St, Dubuque, IA 52001
800-226-3369 • RiverMuseum.com
Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center
The center’s permanent exhibits tell the story of the Corps of Discovery’s time in the area, from late July to early September 1804, including the death and burial of Sgt. Charles Floyd, the only man to die on the expedition.
900 Larsen Park Rd, Sioux City, IA 51103
712-224-5242 • SiouxCityLCIC.com
Union Pacific Railroad Museum
The entire first floor is dedicated to the Transcontinental Railroad, but “Building America” isn’t alone. Exhibits on “American Travels by Rail” and “The Lincoln Collection”
are also worthwhile.
200 Pearl St, Council Bluffs, IA 51503
712 329-8307 • UPRRMuseum.org
Minnesota History Center
Explore Minnesota’s extraordinary and diverse history through exhibits that feature authentic historical objects, hands-on experiences and multimedia presentations. After touring the museum, ask for directions to nearby Historic Fort Snelling, which is dedicated to telling Minnesota’s frontier military history.
345 W Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55102
651-259-3000 • MNHS.org
Grand Portage National Monument
An exceptional living-history center within Grand Portage Indian Reservation, the monument is located in northeastern Minnesota’s “Tip of the Arrowhead,” about 150 miles northeast of Duluth, along the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior.
70 Mile Creek Rd, Grand Portage, MN 55605
218-475-0123 • NPS.gov
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum
Enjoy learning the history of the Ingalls Family in Walnut Grove. The museum’s collections are housed in a series of historic buildings, including an 1898 depot, a chapel, an onion-domed house, a dugout display, a little red schoolhouse, an early settler’s home and a covered wagon display.
330 8th St, Walnut Grove, MN 56180
800-528-7280 • WalnutGrove.org
Northfield Historical Society
The 50-caliber Smith carbine used by Henry Wheeler against the James-Younger Gang during the 1876 bank robbery was on temporary display. This museum always is first-rate, and the annual Defeat of Jesse James Days is entertaining and accurate.
408 Division St S, Northfield, MN 55057
507-645-9268 • NorthfieldHistory.org
Snake River Fur Trading Post
Discover the cultural, global and economic story of the fur trade through exhibits, living history demonstrations, heritage trails, guided tours and a re-created fur post and Ojibwe camp.
12551 Voyageur Ln, Pine City, MN 55063
320-629-6356 • MNHS.org
North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum
The museum’s motto is “history for everyone,” and visitors who tour the center will discover in its four galleries the fascinating story of North Dakota through thousands of artifacts and specimens, high-tech displays and interactive exhibits. The museum is also home to the State Historical Society of North Dakota and the State Archives. Admission is free, every day.
612 E Boulevard Ave, Bismarck, ND 58505
701-328-2666 • History.ND.gov
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
Established in 1907, this is the oldest state park in North Dakota. Begin at the visitors center, then tour the reconstructed fort, including Lt. Col. George Armstrong and Libbie Custer’s home (1873-1876), and the On-A-Slant Mandan Indian Village, including six reconstructed earthlodges including a large council lodge.
4480 Ft Lincoln Rd, Mandan, ND 58554
701-667-6340 • ParkRec.ND.gov
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Fort Mandan
The centerpiece of the park is the reconstructed Fort Mandan, a fully furnished, full-size replica of the fort in which the Lewis and Clark Expedition wintered in 1804-1805. Enjoy state-of-the-art exhibits, hundreds of period artifacts and talks by the informative docents who share the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in a dynamic, living history center.
2576 8th St SW, Washburn, ND 58577
701-462-8535 • ParkRec.ND.gov
National Buffalo Museum
Housed in a 6,000-square-foot rustic log building at Jamestown’s Frontier Village, the museum’s exhibits focus on the history of the American bison in Plains Indian tribal cultures, their near-extinction in the 19th century and the subsequent conservation and restoration of the United States’ national mammal. Don’t miss viewing the 25- to 30-head herd of buffalo on 200 acres of adjacent plains habitat.
500 17th St SE, Jamestown, ND 58401
800-807-1511 • BuffaloMuseum.com
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Named in honor of the 26th President, who developed his passion for Western land-conservation while living and ranching in the vicinity, the park is comprised of three separate areas of land. The North and South Units feature scenic drives, wildlife viewing, hiking, visitors centers, ranger-led programs and much more. The undeveloped Elkhorn Ranch Unit preserves the site of Roosevelt’s “home ranch” in a remote area along the Little Missouri River. A bonus to visiting TRNP is staying in neighboring Medora and touring its historic sites, including the Chateau de Mores State Historic Site.
315 Second Ave, Medora, ND 58645
701-623-4466 • NPS.gov
South Dakota State Historical Society Museum
The museum of the historical society promotes an understanding and appreciation of the state’s rich and complex heritage through collections, exhibits, programs and living-history events that engage and inspire visitors to explore history’s impact.
900 Governors Dr, Pierre, SD 57732
605-773-3458 • History.SD.gov
Founded in 1930 by local pioneer businessman W.E. Adams, the Adams Museum is one of four museums, along with the Days of ’76 Museum, Historic Adams House and Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center, managed by the nonprofit Deadwood History, Inc. The Adams’ exhibits tell the story of Deadwood and the Black Hills, with many unique items in the collection on display, including Potato Creek Johnny’s 7.346 troy-ounce gold nugget.
54 Sherman St, Deadwood, SD 57732
605-578-1714 • DeadwoodHistory.com
Black Hills Mining Museum
Located just south of Deadwood in the historic mining town of Lead, the museum is dedicated to preserving, promoting and educating the public about the rich mining heritage of South Dakota’s Black Hills. The adjacent Homestake Mine operated for 126 years, closing in 2002.
323 W Main St, Lead, SD 57754
605-584-1605 • BlackHillsMiningMuseum.com
High Plains Western Heritage Center
Opened three decades ago, the center features a five-state regional museum with exhibits, collections, archives and live events that preserve and honor the Old West pioneers and American Indians of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana.
825 Heritage Dr, Spearfish, SD 57783
605-642-9378 • WesternHeritageCenter.com
The Journey Museum and Learning Center
The museum preserves and educates the public about the heritage, cultures and environment of the Black Hills region. The state’s story is told through four different exhibition areas and collections: American Indian culture, pioneer and settlement history, geology and paleontology and archaeology.
222 New York St, Rapid City, SD 57701
605-394-6923 • JourneyMuseum.org
Southern Prairie and Plains
Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska
Historic Arkansas Museum
The award-winning living history museum is the state’s primary interpreter of frontier Arkansas. Five historic Arkansas structures represent the state’s frontier days from the 1820s to the 1850s. Permanent exhibits on the museum’s campus include the “Knife Gallery,” which tells the story of the Bowie knife, and “We Walk in Two Worlds: The Caddo, Osage and Quapaw in Arkansas.”
200 E 3rd St, Little Rock, AR 72201
501-324-9351 • HistoricArkansas.org
Old State House Museum
Housed in the original state capitol, built between 1833 and 1836—when Arkansas was admitted to the Union—the museum’s excellent exhibits on the state’s political history include “Pillars of Power,” “On the Stump: Arkansas Political History” “1836 House of Representatives Chamber” and “First Ladies of Arkansas: Women of Their Time.”
300 W Markham St, Little Rock, AR 72201-1406
501-324-9685 • OldStateHouse.com
United State Marshals Museum
Scheduled to open in the fall of 2020, the Mary Carleton and Robert A. Young III Building and Samuel M. Sicard Hall of Honor were dedicated along the banks of the Arkansas River in Fort Smith on September 24, 2019. Exhibits will soon follow.
Mary Carleton and Robert A. Young III Building
Intersection of H St and Riverfront Dr, Fort Smith, AR 72901
479-272-2456 • USMMuseum.org
Museum of Native American History
Discover the history of North America’s indigenous people from the Paleo Period (16000 BC to 8000 BC) to the Historic Period (1650 AD to 1900 AD) at the museum. Visitors will enjoy the remarkable exhibits for their depth and diversity of materials and be inspired to travel West to discover more firsthand about the Native tribes of the Western United States.
292 Southwest O St, Bentonville, AR 72712
479-273-2456 • MONAH.us
Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie
Dedicated to the history of the town of Stuttgart, rice farming, waterfowl and Arkansas County, the museum in Stuttgart honors the county’s history through four major exhibits: a replica of a Stuttgart’s frontier Main Street; a two-thirds replica of the Prairie Church, the first Emanuel Lutheran Church that German immigrant Reverend Adam Buerkle built; the Waterfowl Wing; and the Farm Equipment exhibit.
921 E. Fourth St, Stuttgart, AR 72160
870-673-7001 • GrandPrairieMuseum.org
Kansas Museum of History
Under the management of the Kansas Historical Society, the museum is where visitors discover the rich and vibrant story of the Sunflower State. One of the eight wonders of Kansas history, the state’s flagship museum has exhibits for everyone, including “Early People,” “Forts and Trails,” “Civil War” and the upcoming “105 Counties, 105 Stories.”
6425 SW 6th Ave, Topeka, KS 66615
785-272-8681 • KSHS.org
Baxter Springs Heritage Center & Museum
Managed by the Baxter Springs Historical Society, the museum offers exhibits interpreting and educating visitors about the town’s frontier development. A traditional area of the Osage Indian tribe, Baxter Springs was an important railhead for Texas cattle drives, a once-thriving lead- and zinc-mining town and a crossroads of the Civil War.
740 E Ave, Baxter Springs, KS 66713
620-856-2385 • BaxterSpringsMuseum.org
Boot Hill Museum
The museum, named one of the eight wonders of Kansas, is a first-class repository of Old West artifacts and exhibits. Construction is underway on the new Boot Hill Museum, expected to open in 2020, but most areas of the existing museum are open, including the Long Branch Saloon, People of the Plains building, the Rath General Store, the First Union Church and the Beeson Gallery.
500 W Wyatt Earp Blvd, Dodge City, KS 67801
620-227-8188 • Boothill.org
Frontier Army Museum
Fort Leavenworth’s museum collects, preserves and safeguards one of the country’s finest collections of 19th-century military artifacts. The Fort Leavenworth gallery highlights the importance of Fort Leavenworth’s role in the exploration and expansion of the nation from Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery expedition to General John Pershing’s chase of Pancho Villa into Mexico. All visitors follow all Army regulations to visit the base and tour the museum.
100 Reynolds Ave, Fort Leavenworth, Leavenworth, Kansas 66027
913-684-3191 • ArmyUPress.Army.mil
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site
Open year round, the living history center entertains and educates visitors about 1860s Kansas frontier life. All generations will enjoy learning about the day-to-day responsibilities of farm living, including the raising and caring of horses, chickens and other livestock. Don’t miss a tour of the Agricultural Heritage Barn and its farm implement and wagon collection.
1200 E Kansas City Rd, Olathe, KS 66061
913-971-5111 • Mahaffie.org
Capitol Park Museum
The history of Louisiana comes alive through educational, introspective and interactive exhibits in the Capitol Park Museum. Discover the rich, and at times, complicated heritage of the Bayou State from the days of exploration to the slave markets, from the War of 1812 to New Orleans Jazz. Visitors will walk away with multiple new perspectives on the people and culture of Louisiana.
660 N 4th St, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
225-342-5428 • LouisanaStateMuseum.org
Located in New Orleans’ French Quarter, the fully restored Cabildo is one of the most significant historic buildings in Louisiana. A state museum since 1908, the Cabildo was built by the Spanish in the late 1790s and is where the French transferred the Louisiana Purchase to the United States in 1803. Two exhibitions not to miss: “From ‘Dirty Shirts’ to Buccaneers: The Battle of New Orleans in American Culture” and “We Love You, New Orleans!”
701 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130
504-568-6968 • LouisianaStateMuseum.org
Fort Jesup State Historic Site
Future United States President Lt. Col. Zachary Taylor was the first commanding officer of Fort Jesup, which was built in 1822 as a key outpost of U.S. interests in the border region between Louisiana and the then-Mexican state of Texas. A National Historic Landmark, the fort’s officers’ quarters have been reconstructed and house the interpretive center that provides visitors with an insightful understanding of frontier-border life in the early decades of the American Republic in the Gulf Coast region.
32 Geoghagan Rd, Many, LA 71449
318-357-3101 • CRT.State.LA.us
R.W. Norton Art Gallery
Opened in Shreveport in 1966, the gallery exhibits artwork that spans 4,000 years, including classic Western art of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. After a tour of the museum’s galleries and its masterworks, sculptures, tapestries and decorative arts, enjoy a stroll through the botanical gardens that surround the museum. Admission is free.
4747 Creswell Ave, Shreveport, LA 71106
318-865-4201 • RWNAF.org
The unique historical center exhibits the “Tunica Treasure,” a vast collection of repatriated American Indian-European trade items and other artifacts that the Tunica Indians deposited as grave goods from 1731 to 1764. Visitors will be fascinated to learn the history of Louisiana’s Tunica-Biloxi tribe through the exhibits at the 40,000-square-foot Tunica-Biloxi Cultural and Educational Resources Center.
171 Yuroni Rd, Marksville, LA 71351
318-253-9767 • TunicaBiloxi.org
Missouri History Museum
Discover firsthand the history and heritage of the Show Me State and St. Louis in the entertaining and educational exhibits at the Missouri History Museum. Permanent exhibitions include “Seeking St. Louis” and “The 1904 World’s Fair,” while upcoming short-term exhibits “The Mighty Mississippi” and “Beyond
the Ballot” will grace the museum’s halls until 2021.
5700 Lindell Blvd, St Louis, MO 63112
314-746-4599 • MOHistory.org
Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum
One of the centerpieces of Top of the Rock is the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum, which houses founder Johnny Morris’s Western art collection, artifacts and arrowheads. Take a tour and discover exhibits about the Old West, Civil War, American Indian cultures and even prehistoric creatures. Morris also has opened a showcase of his love for the outdoors, the 350,000-square-foot Johnny Morris’s Wonders of Wildlife Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri.
150 Top of the Rock Rd, Ridgedale, MO 65739
800-255-6343 • BigCedar.com
Arabia Steamboat Museum
Visitors to the museum will tour exhibits including “Frontier Trade: A Pathway to Riches,” which explains how commercial steamboat operations on the Missouri River from Kansas City, Missouri, to Fort Benton (in the future territory of Montana), influenced the fur trade, exploration and settlement of the territories from the Central Prairie to the Middle and Upper Missouri River basins.
400 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64106
816-471-1856 • 1856.com
Pony Express Museum
The story of the Pony Express is told at a living history center where visitors can see a blacksmith shop, pump the original 1858 well to water Pony Express horses, learn how to load a wagon and understand the role of the Pony Express in linking the country before completion of the transcontinental telegraph. Buffalo Bill Cody promoted the Pony Express in his Wild West shows. See the printed program from his farewell show and watch video of Bill performing.
914 Penn St, St Joseph, MO 64503
816-279-5059 • PonyExpress.org
Patee House Museum and James Home
Originally built in 1858 as a luxury hotel, with hot and cold running water, the building later became a courtroom for the trial of Confederate officers, a women’s college and a garment factory. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965.
12-2 Penn St, St Joseph, MO 64503
816-232-8206 • PonyExpressJesseJames.com
Nebraska History Museum
Twelve thousand years of Nebraska history comes alive at the Cornhusker’s State’s flagship museum. From ancient times to the Oregon Trail, from homesteaders to railroaders, the cultural heritage of the Great Plains state is told in such diverse exhibitions as “Nebraska Unwrapped: Selections from the Collections” and “Votes for Women: Nebraska’s Suffrage Story.” Also, make sure to schedule time for a docent-led storytelling tour of the History Learning Center.
131 Centennial Mall N, Lincoln, NE 68508
402-471-4754 • History.Nebraska.gov
Kearney’s unique attraction, The Archway, is a 79,000-square-foot center that stretches 310 feet across Interstate 80. The site, which opened in 2000, uses exhibits, videos, photographs and dioramas to highlight 170 years of transportation history, from Mormon handcarts on dusty trails to Cadillacs on the interstate. Re-enactors demonstrate how Pony Express riders changed horses and tell true and dramatic stories about the hardships of frontier travel.
3060 E 1st St, Kearney, NE 68847
308-237-1000 • Archway.org
The museum, located in the impressive Art Deco railroad terminal, Union Station, opened in 1931 and now consists of 124,000 square feet of exhibits explaining the history and culture of the region. Visitors can step into a rawhide teepee of the type the Omaha Indians used on the prairie, sit by the fire in a replica dirt lodge and see an 1804 dollar bill, part of a massive collection of documents, books and coins.
801 S 10th St, Omaha, NE 68108
402-444-5071 • DurhamMuseum.org
Museum of the Fur Trade
Just down the road from Fort Robinson State Park in Crawford is the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron. Built on the historic site of frontier fur trader James Bordeaux’s trading post, the museum exhibits over 6,000 fur-trade era firearms and explains in-depth the international trading network of furs that stretched around the world and built and broke empires. Visitors can tour a re-created Bordeaux trading post behind the museum’s main building.
6321 Hwy 20, Chadron, NE 69337
308-432-3843 • FurTrade.org
Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer
Pioneer, farm and railroad stories come together in this re-created pioneer town. Costumed guides populate the buildings that include historic community structures, including Nebraska native Henry Fonda’s childhood home. There is a Pawnee earth lodge, log cabin pioneer settlement, railroad engines and the Taylor
Ranch store. The Gus Fonner Memorial Rotunda features Ellis Burman’s plaster and bronze
The Arrowmaker, a life-size sculpture of a Sioux Indian family.
3133 W US Hwy 34, Grand Island, NE 68801
308-385-5316 • StuhrMuseum.org