Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center

Yellowstone’s Heritage and Research Center (HRC) houses historical documents, objects, and written records that document the history and science of the park. With several million items, HRC has one of the largest collections in the National Park Service, housed within an archive, a library, and numerous museum collections. Only a handful of parks have their own facility, and Yellowstone is the only national park that is an affiliate of the National Archives.

Preserving Yellowstone’s History & Archives

The HRC is in need of long-overdue upgrades. In its current state, the building is to capacity. New systems tailored to support an archive of this size and complexity are needed to maximize space to ensure long term preservation of the materials. These upgrades would have a significant impact on the effectiveness and longevity of the HRC with the potential to increase storage capacity by 50%.

Preserving Access to Yellowstone’s Rare Collections

The Research Library’s collection of rare materials includes books, pamphlets, audio/visual, and other materials that are fragile and irreplaceable. Yellowstone protects over 22,000 volumes as well as over 1,500 rare and unique books. Many of these first-edition books cover topics about the establishment and early development of Yellowstone National Park and are valuable to researchers and a draw to attendees on public and private tours. The library’s collections are of great significance to both Yellowstone employees and researchers as they learn, study, publish, and create educational programs about Yellowstone. All these collections require active and professional curatorial management to ensure that they are protected and accessible to researchers and the public.


Tours: Free public behind-the-scenes tours are offered on Wednesdays from 4:00-5:00 PM between Memorial Day (May 30) and Labor Day (Sept. 5). Space is limited, please call 307-344-2264 or email e-mail us to register.

Online Collections

Selected portions of our records have been digitized and placed online. This is an ongoing project.

  • Montana Memory Project: Collections include Superintendent’s Annual and Monthly reports, maps and drawings, oral histories, and photographs.
  • Open Parks Network: Historic photographs taken by the Park’s official photographers and gathered together into thematic albums in the mid-20th century.
  • Historic Slide File: Historic photographs from the museum collection organized by era and then by topic.
  • NPS Technical Information Center: Historic maps and architectural drawings, and related construction reports for all parks in the National Park Service. Use the Search Filters button to select Yellowstone.
  • In the Shadow of the Arch: The Heritage and Research Center’s blog is used to highlight collections within the Museum, Archives, and Library.