Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center

Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center

Heritage and Research Center

Why this work matters

Yellowstone’s Heritage and Research Center contains one of the largest collections of natural, cultural and historic resources in the National Park Service. These collections contains several million records, including photographs, maps, administrative records, and research data that document the history of the park.

What needs to be done

The Heritage and Research Center provides archivists and historians almost endless opportunities for research. The research library holds more than 20,000 books, periodicals, theses and dissertations, early superintendent reports, unpublished manuscripts, newspaper clippings, brochures, reports, and audiovisual materials.

Yellowstone Forever donors fund librarians, housing for curatorial interns and preservation projects, allowing historians and researchers the ability to continue to access collections that encompass more than 720,000 diverse objects, including:

  • Early Native American artifacts, such as 11,000-year-old projectile points
  • Original Thomas Moran watercolor sketches he produced during the 1871 Hayden Expedition
  • Records, oral histories, photos, and other items from the fires of 1988
  • More than 150 skulls from the wolves that were reintroduced in ’95 and ’96 and their subsequent offspring
  • 30 historic vehicles, from stagecoaches to firetrucks
  • One of the world’s largest collections of Yellowstone postcards

Not just a museum

Yellowstone National Park’s famous treasures are celebrated worldwide: rare geysers, herds of free-roaming wildlife, the magnificent Old Faithful Inn, and the spectacular Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, to name a few. However, just outside the park’s North Entrance, several million lesser-known treasures are tucked away in a facility built especially for their preservation.

The Heritage and Research Center (HRC) is a storage and research center with a threefold mission: to document Yellowstone’s natural and cultural resources, preserve them, and make them accessible to the public. It contains one of the largest collections in the National Park Service, housed within an archive, a library, and numerous museum collections. However, it is not like a typical museum that most people are familiar with.

While the National Park Service operates several repositories, most are regional facilities that house items for multiple parks. Only a handful of parks have their own facility, like the HRC, and Yellowstone is the only national park that is an affiliate of the National Archives.

The archives at Yellowstone contains several million records, including photographs, maps, administrative records, and research data that document the history of the park. Examples include early US Army records and civilian scout diaries.

From a donor:

We are so fortunate that our predecessors had the foresight to preserve Yellowstone National Park so that we can enjoy it today… [your gift] will help ensure that future generations will be able to tell stories like yours and mine of adventure, discovery and wonder. — Bob S