Yellowstone Notebook
Yellowstone National Park Heritage and Research Center
Photos taken August 25, 2005
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All photos this page (c) F. Markley
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Located in the gateway town of Gardiner, MT, and within view of the great stone arch at Yellowstone's north entrance, sits the new Yellowstone National Park Heritage and Research Center. As the name suggests, the center was not intended as a traditional public museum of displayed collections, but as the park's historic research and collections facility. 

The Heritage and Research Center opened to the public on May 18, 2005. The photos on this page were taken on August 25, 2005 at a community
open house and tour of the facility. Guests were treated to cake and coffee in the lobby, while staff were on hand at various stations throughout the center to provide information and answer questions. The photos on this page were taken during that event.

The building has three levels: The lowest floor is a nonpublic area used for processing acquisitions and for various research and preservation activities. The main floor includes the lobby, a public research room, several staff offices, a large museum collections storage area, and a herbarium storage room with plant samples dating back over 70 years. The upper floor features library stacks open to the public for viewing within the facility, a comfortable, quiet public reading/research room, staff offices, and restricted research areas including a map room, rare book room, and archives storage area.

The facility houses over 5.3 million items comprising the
park's archives, library, and museum collections storage in a state-of-the art, climate-controlled atmosphere.

The
park archives is affiliated with the National Archives and meets their standards. It includes park records going back to the U.S. Army administration of the park, as well as ephemera, oral history, audio and videotapes, and historic film footage available for researchers.

The
research library contains over 10,000 volumes, 2,000 manuscripts, and a rare book collection.

The
museums collections consists of over 200,000 objects including natural science specimens, fossils, a herbarium, hotel furnishings, original artwork of Thomas Moran, over 80,000 historic photographs, including those of William H. Jackson, and other historic objects from the park's rich past.

The nonprofit
Yellowstone Association has provided substantial support for the library, museum, and archives collections since 1933. During the past ten years the Association has provided significant funding for acquisitions, library staffing, and preservation of historic vehicles.
Visitors inspect restored White touring bus (see larger photo and caption below). The Prius hybrid vehicle (right) was donated to Yellowstone by the manufacturer.
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Open House: Inside the lobby of the Heritage and Research Center guests are treated to cake and coffee. Display cases show artifacts from Yellowstone's past.
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Behind this historic sign the are entrances to the walk-in freezer (left) and the cold storage area (right). Photographs are placed in cold storage to help preserve them.
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(left) This old touring bus, YPT Co. No. 351, was manufactured by White Motor Company and was once used to transport visitors through the park. It has been restored by Bruce Austin, who brought it to the dedication of the Heritage and Research Center at the invitation of the Park Service.

The bus has had minor appearance restoration to its original color, but is essentially preserved in its original early operating condition, and has most of the upholstery and all of the drive train original  to the 1931 production.
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(above left and right) Representative pieces of furniture once used in Yellowstone's hotels are stored on shelves in the main floor's museum collections storage area.
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Information sources:
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National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park
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The Yellowstone Association
(above) The great stone arch marking Yellowstone's northern entrance is centered in the lobby doorway of the Yellowstone National Park Heritage and Research Center.