Great museums to visit on your Yellowstone vacation from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center to the Teton Flood Museum and everything in between. Wyoming museums in Casper, Meeteetse, Cheyenne, Gillette, Evanston, Dubois, and Jackson Hole.
When it comes to museums, the Greater Yellowstone National Park area is hard to beat. In fact, the entire area itself is a natural history museum of sorts.
As for specific museums consider the Buffalo Bill Historical Center at Cody, Wyoming which is actually five museums under one roof. The Draper Museum of Natural History is the newest of the Center’s world-class museums joining the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, the Cody Firearms Museum and the Plains Indian Museum. This massive facility is widely regarded as the finest western museum in the United States, and it’s just one hour from the east gate of Yellowstone Park. This impressive museum complex grew out of a simple log structure built in 1927 to house artifacts from the life of the famous western showman, Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show. Read more on the Buffalo Bill Museum Page
Stop at Old Trail Town – 26 buildings dating from 1879 to 1901, 100 horse-drawn vehicles, and an authentic collection of frontier memorabilia and artifacts.
The National Museum of Wildlife Art, in Jackson, is home to the nation’s premier public collection of fine art devoted to wildlife. The museum is nestled in a hillside overlooking the National Elk Refuge and the Gros Ventre Range. Read more on the National Museum of Wildlife Art page
Buffalo & Kaycee
In Buffalo, the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum has an extensive collection of Native American artifacts, a complete history of the Johnson County Cattle War and a comprehensive guide to the forts and battlefields in the region.
The Occidental Hotel, in Buffalo, is an operating hotel and museum, and once hosted aristocrats and outlaws alike.
Hoofprints of the Past, in Kaycee, provides an excellent history of local ranching and documentation of the Johnson County Cattle War.
Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site, between Sheridan and Buffalo, chronicles the U.S. Army’s battles in the region, including the Wagon Box Fight, the Fetterman Battlefield and more.
Pinedale, located in west-central Wyoming, is home to the Museum of the Mountain Man, which provides a comprehensive overview of the Western Fur Trade’s historical significance. Experience the romantic era of the Mountain Man and see Jim Bridger’s rifle and a full-size buffalo hide teepee.
In Casper, spend some time at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in the center of town and then stop at the Tate Mineralogical Museum. The brand new National Historic Trails Center is another great stop.
While traveling I-80, stop off at Wyoming’s university town, Laramie, and spend time at the Wyoming Territorial Park, featuring the restored 1890s Territorial Prison and Museum and the U.S. Marshal’s Museum.
Laramie is also home to the beautiful, historic Ivinson Mansion, with its handcrafted furniture and clothing. While you’re enjoying the history of Laramie, stop by the Wyoming House for Historic Women and learn about the first woman to vote, and the first women to be on a jury. If you’re more interested in modern museums, stop by the University of Wyoming Art Museum in the campus Centennial Complex.
Just over the mountain is Wyoming’s capital city of Cheyenne, home to the largest outdoor rodeo in the world, the Frontier Days Rodeo. Visit the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum and enjoy exhibits about the world’s greatest outdoor rodeo, complete with a collection of western art and restored horse-drawn wagons.
In Meeteetse, stop at the Belden Museum, which displays a collection from famous western photographer Charles J. Belden, and artifacts from the Pitchfork Ranch. The Meeteetse Museum features one of the largest grizzly bears taken in Yellowstone country. See the museums at the Visitor Information Center.
Thermopolis offers the old west and teddy bears as a unique sampling of available museums. The Old West Wax Museum and Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center offer a view of the Old West and pioneer life through dioramas and wax figures. The Dancing Bear Folk Center invites you to the Teddy Bear Den, a collection of teddy bears and their history, from around the world, a marble collection and history, and a textile museum.
At the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, you can take a tour of the dig and return to view more than two dozen mounted dinosaur skeletons. While there, watch the technicians in the preparation lab as they skillfully remove rock from the fossilized bone.
In Sheridan, explore western museums and a historic home, Trail End Mansion. The mansion’s Flemish Revival architecture portrays a view of early 20th century lifestyle. It was once the home of a cattle ranching empire Texas cowboy turned U.S. Senator and Wyoming Governor. The Bradford Brinton Memorial Museum is a gentleman’s ranch from the turn of the century. Visit the art gallery and historic home to view art by such notables as Frederic Remington, Edward Borein, and Charles Russell, or enjoy the grounds of this historic working ranch. Finally, King’s Saddlery and Western Museum presents a collection of cowboy memorabilia gathered during the many years of Don King’s interest and business of saddle making.
In Gillette, don’t miss the Rockpile Museum. A collection of rifles, quilts, kerosene lamps, native american artifacts and other memorabilia will take you through Campbell County’s past. Free admission is a plus.
In Evanston, spend some time at the Historic Carnegie Library and the Uinta County Museum.
Interested in bighorn sheep? If so, the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center in Dubois is for you.
The Wind River Heritage Center in nearby Riverton, Wyo., features an outstanding mounted wildlife collection with over 40 specimens.