• Rainbow over Half Dome


    National Park California


Two American Indians sit on ground by their simple housing

Two women sit in a Native American camp near the base of Four Mile Trail in this historic 1901 image. Archeologists study the Ahwahneechee, who have lived in this region for generations.

D.H. Wulzen / Yosemite Research Library

To honor Yosemite’s past means to preserve it today through archeological and architectural recognition. Structures, artifacts, and trails symbolize more than their tangible worth by revealing underlying human values. Archeologists systematically study the things left behind—such as tools, ornaments, buildings, food remains, and changed landscapes—to uncover clues about historic cultures, economic systems, settlement patterns, demography, and social organizations. Yosemite archeologists have documented more than 1,500 sites that hold material remnants of past lifeways. Architects make note of the Rustic design of many Yosemite structures representing the belief that buildings should blend in with their natural surroundings and that natural settings influence architecture.

Did You Know?

Yosemite Museum

When it opened to the public on May 29, 1926, the Yosemite Museum became the first museum building in the national park system, and its educational objectives served as a model for parks nationwide. It still functions much as it was originally intended, and currently exhibits items which mainly reflect the Native occupation of Yosemite Valley and its surroundings. When in the park, you can visit with one of three cultural demonstrators who primarily staff the Museum.