The Grand Canyon Museum Collection is a storage and research facility dedicated to preserving the physical artifacts that tell the various aspects of the Grand Canyon story. The storage facility, completed in 1999, has over 6,000 square feet of climate-controlled storage and research space, and houses over 1.6 million objects from seven different disciplines: archeology, ethnology, history, archive/ manuscripts, biology, geology and paleontology. Staff receive more than 2,000 research requests each year.
The Grand Canyon Museum Collection is open for study and research purposes to any interested researcher. In order to maintain its integrity, the collection may be used for reference only in a non-consumptive manner.
Museum staff must be present and will assist visitors in their searches. Because objects are irreplaceable, their use is generally restricted to onsite examination.
2C Albright Avenue, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
(Located across from Albright Training Center)
Monday through Friday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Appointments are strongly recommended
The material remains of past human life and activities at Grand Canyon, including:
Lithic tools dating back 12,000 years to the Paleo-Indians
Archaic split- twig figurines
Ancestral Puebloan pottery
Prehistoric sandals, textiles and adornment artifacts
Mining and early tourism artifacts
The material artifacts of the native cultures that have inhabited the Grand Canyon region from the historic period through the present, including:
Hopi kachinas, pottery, baskets
Navajo silver, rugs, pottery
Non-archaeological material artifacts of the non-native cultures at Grand Canyon, including:
John Wesley Powell's pocket watch
The Walter Clement Powell diaries from the second Powell expedition
A pen used by Woodrow Wilson to sign the act creating Grand Canyon National Park in 1919
Photos from the 1873 George Wheeler expedition
Over 200 oral history tapes, videos and transcripts
Over 1,000 maps and blueprints
More than 24,000 black and white photographs
Over 200 rare or out-of-print books
Over 80 hours of historic film footage
Original paintings by Thomas Moran, Louis Akin, Gunnar Widforss, Hiroshi Yoshida
Historic Boat Conservation Project
The Grand Canyon historic boat collection is comprised of 19 boats that comprehensively illustrate the history of river running on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, with the oldest boat dating back to 1909.
The project to conserve this unique collection started in July 2003, with the removal of the boats from unprotected exhibit. The conservation efforts continue with each boat receiving a meticulous cleaning and stabilization treatment from professional conservators.
Archive/ Manuscript Collection
The document collection tells the Grand Canyon story through photos and in writing, including:
350 linear feet of park archives
1930's CCC project reports
Superintendents' Monthly Reports, 1931-1967
The Mary Colter Desert View Watchtower collection
The Louise Hinchcliffe park library vertical files
The 1935 Vegetative Study record
TWA - United airlines 1956 air accident files
A collection of plant and animal specimens that document the life zones of the Grand Canyon region, including:
Over 14,000 herbarium specimens, including the Rose Collom, Walter Cottam and Merkle collections
Over 9,000 entomological specimens
Over 2,000 animal study skins, skeletons and scat materials
An alcohol collection with over 300 reptiles and amphibians
More Grand Canyon herbarium specimens are stored at the Museum of Northern Arizona Herbarium, the Northern Arizona Deaver herbarium, and the Desert Botanical Gardens, near Phoenix.
Rock samples that tell the geologic history of the Grand Canyon region, including:
The John Maxson schist collection
The Eddie McKee study collection
Mining cores and ore samples
The fossil remains from past geologic periods at Grand Canyon, including:
Bass limestone stromatolites
Hermit shale ferns and insect wing
Coconino sandstone reptile tracks
Pleistocene ground sloth remains
The Museum Collection has a collection of over 22,000 black and white photographs that may be loaned, scanned or purchased for exhibit, research and publishing projects. Several photos can also be copied onto CD-Rom’s for purchase.
Onsite photocopying services are available.
We Need Your Help
The park is always seeking donations to enhance the collections. Contact Museum Collection staff for information about donating photographs, documents, or other materials.