Yosemite Museum Collections

Yosemite Museum 1926
Cars parked in front of the Yosemite Museum in 1926.

NPS Photo.

The Yosemite Museum opened to the public in 1926 and was built to be a model for other parks. With more than 5.5 million objects and archives, the current collection is one of the largest and most diverse in the National Park Service. The Yosemite Museum Program collects cultural artifacts, natural specimens, and historic records that document Yosemite National Park. The museum program preserves these resources for future generations and makes these collections available for research, public enjoyment, and education.

What is in the Museum Collection?

The museum holdings include a large number of ethnographic materials from the Yosemite region which are featured in the Indian Cultural Exhibit. Additional historic materials preserved by the museum include fine art, historic artifacts, architectural elements, furnishings of historic structures, photographic material, publications, memorabilia, and souvenirs. The museum also maintains a collection of zoological and plant specimens, some resulting from the activities of the Yosemite Field School and others collected under permits. Archeological and geological materials, collected under permits, are also cared for by the museum.

Muir Cup
John Muir's Tin Cup. One of the many historical objects preserved in Yosemite's museum.

NPS Photo.

Where can I see the Collection?

Items from the collection are displayed throughout the year in the Museum’s two galleries: the Indian Cultural Exhibit and the changing exhibit gallery (view past exhibits).

How do you Research in the Yosemite Museum?

Appointments are required for use of the museum collections. To make best use of their time in Yosemite, researchers are encouraged to complete their preliminary research at other archives, libraries, and/or museums prior to their visit. Limited space and staff affect our ability to accommodate researchers, so we ask that researchers try to focus on materials only available in the park’s collection.

Access to materials is dependent upon their physical condition and level of processing to date by the park staff. If you would like to inquire about researching the collection or set up a research appointment, please email the Museum staff.

Can I Donate items to the Yosemite Museum?

If you are interested in donating an object to the museum collection, please send an email to the museum staff. In your email, please include whatever background information you have about your object, with images, if possible. The information you provide will help the review committee make a final decision and will increase the research value if the item(s) are accepted into the collections.

Learn more about Yosemite's other collections.


Virtual Collections

Last updated: July 25, 2022

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