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“The HRC is primarily a collection repository and research facility, with the vast majority of its items unseen by the public,” says Curry. “However, we are able to offer rotating exhibits and tours so that visitors can come by and view some cool things they wouldn’t normally see in a national park.”


Yellowstone National Park’s famous treasures are celebrated worldwide: rare geysers, herds of free-roaming wildlife, the magnificent Old Faithful Inn, and the spectacular Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, to name a few. However, just outside the park’s North Entrance, several million lesser-known treasures are tucked away in a facility built especially for their preservation.

Curry says that while the National Park Service operates several repositories, most are regional facilities that house items for multiple parks. Only a handful of parks have their own facility, like the HRC, and Yellowstone is the only national park that is an affiliate of the National Archives. The archives at Yellowstone contains several million records, including photographs, maps, administrative records, and research data that document the history of the park. Examples include early US Army records and civilian scout diaries.

The Heritage and Research Center (HRC) is a storage and research center with a threefold mission: to document Yellowstone’s natural and cultural resources, preserve them, and make them accessible to the public. It contains one of the largest collections in the National Park Service, housed within an archive, a library, and numerous museum collections. However, it is not like a typical museum that most people are familiar with, explains Supervisory Museum Curator Colleen Curry.

The Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center, completed in 2005, is located near the park’s North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana.

The research library holds more than 20,000 books, periodicals, theses and dissertations, early superintendent reports, unpublished manuscripts, newspaper clippings, brochures, reports, and audiovisual materials.


Profile for Yellowstone Forever

Yellowstone Quarterly - Spring 2019  

Yellowstone Quarterly - Spring 2019