Jackson Hole Museum founders Homer Richards and Slim Lawrence, 1958.

Mission and History

Jackson Hole Museum founders Homer Richards and Slim Lawrence, 1958.

Jackson Hole Museum founders Homer Richards and Slim Lawrence, 1958.

Mission:

The mission of the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum is to collect, preserve and explore the cultural, and related natural history of Jackson Hole and the Greater Yellowstone area through education, research, public programming and collaboration.

The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum — connecting people to place!

Museum History:

The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum (JHHSM) was founded in 1958 by avocational archaeologist and western history buff Slim Lawrence and his friend, local business man Homer Richards. Originally, the museum was housed in a series of three, contiguous adobe buildings on the corner of Glenwood and Deloney. Located in the heart of historic downtown Jackson, the three had originally worn a number of hats having served as – among other things – a hardware store and a garage. The entrance of a tunnel, rumored to have been built to connect the buildings to the Wort Hotel across the street, can still be seen in the basement today.

With their porous adobe walls, the Deloney buildings could not be heated during Jackson’s long, hard winters and the museum was only open during the height of the summer tourist season: the ‘shoulder seasons’ in May, September and October were unpredictable. Historical records, artifacts, the museum’s outstanding collection of over 17,000 historical photographs, and administrative offices were housed in yet another building – the historical Coey Cabin. A log building, now situated on Mercill Street, this 1950s era cabin was brought in from Grand Teton National Park.

In 2011, the museum purchased its present building on N. Cache, thus enabling JHHSM to remain open on a year-round basis. With climate and humidity control, the move also allowed the museum to consolidate the majority of its library-based research material in its new Stan Klassen Research Center, also located on Cache.

In 2013, JHHSM completed a Museum Assessment Program (MAP) with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). In August of the same year, it re-opened the museum on the old Deloney locations as its Indians of the Greater Yellowstone Museum. And, in the summer of 2014, the old Coey Cabin was converted into the Mercill Archaeology Center, named in honor of longtime resident and educator James Mark Mercill.