Open tuesday – saturday, 10a – 6p

Our Story

History jackson hole

Museum | Education | Research | Partnerships


History Jackson Hole tells the stories of Jackson Hole that connect people to the history of this valley and region. We steward and share artifacts and ideas that foster curiosity and continual learning, forge connections, and inform our 21st century dialogue.


We envision a community brought together, enriched, and strengthened by compelling connections to the history and legacy of Jackson Hole.

History Jackson Hole staff, board members, and advisors on the historic Van Vleck Block.

Our Values

  • Inclusivity: We bring bring people together to participate in our work; we engage and hear all voices.
  • Curiosity: We encourage questions and pursue a sense of wonder; we believe curiosity helps people engage in meaningful dialogue and stronger relationships. 
  • Collaboration: We work with others to collect history, tell stories, provide programs, and accomplish our goals.
  • Sustainability: We ensure a strong, vibrant, resilient organization and community by pursuing ecological, financial and operational stability.
  • Historical Integrity: We base our work in primary sources and professional scholarly standards.  

Our goals

  • Provide a central and inviting place for community dialogue, educational activities, and events about and inspired by history.
  • Give voice to diverse perspectives and provide a space where multiple, layered stories can be told through evocative, changing exhibits and programming.
  • Support continued research and scholarship and build upon our history by actively collecting and supporting history that is in the making today.
  • Expand reach by bringing our collection, stories, and knowledge outside the Museum.
  • Continue to steward a financially secure organization with an eye towards revenue diversification.
  • Foster fun, play, whimsy. Not all learning has to be serious!

History of the Organization

Collecting and Preserving Jackson Hole history for decades

The Jackson Hole Museum was founded in 1958 by avocational archaeologist and western history buff Slim Lawrence and his friend, local businessman Homer Richards. Slim was an avid collector with a large collection of cultural artifacts and Homer had the building and business experience. 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 original property had a long history itself, serving as a hardware store and a garage, before being converted into the museum. 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.

In the 1960s, the Teton County Historical Society was formed to actively collect and preserve the archives of Jackson Hole, including newspapers, photographs, correspondence, oral histories, and maps. The Historical Society was located a few blocks away in a collection of historic log cabins. These two organizations merged in 1989 to form one cohesive organization, named the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum. The organization was dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exploration of Jackson Hole’s history.

Homer Richards and Slim Lawrence in front of the original Jackson Hole Museum on the corner of Deloney and Glenwood.

Over the next 30+ years, the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum expanded its collection, exhibitions, and educational programming. As JHHSM grew, it became critical to secure stable, permanent space for the multi-faceted organization. 

In 2019 during the Jackson Hole Land Trust’s “Save the Block” campaign, Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, and campaign partners, recognized the opportunity for the block to be an ideal location for history-focused nonprofit. In the November 2019 Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) elections, Teton County voters agreed, approving a SPET tax to partially support the project with a majority of the vote. JHHSM purchased the southeast corner lot of the historic Van Vleck block in fall 2020. A major capital campaign was launched and a multi-disciplinary project team was brought on to design and build a new history museum campus. Construction started in September 2022 and the new history museum opened in June 2024. In response to community input, a new name and brand was also launched in 2024. 

Today, History Jackson Hole continues its mission through the Jackson Hole History Museum, an extensive youth and adult education program, and our collection and research center.