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 connects people to place by fostering an appreciation for our history’s heritage and cultural traditions.
We aim to serve as a resource for lifelong learners by encouraging discovery learning through preservation, research and education for all ages of community members.
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. Slim was an avid collector with a large collection of cultural artifacts and Homer had the building. So together, they opened the Jackson Hole Museum. 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 dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exploration of the Jackson Hole’s history.
Over the last 30 years or so, the JHHSM has grown and developed to include more educational activities, sophisticated exhibits, increased museum store sales, and improved research opportunities. The collection now includes 7,139 objects, 18,701 photographs, 8,112 records, and 460 oral histories. Major accomplishments include digitizing a majority of the collection and integrating the collection into a digital database, consolidating a majority of the collection’s paper-based materials in the climate controlled Stan Klassen Research Center, developing detailed exhibits and information on American Indians of the Greater Yellowstone area, creating an archaeology research and education program, and improving our online presence.
Did you know, that like many Wyoming communities, our local history museum is supported by local government? The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum receives funding from Teton County and the Town of Jackson. The County allocates money to the JHHSM through its general operating fund as well as the Lodging Tax fund. Since 2014, the JHHSM has received almost $1 Million from the Lodging Tax fund. Along with program fees and philanthropic support, these fund sources are crucial for JHHSM museum operations, public programming, youth education, and archive/museum collection management. To learn more about the Lodging Tax, click here.