Primary Exhibit
Open Year-round

Welcome to Yellowstone Country

The Robert L. Gardner Gallery is home to our Welcome to Yellowstone Country exhibit. This presentation acquaints visitors with Yellowstone Country and its place in the northern Rocky Mountain region.

The establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 initiated the region’s tourism industry. Exploring the history of tourism and hospitality in Yellowstone and beyond, this gallery features the stories of park entrepreneurs Charles A. Hamilton and F. Jay Haynes and the businesses they founded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Many cases in this exhibit were curated by a Montana State University Museum Studies class.

The exhibit transitions into Enduring Peoples, the museum’s look at the history and culture of the native peoples of Yellowstone Country.

Highlights include:

The full-size bison in the exhibit was part of a commercial herd raised for meat. It was harvested in November when its body weight and hide were in prime condition. The Indians used bison chips (dung) as a primary source of fuel.

The bison herd photo was taken on the Flying D Ranch located southwest of Bozeman, Montana. The ranch operates as a commercial bison ranch and is owned by Ted Turner. The photo shows the kind of grassland that was most attractive to the bison. The plains of Montana are classified as a short grassland region. The native grasses of the region have the property of retaining their nutritive qualities when dried out in the annual summer drought; therefore, the bison got the full nutritional value without concern for the amount of rain that had fallen.

Discover some items that visitors may have brought with them to Yellowstone from 1935 to 1950.

Discover some items that visitors may have purchased in Yellowstone from 1910 to 1960.

The Haynes Photo Shops used this photographic rack for processing and developing photos.

While enjoying what Yellowstone has to offer, visitors might start to pick up lingo that became unique to the park’s employees. The causal toss of barn dogs or pearl divers might make the visitors do a double-take in an attempt to decode their language.

American Indian tribes have histories with Yellowstone that predate the creation of the national park by over 12,000 years. Over time, at least 26 different tribes lived or passed through the region seasonally.