Project overview: Digitize at least 3,000 of Yosemite’s archival maps, plans and drawings, for use in a public online gallery, park planning tools, and a college course on historical research methods.

How your support helps: The Yosemite Archives hold a vast store of historical materials, including photos, books, and documents. In recent years, donor-supported projects have enabled the park to save thousands of deteriorating vintage images by carefully sorting and digitizing them. The scanned images are available to browse and download on NPGallery, which means researchers no longer have to visit the archives in person. It also gives the public a new resource for exploring park history.  

With your help, the archival team is turning its attention to another part of the collection. In 2022, the second year of a two-year project, four student interns will work with park experts to review, organize, and digitize at least 3,000 of the Yosemite Archives’ more than 7,000 historical maps, plans, and drawings. These documents include everything from trail and fire maps to old advertisements. They show how Mariposa Grove has changed over time, as well as what the Valley might have looked like if the park had won its bid for the 1932 Winter Olympics.

As part of this project, park staff will work with University of California educators to develop and pilot an online course on historical research methods that incorporates the newly digitized documents. And while the maps, plans, and drawings are valuable tools for understanding the park’s past, they can also play a role in present-day planning. With your support, the archival team will work with Yosemite’s GIS (Geographic Information System) experts to see how historical maps can help guide modern management of natural and cultural resources

Project partners: Yosemite National Park, Student Conservation Association, and the University of California.

Paul Rogers

Archivist, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

“The Yosemite Archives preserve over 7,000 maps, plans and drawings, and amazing collection of trail maps, fire maps, vintage advertisements, design plans (both completed and theoretical), and more! Each one is a unique artifact which cannot be seen anywhere else.”