May 2016 marked 90 years since the Yosemite Museum opened its doors to the public, becoming the first such building in the National Park Service. The museum helped catalyze other NPS “firsts,” from the founding of the first park-based field school to the creation of the first nonprofit national-park cooperating association — which lives on today as Yosemite Conservancy.

To commemorate the anniversary, the museum hosted a special exhibit in 2016: Why Yosemite Collects: 90 Years, 90 Objects, 90 StoriesThe exhibit, which was on view from May 31 through November 1, traced the interwoven history of the museum and the park through artifacts, documents and digital images, celebrating everything from scientific research to American-Indian culture, legendary artists and more. Visitors explored the museum’s story through displays that included John Muir’s tin cup, geologist François E. Matthes’ drafting instruments, and early climbing gear; as well as through interactive elements and interpretive talks.

Your donations helped celebrate a landmark Yosemite institution through an exhibit that shared the park’s story with visitors of all ages. Thank you for supporting your park!

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park.

Barbara Beroza

Chief Curator, Yosemite Museum

Project Notes

The museum played a seminal role in the creation of the first cooperating association in the national park service, the development of a Nature Guide Service in Yosemite, the beginning of a professional museum exhibit and collection program, park-based scientific research through the Yosemite Field School, and the interpretation of American Indian culture.