There are many organizations and sites interpreting the history of the U.S. Forest Service. Why do we need a National Conservation Legacy and Education Center?
Over the course of the Forest Service’s first century, there has never been one central repository where artifacts could be stored, preserved and displayed. There has not been one central exhibition hall where the stories and lessons could be shared with the public. And there has not been one central monument where the leaders, partners, and people whose stories are our history could be recognized and honored. The National Center, managed by the NMFSH, is that place.
Why is the Center in Missoula, Montana?
The U.S. Forest Service’s deep roots in Missoula date back to 1905. In 1908, the first USFS District Office was established. Known today as Region 1, the northern region is home to many Forest Service employees, families and retirees. Defined by ridgelines and rivers, the region hosts an array of spectacular national forests, national scenic and historic trails, designated wilderness areas, and is home to the USFS Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory and the headquarters of the Smokejumpers.
Missoula is home to the Boone and Crockett Club, founded by Theodore Roosevelt, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, two significant sportsmen’s organizations that have played a leading role in conserving and stewarding our national forests and grasslands. Representatives of many of the U.S. Forest Service partners and cooperators from the forest products, mining industries and the ranching community are also based in Montana.
How will the Center reach out to the public across the nation ?
The Center’s Traveling Exhibit Program will design interpretive displays and programs to be showcased in Forest Service Visitor Centers, museums and cultural institutions throughout the nation. The Center’s collections and educational and interpretive materials will be available to the public via the internet.
What are the plans for the Center?
The Center will feature 24 tall timbers from national forests, private tree farms and a State Forest, each with a story to tell. The facility will include a theater, interactive exhibits, research and education space, and a curatorial and collections library. The grounds feature a authentic ranger cabins, fire lookouts, an interpretive trail system and a memorial tree grove. The Museum will also collaborate with nationally and internationally recognized museums and universities to support public inquiry and scholarly exploration.
What is the relationship between the museum and the U.S. Forest Service?
The National Museum of Forest Service History is an independent 501(c)(3) organization. The U.S. Forest Service and the NMFSH have a Memorandum of Understanding enabling cooperation between the two organizations to support historic preservation and education. The U.S. Forest Service has committed support the Museum’s efforts to build the Center and provided a site for the building. The NMFSH is solely responsible for the maintenance and administration of the building and grounds, the gift store, the educational and outreach programs and the Center’s management.
What kind of artifacts does the NMFSH have in its collection?
The NMFSH collection contains artifacts, records, publications, photographs, and memorabilia relating to the history, programs, activities and culture of the Forest Service. These include the Harvey Mack Collection, a 1951 Ford “Green Hornet” Forest Service Fire Engine, Smokey Bear posters and objects, photographs, first-hand accounts and personal histories, and much more.
Is the collection accessible to researchers?
Yes. Contact us to learn more about accessing the collection. Once the Center’s building is complete, a research station will be available by appointment.
Can I donate artifacts to the collection?
Yes. The NMFSH welcomes inquiries regarding donations to the collection. Contact us to learn what types of artifacts we are currently accepting.
How can I honor a colleague or family member who has contributed to America’s Conservation Legacy?
For a one-time donation of $100 or more, the National Museum of Forest Service History offers the opportunity to honor living and deceased persons with a special Honor Roll. Current, former or retired employees or persons or groups of persons who have contributed to the mission of the Forest Service are eligible. A memorial grove on the Center’s grounds honors all persons accepted for the Honor Roll. Persons are recognized in a memorial book and on the Museum’s web site.
To nominate a person or group for a Forest Service History Memorial, download the Nomination Form.
How can I volunteer for the NMFSH?
The NMFSH welcomes volunteers interested in helping us. From developing partnerships in communities across the country to working in the Visitor Center, there are many fun and valuable ways you can support the Museum as a volunteer.
How can I work with the NMFSH to host a traveling exhibit or educational program in my community, school or organization?
The NMFSH reaches communities across the country through its educational programs and traveling exhibits. Contact us to discuss opportunities to develop programs and exhibits with us.