Pioneers, outlaws, equality, and respect for nature — these are just a few of the things that make up Wyoming’s rich and intriguing history, with each element playing a pivotal role in the development of our nation.
The Western way of life is as unique as it is fascinating, and museums throughout the state are just as interesting as the past they preserve. Here are just 15 of the many excellent museums in Wyoming.
1. Wyoming State Museum, Cheyenne
To get a feel for Wyoming’s incredible lineage, it helps to look at the state’s history as a whole. The Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne offers a wide range of exhibits covering natural history, paleontology, art, industrial developments and more.
With artifacts gathered from across the state, you can get a taste of Wyoming’s wild and wonderfully diverse culture in a one-stop shop.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: Family Days
2. The National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson
The remarkable stone building of this museum in Jackson, Wyoming, looks like a fortress nestled into the hillside — a perfect facade for an organization housing incredible nature art made by global creatives. Step inside its doors, and you’ll find 14 separate galleries that showcase an extensive permanent collection and touring exhibits.
Observe wildlife artistically and literally while overlooking the 25,000-square-foot National Elk Refuge that shares the museum’s property.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: Sculpture Trail
3. The Wyoming Dinosaur Center, Thermopolis
Stop in to say howdy to Jimbo the Supersuarus, Wyoming’s most infamous dino, who makes his home at this museum in Thermopolis. From touring the dig site to viewing 30+ displayed skeletons, there is no end to the prehistoric family fun.
To get up close and personal with the fossils, don’t forget to join the Dig for a Day program and try your hand at uncovering your own ancient creature.
Pro tip: While in town, stop by the Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center, which boasts approximately 16,000 square feet of exhibits that interpret many aspects of area pioneer and Native American life.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: Paleo Prep
4. Community Fine Arts Center, Rock Springs
Norman Rockwell, Edward Chavez, and hundreds of other artists are displayed at this unique cultural center in Rock Springs. Stemming from the hard work of a local high school science teacher in 1966, the center has expanded over time in partnership with the city and Sweetwater County. It is now the home of hundreds of American photographs and paintings.
Visitors can enjoy an impressive schedule of events to foster a love of creativity in the community. The best part? Admission is totally free.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: Youth Arts Exhibits
5. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody
The heart of the Wild West is yours to experience here. The man, the legend and the legacy he left behind all come together to create this grand testament to the Western lifestyle made famous by Buffalo Bill Cody himself. Learn everything about his early life, experiences and role in westward expansion. You can also explore the history of the Native Plainsmen of northern Wyoming, Western art and much more at this museum in Cody.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: Draper Museum Raptor Experience
6. Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, Cheyenne
It’s time to grab your cowboy hat, boots and spurs for a visit to this museum in Cheyenne. The world’s largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration lives on year-round through historical exhibits, exciting activities and special events. See their massive collection of horse-drawn carriages and wagons, tour numerous Western art galleries and relive more than 110 years of this renowned rodeo.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: Cheyenne Frontier Days Western Art Show & Sale
7. The Nicolaysen Museum and Discovery Center, Casper
Known locally as the NIC, this museum in Wyoming is the premier Western destination for contemporary art. Filled to the brim with local talent, you can view the work of some of the best artists in the state, from painters to photographers and beyond. With new exhibits every 90 days, there is always something new to browse.
Also on-site is The Discovery Center, a hands-on activity area for children that offers educational classes and special programs.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: NIC Fest
8. Museum at the Bighorns, Sheridan
History in Sheridan County is a tapestry woven of American Indians, military, ranching, timbering, mining, artists, photographers and pivotal events. Much of the area’s rich cultural past is preserved at this museum in Sheridan.
From exhibits surrounding the early development of railroad ties to the fantastic story of Crazy Horse, they aim to educate travelers young and old about how each individual force helped to shape modern northeast Wyoming.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: Cemetery Tours
9. Sweetwater County Historical Museum, Green River
From dinosaurs to Native Americans to cowboys (and more), Sweetwater County’s history is nothing short of riveting. Green River and Rock Springs are the two most vital towns in the area and played critical roles in Wyoming’s state heritage.
Since several major trails to the west bisected here, the towns continued to expand, growing even more when the transcontinental railroad and telegraph lines were established. Discover all the fascinating details at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: The Bookstore
10. The Brinton Museum, Big Horn
The Brinton Museum presents captivating historical and newly acquired Western and American Indian Art in an exquisite setting at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains. This museum hosts a wide array of books, household décor, and archived documents that comprise the Bradford Brinton Memorial Collection, complemented by 19th, 20th, and 21st-century exhibits.
Experience all this gem has to offer through home and museum tours, hands-on educational programming, and special events.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: The Historic Brinton Ranch House
11. National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, Casper
This museum in Casper should top any cultural itinerary in central Wyoming. Exhibits in the 27,000-square-foot facility realistically document the lives of both emigrants and Native Americans in the pioneer era and invite visitors to “experience history, don’t just read about it.”
From the Oregon Trail to the present day, the impressive seven galleries inside the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center are full of life-sized, interactive exhibits to help visitors do just that.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: The Pony Express Cabin
12. Museum of the Mountain Man, Pinedale
Supported by the state’s oldest historical society, this quintessential Wyoming museum takes you on a wild educational journey to the history of Western settlement. Live the experience through tales of early explorers and trailblazers of the American West during the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade era.
View authentic archaeological evidence from the area’s earliest inhabitants and learn the stories of legendary trappers and mountain men.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: Green River Rendezvous
13. Cowgirls of the West Museum & Emporium, Cheyenne
Let’s hear it for the women that settled the Wild West. Located in Cheyenne, this extensive collection was born of a desire to honor women’s contributions during the Equality State’s founding and features women famous both locally and nationally.
From rodeo stories to Native American artifacts to everyday outfits, this museum in Wyoming allows the grit and tenacity of the Western woman to live on for generations.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: The Gift Shop
14. Laramie Plains Museum at the Historic Ivinson Mansion, Laramie
Treat yourself to a combination of Victorian and Western finery. This museum in Laramie is housed in a private-residence-turned-girl’s-school dating back to the late 1800s, showcasing the luxurious life of a prosperous pioneer family and the critical history of a railroad town. Guided tours are regularly available to help you make the most of your visit.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: Evening at the Invinsons’
15. National Museum of Military Vehicles, Dubois
An ode to veterans throughout the ages, this museum in Dubois serves as a standing tribute, memorializing the efforts and sacrifices of U.S. Military members past and present. Exploring the four extensive galleries inside the National Museum of Military Vehicles, you will find Jeeps, tanks, rifles, and other weapons of war, surrounded by fascinating exhibits and stories of their use.
While spending the day there, stop by the Canteen for a quick and tasty coffee, lunch, or light dinner.
Fan-favorite museum attraction: Outdoor Wall of Reflection