Photo by Tim Bogdanov

Our Mission

Preserving the history of the U.S. Forest Service

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 NMFSH manages a collection of 50,000 artifacts, documents, and memorabilia relating to the history and culture of the Forest Service.

In 2009, the National Museum of Forest Service History board announced plans to build the National Conservation Legacy and Education Center in Missoula, Montana. The NMFSH, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1988, is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting the entire national history of the USDA Forest Service for the education and enjoyment of the general public, scholars, and historical researchers. At the Center, the NMFSH will carry out its mission and pursue its vision for national conservation education, historical preservation and remembrance of the significant deeds and people associated with the Forest Service. As a showcase for collections totaling more than 50,000 objects, photographs, documents, books and reports, the Center will encourage visitors to explore the cultural, ecological, economic, political, and social history of the lands and people that have defined the nation and given meaning to the term conservation.

Read Our Strategic Plan

CARE: Collections, Archives, Research & Education

As the caretakers of the national repository and conservation education center, the NMFSH is dedicated to public exploration and discourse on conservation, the history of forestry, the social and economic impact of public land management and the work of the US Forest Service throughout history and into today.

There are few people in this country who have not been touched in some way by the US Forest Service – whether as current or past employees, through the use of forest products in our daily lives, through the protections of our fire fighting services or as a visitor to the many national forests and grasslands.

The NMFSH’s CARE Services connect researchers, educators, students and the general public to the historic objects, stories and people of the US Forest Service.


The NMFSH manages a national repository for artifacts, objects and memorabilia relating to the history, programs, activities and culture of the Forest Service.


The NMFSH works with partners, including the US Forest Service, the Forest History Society and others to preserve, catalog and maintain historic papers, photographs, documents and publications related to the history of the US Forest Service.


As a central repository for artifacts and historic materials, the NMFSH serves historians, scholars and others seeking to document or produce research on the US Forest Service and the history of conservation and forestry. The NMFSH will also collaborate with nationally and internationally recognized museums and universities to support public inquiry and scholarly exploration.


Conservation education is an integral part of the NMFSH’s programs and exhibits. Onsite and offsite programs will be designed for the curious minds of school groups, families and the general public.

Annual Reports