Photo by Tim Bogdanov

Our Mission

Sharing the Rich History and Story of America’s Conservation Legacy

For more than 100 years, the Forest Service and its many partners have stood at the forefront of conservation in America, yet there has never been one central repository where artifacts and records could be collected, preserved and made available for exhibition, study and commemoration.

The Museum manages a collection of 50,000 items relating to the history and culture of the Forest Service.

The Museum of Forest Service History is pleased to announce plans to build the National Conservation Legacy Center in Missoula, Montana. The Museum, a 501 C3 nonprofit organization founded in 1988, is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of the Forest Service and America’s conservation legacy for the education and enjoyment of the general public, scholars, and historical researchers. At the Center, the Museum will carry out its mission and pursue its vision for national conservation education, historical preservation. 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.

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