National Conservation Legacy Center

Creating a state-of-the-art showcase to tell America’s conservation story

The National Conservation Legacy Center will be a world class museum – a cultural and learning center to better understand our conservation history. Our exhibits will feature state of the art participatory and immersion experiences with educational activities and events to inspire our visitors to engage and understand the conservation of America’s natural resources – reflecting upon Gifford Pinchot’s guiding principle, “provide the greatest good for the greatest amount of people in the long run.”

Participatory museums work with constituents and visitors to make cultural institutions more dynamic, relevant, and essential places. The goal of participatory exhibitory is both to meet visitors’ expectations for active engagement and to do so in a way that furthers the mission and core values of the Museum.

Legacy Center mockup image

Immersion exhibits create a multi-sensory experience which pulls visitors out of the passive, one-dimensional museum viewing ritual and transport them to a different time, place or situation where they become active participants in what they encounter.

Since 1905, the U.S. Forest Service has been making history as America’s first conservation agency. However, over the course of its 100+ year history, there has never been one central location where the people can learn and enjoy this history.

There is no central repository where artifacts could be preserved, researched and displayed. There has not been one central exhibition hall where the stories and lessons could be shared with the public, where the leaders, partners, and people whose stories are our history could be recognized and shared.

Conservation of the forests and grasslands of the United States forms an unparalleled heritage for the American people and the world. It’s a story about the dedicated people who created much more than a government agency, they fostered new ways of thinking about our country’s resources and the stewardship of public lands. It’s time to preserve and share this story of national accomplishment- America’s Conservation Legacy.

The National Conservation Legacy Center will provide a world class, one of a kind facility for all to learn and enjoy this rich and uniquely American conservation history. We will continually look for ways to engage with our visitors and partners so that we can learn from the past and therefore foster a better understanding of the conservation challenges of today and future generations. Your donation will be used to fund the construction and infrastructure of the building and exhibits in addition to the costs to manage the campaign until it is completed.

Please call for more information, we are happy to answer your questions!

Leave a Lasting Legacy


Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to name the physical spaces within the new National Conservation Legacy and Education Center.

These naming opportunities are offered in grateful recognition of leadership gifts from the Museum’s most generous supporters. There are several opportunities to honor your family or business name, honor or memorialize an individual, or to associate your foundation, corporation, or partnership with the history of America’s Conservation Legacy.

Additional exhibit sponsorships opportunities are also available.


The Center

This incredibly diverse space is uniquely suited to our mission to Share the Rich History and Stories of America’s Conservation Legacy. Our interactive, world class exhibits will inspire visitors to explore America’s conservation history through hands-on learning experiences. A tremendous opportunity for your name to be attached to the Center which will be a prominent landmark in the community.

Total Opportunities: 1
Required Contribution: $5,000,000

Grand Lobby

Tall timbers tell stories in the Grand Lobby with wood timbers featured from across the nation. The lobby’s construction will use 16 different wood species for support posts. Visitors will learn how these different tree species played a role in the development of the Unites States.

This Opportunity is Spoken For

Entrance Plaza

One seldom forgets their first impression of a place and this is where we’ll begin to shape that image for visitors to our Center. Large enough to serve as a staging area for arriving school and other groups, this space
not only welcomes but also invites the curious visitor to see what lies beyond.

Total Opportunities: 1
Required Contribution: $1,000,000

Main Exhibit Gallery

The Main Exhibit Gallery is the heart of the visitor experience. The Gallery will feature world class interactive and participatory exhibits. Exhibits will honor, educate and inspire our audience and will be exchanged
regularly to maintain relevancy and interest.

Total Opportunities: 1
Required Contribution: $2,000,000

Collections Repository

The Center will provide a permanent, state-of-the-art repository to safely house our permanent collection of artifacts, including documents, photographs, objects and art works.

This Opportunity is Spoken For

Conservation Learning Lab

This multi-purpose room located on the lower level of the Center will serve primarily as a room to inspire learning, featuring state-of-the-art technology and teaching tools. This space will also serve as a meeting room.

Total Opportunities: 1
Required Contribution: $500,000

Research Library & Special Collections

The Library will support the work of the Museum’s staff, scholars and researchers from around the world, as well as interested members of the general public. The Library’s holdings are comprised of a research collection, special collections, and digital collections.

This Opportunity is Spoken For

Oral History Collection & Interview Room

This room is dedicated to collecting oral history interviews for the Museum’s collection. This room will feature leading edge video and audio recording technology for the production of the highest possible quality interviews.

Total Opportunities: 1
Required Contribution: $100,000

Endowed Executive Positions

Named Endowment Funds in support of key staff positions will ensure we continue to attract and retain the best leadership and talent in the history museum field. Named, endowed position funds are invested in perpetuity. The Museum will dedicate the fund earnings to support the work associated with the positions.

Total Opportunities: 4
Required Contribution: $100,000

Forest Discovery Trail

The Forest Discovery Trail offers interactive outdoor learning experiences focusing on America’s conservation history. Self guided tours and educational activities for individuals, classes and families are offered free of charge.

This Opportunity is Spoken For

We’ll be happy to discuss these and other customized naming designations.
For more information, please contact our office at 406.541.6374

Green Building Design

The Center will be an exhibit in and of itself, demonstrating the use of innovative wood products and showcasing the role of the Forest Service in their research and development. A theme of “Bringing the Past Forward” will guide a visitor journey through historic building techniques, such as hand-crafted timber framing to today’s CLT automation. The design will be appropriate to the landscape and will anchor a site masterplan design. We will create a showcase for sustainable green building for a better world: Leading by example

The green building design of the Center will showcase the Forest Service’s contributions to renewable resource conservation and education and will be a model green building for the Missoula community, the state of Montana, and the nation.

The Missoula Campus

While we work on our goal to build the National Conservation Legacy & Education Center, you can explore these locations on our Missoula, MT campus.

Nearby Attractions

The NMFSH’s neighbors are the Missoula International Airport, the Smokejumper Visitor Center, USFS Fire Sciences Laboratory, and Museum of Mountain Flying. Please be sure to visit them when you make plans to explore the National Conservation Legacy & Education Center!

With new matching grant opportunities, every dollar donated can attract $3 in public support, $2 in foundation grants and $1 in corporate contributions. That’s $6 for every $1 you contribute. Your support can make a big difference! Help us build the National Conservation Legacy Center and preserve the Forest Service legacy.

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