About our collection.

The NMFSH currently manages its own collection of approximately 20,000 objects, photographs, documents, books and research reports. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Forest Service, the NMFSH also manages the Forest Service Collection, comprised of an additional 20,000 objects. To date more than 21,000 objects have been catalogued and are available to researchers and for exhibits by request.

From the role of the 10th Mountain Division in the development of the nation’s alpine ski areas to the connection between Smokejumpers and World War II paratroopers, from the giants of conservation like Roosevelt and Pinchot to rangers leading a mule train–the National Conservation Legacy and Education Center will be defined by the interwoven story of resource management and human history it tells. The collection provides the physical connection to this history.

View a few of the artifacts in our collection.

Our collection in depth.

Alongside recollections from the first Forest Service Chief, Gifford Pinchot, researchers can find programs from Christmas parties and social events of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and collections of poetry written by rangers. The experiences of two ranger’s wives, Etta Groom and Dorothy Guck, are included here as well. While they were not employees of the Forest Service, spouses filled necessary roles within the community, serving as schoolteachers and nurses, calling in fires from lookout towers, and manning the lines of communication while their husbands were in the field.

Items in our popular culture collection include a 1955 film with Eddy Arnold singing “The Ballad of Smokey Bear” and Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl themed toys, games, and dishes. Photos, books, manuscripts and costumes from the 1964 to 1970 seasons of Lassie also document the connection between the Forest Service and popular culture at the time.

Lapel pins, tie tacks, belt buckles, patches, and badges document the evolution of uniforms over the last century, and reflect the fashion of the times. Working in terrains ranging from snowy mountaintops to rangelands and desert wilderness, foresters required outerwear to match. The collection includes ski equipment, logger boots, hard hats, caps, backpacks, canteens, packboards, and knives.

There are 175 signs from features such as entrances and fire lookouts, reflecting local character and craftsmanship. These enamel, porcelain and wooden signs demonstrate the evolution of iconography and the changing names of the geographic holdings under Forest Service management.

Our collection includes a 1960’s era Tucker Sno-Cat decommissioned from Lolo National Forest. This heavy machinery is representative of the many technologies developed by the Forest Service to complete a specific task and then provided to private industry for further development and distribution. Under the direction of Ted Flynn, Forest Service Equipment engineer, the original Sno-Motor was developed in 1939 for the chairlift construction at Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood National Forest. The Forest Service eventually sold the design to Tucker Sno-Cats of Medford, Oregon.

In 2006, the Museum purchased a 1951 Green Hornet Ford fire engine originally used by the Forest Service. The truck is currently housed on the San Bernardino National Forest, where volunteers are working to restore the vehicle for use in parades and outreach in Southern California. Later that same year, the Museum received a historic 1938 Kenworth stock truck, first used at the Ninemile Remount Station in Lolo National Forest. This vehicle is awaiting refurbishment and public outreach. In 2010, a 1920’s era horse drawn wagon, likely a surplus Army escort wagon supplied to the Forest Service after World War I, was acquired on permanent loan from Lolo National Forest.

What people are saying.

“The National Forest Foundation recognizes the importance of the National Museum of Forest Service History and supports its mission and vision to preserve and interpret the rich heritage of the Forest Service, its cooperators and partners.”

– William J. Possiel, President, National Forest Foundation

See some of the historic photographs in our collection.

Our collection partners.

We thank our collection partners who donated the following significant collections to the museum.

Denton D. Bungarz Collection – Plane panel and door “N” number panel from Air Tanker #1. Retardant door from one of the original aircraft from the Air Tanker Squadron.

George Chaffee Collection – Range management information including survey forms, maps, memos and photographs.

Jay H. Craven Collection – Photographs related to Forest Service involvement in the USAID forestry project in South Vietnam from 1967 to 1975.

William Fischer Collection – Fire Lab archives, photographs and objects.

Forest History Society – Forest Service Organizational directories from 1961-1994.

Grey Towers National Historical Landmark Collection – Lantern slides dating from 1919 to 1930.

Charles E. Hardy Collection – Fire behavior information.

Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory Collection – Fire behavior research artifacts.

Dallard W. Johnson – 24 objects and books used everyday by rangers in the forest.

Rolf Jorgensen Collection – 212 books, archives and photographs.

Frank E. Lewis Collection – 860 photographic slides of Gifford Pinchot, Mount Hood, Rogue, Okanogan, Siuslaw, Wallows – Whitman, Mount Baker, Ochoco, Fremont, and Deschutes National Forests and wild flowers.

Donald W. Nelson Collection – Close to 800 hundred Forest Service photographs taken by D.W. Nelson.

Northern Rocky Mountain Retirees Association – Oral history tapes and manuscripts.

Old Smokies – 32 books on the history of the Forest Service.

Lester Robinson Collection – 1930s photographs from the St. Regis Ranger District.

Edwin F. Smith Collection – 26 Photographs, diaries, correspondence, clippings regarding the early history of El Dorado National Forest in California.

Robert Spivey Collection – Extensive Forest Service lapel pins and button collection.

Leland L. White Collection – 1927 to 1933 Blister Rust Camp and CCC photographs.

William C. Wood Collection – 1944 smoke jumper photographs.

Get involved in the history of the U.S. Forest Service!