Museums, Collections, & Research Sites

Published by: David E. Sneed
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All text and imagery, Copyright © David E. Sneed. All Rights Reserved.
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Years ago, when our kids were growing up, I was often accused of planning our family vacations around stops related to early wagons and stagecoaches. It was a revelation of which I feigned total ignorance. Who me? Do what? Come again? Ha! Well, okay. Perhaps I was justly cornered. Not much has changed today but the trips we’ve taken have left us with a lot of memorable experiences like: Standing on a forest floor, surrounded by massive Sequoia trees and marveling at the majesty and age of those living giants... Watching in total humility and thankfulness during the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier... seeing conservation work done on the actual ‘Star Spangled Banner’ from the War of 1812... walking into the bedroom where Abraham Lincoln passed away... Sitting in silence at horrific reminders in the Holocaust Museum... Taking in the sights of historic western ghost towns... Driving the legendary Highway 1 coastline in California... Walking the beach in Santa Barbara...  Crossing multiple Continental Divides...Celebrating a birthday in America’s ‘Gateway to the West’... Traveling Route 66 with a stagecoach... Pondering the ruts and swales made by 1800s emigrants moving west while yearning for a better life... Overwhelmed by the scenic majesty of lakes, rivers, canyons, peaks, valleys, and even an oasis...  Finding ourselves at the geographic center ofthe U.S.... Walking through the same mountain pass that Sacajawea, Meriwether Lewis, and William Clark took in 1805... Straddling the western-most boundary of the Missouri River... Taking in numerous Civil War battle sites... Tracking through lower wetlands in the path of a retreating U.S. army... Eating “Breakfast with the Presidents” at Mount Rushmore... Digging through an endless array of antique shops looking for historic treasures, and so many, many other places. Over and over again we’ve celebrated life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness together. Traveling coast to coast and border to border, we’ve enjoyed the people, places, and things that make American a truly special place.

On this first full day of summer, we thought we'd share a few, great stop-offs to mix in with your family vacations. Whether you’re headed to the beach, mountains, deserts, or plains, if you enjoy early transportation, there are opportunities to enrich virtually every road trip. Below are just a few of the places we’ve been privileged to share during the past three and a half decades. There are many more still on the bucket list. Each will help grow your appreciation of this country’s first transportation industry while giving you even more memories and adventures to recount. Safe travels!

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Florence Wagon Factory site – Florence, AL

Civil War battle site – Pea Ridge, AR

Fort Smith Museum of History – Fort Smith, AR

Fort Smith National Historic Site – Fort Smith, AR

Marshall’s Museum – Fort Smith, AR

Wheels That Won The West® collection – AR

Angels Camp Museum – Angels Camp, CA

Pioneer Yosemite History Center – Wawona, CA

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park – San Diego, CA

Death Valley (Furnace Creek & Scotty’s Castle) – CA

Wells Fargo Museum – San Francisco, CA

Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum – Santa Ynez, CA

The Carriage & Western Art Museum – Santa Barbara, CA

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site – La Junta, CO

Otero Museum – La Junta, CO

Big Timbers Museum – Lamar, CO

Forney Museum of Transportation – Denver, CO

Ghost Town Museum – Colorado Springs, CO

Smithsonian Museums – Washington, D.C.

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Lemhi County Historical Society & Museum – Salmon, ID

Lemhi Pass – MT/ID border

Working Men’s Institute – New Harmony, IN

Studebaker National Museum – South Bend, IN

Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop – Olathe, KS

Old Cowtown Museum – Wichita, KS

Carriage Association of America – Lexington, KY

Kentucky Wagon Factory – Louisville, KY (razed)

Frontier Army Museum – Fort Leavenworth, KS

Ralph Foster Museum – Point Lookout, MO

Steamboat Arabia Museum – Kansas City, MO

History Museum on the Square – Springfield, MO

Gateway Arch Museum – St. Louis, MO

Gestring Wagon Factory site – St. Louis, MO

Grant’s Farm – St. Louis, MO

Luedinghaus Wagon Factory site – St. Louis, MO

Weber-Damme Wagon Factory site – St. Louis, MO

Pony Express Museum – St. Joseph, MO

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Museum of the Yellowstone – West Yellowstone, MT

Virginia City, MT

Nevada City, MT

Bannack State Park, MT

Beaverhead County Museum – Dillon, MT

Little Bighorn Battlefield – MT

Yellowstone County Museum – Billings, MT

Gallatin History Museum – Bozeman, MT

Museum of the Rockies – Bozeman, MT

Bighorn County Historical Museum – Hardin, MT

Miles City Range Riders Museum – Miles City, MT

The Durham Museum – Omaha, NE

Pioneer Village – Minden, NE

Arbor Lodge State Historical Park – Nebraska City, NE

Mendenhall Homeplace – Jamestown, NC

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum – OklahomaCity, OK

Woolaroc Museum – Bartlesville, OK

Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop – Letcher, SD

Days of 76 Museum – Deadwood, SD

Lake County Museum – Madison, SD

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage – Nashville, TN

Panhandle Plains Historical Museum – Canyon, TX

Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame – Ft. Worth, TX

Colonial Williamsburg – VA

Mount Vernon, VA

Shelburne Museum – Burlington, VT

Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum – Cheyenne, WY

Stagecoach Museum – Lusk, WY

Wyoming Pioneer Memorial Museum – Douglas, WY

Buffalo Bill Center of the West – Cody, WY

Old Trail Town – Cody, WY


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