Discover the rich cultural heritage of southwestern Wyoming at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum. Established in 1967 to preserve and present the history of Sweetwater County, the museum is located in a renovated 1931 post office building. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum contains long and short-term exhibits, a large historical photograph collection and local history materials.
The museum collects items representing the history of Sweetwater County from 1820 to the present. Native American and fur trade history, mining, transportation, communication, civic and economic development and ethnic diversity are major themes for both collection and exhibit. A distinctive group of artifacts is a series of Sioux ledger art pieces dating from around the turn of the century. Other unique items include a number of Chinese objects from the community of Chinese miners in Rock Springs, and a large collection of coal mining artifacts from the Union Pacific Coal Company. Recently an effort has been made to improve the presentation on recent history. Two important recent acquisitions to this end are the hat that attorney Gerry Spence wore during the Ed Cantrell trial in 1979 and a scale model of the FMC trona plant. Many of these pieces are on display in the museum gallery.
The museum’s collection of research materials and photographs are particularly strong in the areas of local history, coal mining and ethnic groups. Some of the highlights of the photo collection are a selection of views showing the now-deserted mining towns of Dines, Winton, E-Plane, Gunn and others in their heyday, and a fine collection of images of the Chinese in Rock Springs in the late 1800s.
The museum administers a unique historic property, the Reliance Tipple, which is one of the few industrial sites preserved in Wyoming. Historically used to sort and load coal, the tipple was restored and fenced for protection in the late 1980s. A walking path and interpretive signs are installed around the perimeter to present the story of the tipple and coal mining. The site is located about five miles north of Rock Springs off Highway 191 North.
The museum also provides guided tours and has a catalog of programs for school and community groups which are available for scheduling.
The Museum Store carries an extensive line of historical books and gift items. All profits from the store benefit the museum and other historical organizations.
The Sweetwater County Historical Museum is located at 3 East Flaming Gorge Way in Green River. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed holidays. For information on group and special tours call (307) 872-6435 or (307) 352-6715. Visit us on the Web at www.sweetwatermuseum.org or on Facebook.