About The Yellowstone Historic Center
The Yellowstone Historic Center is a non-profit located in West Yellowstone, Montana. The organization was founded in 1998 with the goal of preserving the historic district of West Yellowstone and preserving the history and cultural heritage of the town and surrounding area. The Yellowstone Historic Center manages the historic Union Pacific Depot as the Museum of the Yellowstone and manages with Union Pacific Dining Lodge as an event center.
The Yellowstone Historic Center seeks to understand, preserve, and interpret the unique cultural heritage of West Yellowstone and the Hebgen Lake Basin, and the connection of that heritage to the development of transportation and visitation to Yellowstone National Park.
In accordance with the Mission Statement, the YHC has developed the following Message:
The creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 caused a stream of visitors from around the world – journeying by various means- to come to Yellowstone for the transforming experience of “Wonderland.” In the context of transportation and history, the gateway town of West Yellowstone has the largest and most intact historic railroad complex built specifically to serve these national park visitors.
The YHC will accomplish its mission by:
Operating a Museum in the Union Pacific Depot that supports the mission and message statements. Restoring and preserving the buildings located in the Oregon Short Line Terminus Historic District in West Yellowstone, Montana. Developing a new, year-round museum to house collections, and to preserve these collections and interpret them through displays and educational programs.
The Yellowstone Historic Center has accomplished these goals through the generous support of donors, members, and through grants. To learn about our recent accomplishments, please see our Annual Report.
Plans for the Future
The YHC works closely with the Town of West Yellowstone and other organizations in the community and region to ensure the heritage of the Town of West Yellowstone and of the Travel to Yellowstone is preserved and interpreted. Learn more about our plans by reviewing our Strategic Plan.
The members of the Founders’ Circle made significant contributions to the Yellowstone Historic Center during its earliest years. The support of these individuals, organizations, and businesses enabled the Yellowstone Historic Center to become the vital organization it is today.
Bill & Afton Boyd
Linda Fontenot & George Caine
Tom & Sue Cole
Timothy & Noelle Daley
Andrew & Judith DeBoer
Denny & Jeanene Dickenson
Zeke & Kay Dumke
Jan & Cal Dunbar
Byrns & Corinne Fagerburg
First Interstate Bank
First Security Bank Foundation
Daniel Lorenzetti & Linda Rice Lorenzetti
Michael & Andrea Manship
Bob & Linda Pembroke
Lewis and Linda Robinson
Dan & Manon Russell
Jerry & Verlene Schmier
Seely & Howell Properties
Arne & Stephanie Siegel
Union Pacific Foundation
Povah Family Companies
Tom & Jean Young
Staff & Board of Directors
Kaitlin Johnson, Executive Director
Kaitlin Johnson was born and raised in West Yellowstone. After graduating from West Yellowstone High School in 2011, she continued her education at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. In 2015, she graduated with honors obtaining a Bachelor of the Arts in Mathematics with a Concentration in Business and Economics. Kaitlin moved back to West Yellowstone shortly after graduation and worked at Yellowstone Basin Bank until she was offered a position with Yellowstone Historic Center. Kaitlin now manages both the Museum and the Union Pacific Dining Lodge. Kaitlin began serving on the Museums Association of Montana Board of Directors in 2019.
Ellen Butler, Museum Supervisor
Ellen moved to Montana and joined the staff of YHC in May of 2017 as Museum Supervisor. Originally from Illinois, Ellen attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she received B.A.s in History and Political Science. She then continued her education at the University of Illinois Springfield where she received an M.A. in History with a concentration in Public History. Ellen first visited Yellowstone in 2013 as part of an undergraduate course exploring the politics and history of tourism in Yellowstone. This ignited a passion for America’s national parks and she spent the remainder of her studies exploring different facets of national park history. Throughout the off-season, Ellen works as Curator, managing the collections, archives, and exhibits, and as Fundraising Assistant, helping with event planning, the membership drive, grant writing, and other projects.
Bruce Gourley, Chair – Manhattan, MT
Glen Loomis, Vice Chair – West Yellowstone, MT
Chipper Smith, Treasurer – West Yellowstone, MT
Rawhide Johnson, Secretary – Cody, WY
Linda Blank – West Yellowstone, MT
Amanda Newell – West Yellowstone, MT
Garrett Ostler – West Yellowstone, MT
Cindy Salisbury – Portola Valley, CA
Jerry Schmier – West Yellowstone, MT
Honorary Board Member:
Heather Johnson, West Yellowstone, MT