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Explore the History and Heritage of the Yellowstone Teton Territory

Posted On
Mar 19, 2020
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Historical Sites near Yellowstone
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Learn about the rich history and heritage of the Yellowstone Teton Territory by exploring some of the local museums and sites. Take a road trip to visit a few or spend a week exploring them all. Since many of these museums and sites are small and volunteer-run, be sure to check hours and days of operation before planning a visit.

Teton Dam Site

In 1976, the Teton Dam experienced a catastrophic failure, and over one million cubic feet of water per second rushed from the gaping holes, killing 11 people and causing millions of dollars in damage in Rexburg, Sugar City, Wilford, and nearby areas. The dam failure spurred The Bureau of Reclamation’s Dam Safety Program which works to prevent such a failure from occurring in the future. Now, the site where the dam once stood is a place where people go to reflect on that day in 1976. To learn more about the Teton Dam, be sure to also visit the Teton Flood Exhibit at the Museum of Rexburg.

Museum of Rexburg

The Teton Flood Exhibit is one of the main features of the Museum of Rexburg, which was originally established by the Upper Valley Snake River Historical Society as the Teton Flood Museum. Now, the museum includes a rotating selection of exhibits about the area’s history and heritage as well as a children’s room where kids can explore.

Teton Geotourism Center

Stop by the Teton Geotourism Center in Driggs to explore interactive exhibits and learn about the area’s history and heritage. Check out exhibits about dog sledding, wildlife, early inhabitants, transportation, tourism, and more. The center includes hands-on exhibits for kids, including a mini climbing wall. Take a virtual tour for a preview of what the center has to offer.

Teton Aviation Center Warbirds Museum, Driggs

Delve into aviation history at Teton Aviation Center’s Warbirds Museum, but be sure to check the hours of operation before planning a visit. The museum’s warbird collection features everything from an FJ-4 Fury Naval aircraft from the 1940s to a Soviet MiG 15 and the Bell 47 helicopter, among other historic relics. The Teton Aviation Center also offers scenic flights, a flight school, and a gourmet cafe serving up an array of menu items like Wyoming elk and heirloom tomato bolognese, seared steelhead trout, and Crowfoot Ranch pot roast braised in Melvin Brewing ale.

Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum, Rigby

Philo T. Farnsworth from Rigby was one of the early visionaries behind the television, and the Jefferson County Historical Society's Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum honors Farnsworth as well as the area's local heritage. The 14,000-square-foot museum contains an exhibit about Farnsworth, pioneer history, native artifacts, and more.

Idaho Centennial Carousel, Rexburg

Built in 1952, the Idaho Centennial Carousel is one of fewer than 175 operating wooden carousels. Located at Porter Park in Rexburg, the carousel is open for rides during the summer.

Legacy Flight Museum, Rexburg

In 2006, the Legacy Flight Museum opened in Rexburg to allow visitors to see historic aircraft, such as the P-63 King Cobra, Mormon Mustang, Grumman S-2 Tracker, and other aviation machines.

Shoshone Bannock Tribal Museum, Fort Hall

Venture to Fort Hall, which is located between Pocatello and Blackfoot, to explore the area’s native heritage at the Shoshone Bannock Tribal Museum. Explore tribal art and learn about native history and culture. The museum contains Benedicte Wrensted photos dating back to 1895, and the gift shop sells tribal beadwork, jewelry, and other hand-crafted items.

Idaho Potato Museum, Blackfoot

Learn about the spud state’s most famous agricultural crop at the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot. The museum is located in a former potato transport hub: the Oregon Short Line Railroad Depot. Visitors can learn about potato history, including the role of railroads in potato transportation, how potatoes are grown and harvested, and plenty of potato facts. Of course, there’s also a cafe serving up the famous spuds