The Yellowstone Gateway Museum of Park County needed funds to preserve its collection of artifacts from railroad companies—Park County’s largest employers from 1883 to 1986. Railroad history collections are one of the museum’s most important cultural accounts; the collections tell stories of immigrant workers, unions, women who worked in World War I, and women’s support organizations. The railroad industry’s impact on Montana’s history is immeasurable.
Artifacts from railroad companies and employees date back to the late 1880s, including records from other areas in Montana. The vast majority of items were stored in a building with no climate-control prior to the 2017 project. MHF granted Yellowstone Gateway Museum of Park County funds to contract a professional archivist and recruit volunteers to help archive railroad industry collections. The archivist cataloged items, created finding aids, and purchased archival supplies. Volunteers moved the archives to the new-and-improved dedicated archival space.