New museum takes visitors beyond Yellowstone

  Dr. Charles Preston wishes he had better understood the Yellowstone region during his first visit there as a teen-ager. Now, as curator of the new Draper Museum in Cody, Wyo., his job is to bolster the knowledge of a new generation of Yellowstone visitors.

The Draper, part of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, links geological, natural, and cultural collections into a broad vision of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Though it houses traditional collections and audio-visual and computer interactive exhibits, the museum also offers visitors the chance to traipse through a naturalist's tent in spring or a fishing stream in the summer, read among the aspens, listen to storytellers, and visit a model science laboratory.

"Museums, unfortunately, are too often seen as mausoleums," Preston says, "and the Draper wants to debunk this."

The museum's environmental exhibits will tackle land and resource management issues such as the wolf re-introduction program at Yellowstone, the de-listing of the Grizzly Bear as an endangered species, and the co-existence of wild horses and cattle on rangeland.

The Draper Museum opens June 4, 2002. For more information, visit or call 307/587-4771.

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