Yosemite Valley Visitor Center

The Valley Visitor Center is, of course, your place to get information about the park and plan your visit, but it also includes a walk through history, both natural and human. Starting with the geology of Yosemite, you will learn about the natural history of the area as well as the human history, ending with the present day. 

Yosemite Museum

The Yosemite Museum next to the Visitor Center includes some of the finest examples of Miwok and Paiute basket makers as well as displays highlighting early tourism and the first motorcycle to make the trip to Yosemite. Behind the museum proper, the Indian Village shows traditional and gold-rush era habitations and other elements of Indian life in Yosemite.

Pioneer Yosemite History Center in Wawona

Revisit the time of horse-drawn wagons, covered bridges, and log cabins.  A visit to the Pioneer Yosemite History Center in nearby Wawona explores Yosemite’s history and explains how Yosemite was inspiration for national parks across America and around the world.  The center is open year-round. 

Thomas Hill Studio

The Wawona Visitor Center is housed in the Hill Studio, which includes several works by renowned landscape painter Thomas Hill (1829–1908). Hill stayed the Wawona Hotel near the end of his life and his collection include paintings of the area depicting the decades around the turn of the twentieth century. The studio is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Museums Outside the Park


In addition to the in-park museums, the Southern Sierra Region is rich in history and has several additional museums worth visiting.