A touring wagon used to carry tourists through Yellowstone National Park from approximately 1892 to 1916, recently returned to the Wyoming State Museum following conservation work in South Dakota.
Only a small number of the original Yellowstone Touring Wagons are known to have survived through the past century.
Initially, the wagon was to be stripped to bare wood and then made to appear as it would have during the early 1900s. However, careful examination revealed that many of the wagon’s original decorative details have survived its later use.
“Early in the project, I received an excited call from the conservators who wanted to tell me that some testing had shown the original paint and lettering applied in the New Hampshire factory appeared to be still intact under all the later applications of paint.” Jim Allison, manager of the wagon project for the museum said.
“Eight layers of paint were eventually removed from the wagon by hand to expose the vehicle’s original finish dating to the early 1890s,” Allison continued. “We had no idea what the wagon’s history was other than it was used in Yellowstone. We now know this was wagon 99 of the Yellowstone National Park Transportation Company which operated from about 1892 to 1898.”
Other modifications dating from the wagon’s use in the national park were also uncovered during the conservation process.
Look for the wagon to be on exhibit at the Wyoming State Museum in late 2017/early 2018.
Funding for this project was provided by the Wyoming State Legislature, the Wyoming Cultural Trust, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation, Wyoming State Museum Volunteers, Inc., and the Greenwood Foundation.