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Albany County Museums – A directory of Laramie area cultural attractions

Albany County Museums – A directory of Laramie area cultural attractions


The Ames Monument

Fifteen miles southeast of Laramie, I-80 exit 329
(307) 742-7603 Cost: Free Admission

Completed by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1882 at a cost of $65,000, this 60-foot high granite pyramid marks the highest elevation (8,247 feet) on the original Transcontinental Railroad. The monument is a memorial to the Ames brothers, Oakes and Oliver, who were extremely instrumental in the construction of the Union Pacific, which was the eastern half of the transcontinental route. The monument was designed by the distinguished American architect Henry Hobson Richardson, and the bas-relief medallions of the Ames brothers were created by the prominent American sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The Monument is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Snow Train

1st and Sheridan Streets, Laramie
(307) 742-7603

The Snow Train consists of a wedge snow plow built in 1953, a steam engine built in 1903, a bunk car built in 1929 and a caboose built in 1951. This configuration replicates trains that operated in Wyoming until the 1950s. It is dedicated to the men and women of Laramie and the West who cleared the rails of snow and allowed passenger and freight trains to run. All of the equipment was built by or for the Union Pacific Railroad, whose Overland Route mainline is 100 feet to the west. The Snow Train is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Cooper Center for Creative Arts - Ark Regional Services

Location: 1174 North 4th Street, Laramie
More Info: (307) 742-6641

Since the inception of the Cooper Center for Creative Arts, our purpose has been to nurture and cultivate artists. Our focus is to provide the venue, education and supplies that are necessary for an artist…any artist…to create masterpieces. The artists represented by the Cooper Center happen to have disabilities, but our goal is to transcend disability and have them be regarded and accepted as artists…period. We envision a community in which there is no segregation, but rather a culture of diversity and appreciation for all artists.

All people deserve the opportunity for creative self-expression without limits and without boundaries, and we challenge the perceptions people hold of artists with disabilities. By working alongside trained professional artists, students have the opportunity to develop technical skills in the arts while exploring their personal creativity. Whether it is studying Monet, reading Shakespeare or exploring modern dance, the Cooper Center is changing art, changing minds and changing lives!

If you are interested in learning more about the Cooper Center, please contact Kayc DeMaranville at (307) 742-6641 or by email at

Laramie Plains Museum

Location: 603 Ivinson Street, Laramie
More Info: (307) 742-4448
Hours and Costs:

Set on the property of the magnificent 1892 Ivinson Mansion, the Laramie Plains Museum features one of the region’s finest historic homes. The splendor of the Victorian Queen Anne style is on display throughout its 23 rooms. The history of Laramie and the surrounding area is also showcased with displays on cowboys, Indians, sheep ranching, and other changing exhibits. Thousands of visitors from around the country and the world, along with hundreds of regional school children, view and learn from its collections each year. Located on a full city block between 6th and 7th Streets, it is a must-see when visiting Laramie.

Tours last about an hour and are guided by senior and junior docents. Reasonable rates include discounts for seniors, students, and families. Call for hours, as times vary with the seasons. Generally, the museum and gift shop are open Tuesday through Saturday afternoons. During the summer season, hours are extended to full days and Sundays. It is closed on Mondays, but there is no charge for visitors to stroll the Victorian gardens, sit on the benches, and enjoy the ambiance.

Nici Self Historical Museum

Location: 2734 Highway 130, Centennial
More Info: (307) 742-7763
Cost: Free Admission

The Nici Self Historical Museum opened in 1976. Its historic depot building, which houses much of the museum’s collection, was built by the Laramie, Hahns Peak & Pacific Railway in 1907. Artifacts and photographs from the Centennial Valley and its adjacent mountains are exhibited throughout the buildings and grounds. The history of the LHP & P railroad and its successors is displayed in the depot and caboose, while lumbering tools are in the beehive burner and outside. Many pieces of mining equipment and gear are also part of the museum’s collection, as are everyday and unusual implements that give glimpses into ranch life over the years. Other attractions are a one room schoolhouse, used in the Centennial Valley from 1903 to 1962, and a historic ranch barn. A skid shack and a former UW Rec Camp cabin are the museum’s newest additions.

Laramie Railroad Depot Museum

Location: 1st and Kearney Streets, Laramie
More Info: (307) 742-7603 Cost: Free Admission

The Laramie Depot was built in 1924 to replace the original, which was destroyed by fire in 1917. It served as Laramie’s Union Pacific passenger depot until 1971 and then as an Amtrak station until 1997. The Depot is now a museum which preserves Albany County’s railroad heritage and explains its impact on local history, culture and economic development. It maintains its original floor plan; however, significant renovations were begun in the 1990s and continue to take place. The restored Craftsman-style ceiling is a work of art.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 as part of the Historic Downtown Laramie district. It is used for non-profit community events such as public meetings, concerts, art showings, and the ending of the Christmas parade. It is also available for weddings, banquets and meetings.

University of Wyoming Anthropology Museum

Location: 12th and Lewis Streets, Laramie
More info: (307) 766-2208 or (307) 766-5136
Cost: Free Admission

The University of Wyoming Anthropology Museum is in the Anthropology Building. It offers exhibits related to the four subfields of Anthropology: Archaeology, Biological, Linguistic, and Cultural.

The main gallery follows the “Human Odyssey,” from the evolution of humans in Africa several million years ago to their Late Pleistocene entry into the New World. The Colby Mammoth Site, the Vore Buffalo Jump, and other Wyoming archaeology sites are featured with much of the Museum devoted to a celebration of the rich Native American heritage of the Northern Plains. Other displays featuring archaeological research and world cultural diversity can be found in hallway displays throughout the building.

The Museum is open only during regular UW hours, M-F 9:00-4:30, (summer hours 8:30-4:00 after May 11th). Please stop by any time when we are open, and extended group tours often can be scheduled. Please check with Museum Director Dr. Charles Reher (307-766-2208; or the main Department Office (307-766-5136) for more information.

Project Credits


The Albany County Historic Preservation Board
Project Coordinator: Larry Ostresh (1942-2013) ACHPB
Editor in Chief: Sarah Perrine, ACHPB
Funding Director: Amy Williamson, ACHPB President
Historical Consultants: Phil Roberts and Judy Knight
Volunteers: Cecily Goldie, Teresa Sherwood, Brandon Bishop,
Jerry Hansen, Mary Humstone, Chavawn Kelley, Sonya Moore,
Tony Parilla, John Waggener, Nancy Weidel
Partners: Albany County Museum Coalition, Albany County Tourism Board,
Laramie Main Street Program, Laramie Plains Museum, Lincoln Community Center

The seven Laramie & Albany County Tour Guides in this series were funded by grants from the Albany County Tourism Board, Fred Ockers, Director; Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office; University of Wyoming Foundation, Division of Student Affairs, and Art Museum; Cecily Goldie; Judy Knight; Amy M. Lawrence; Amy Williamson; Centennial Valley Historical Association; Edward Jones Investments (Jon Johnson); Laramie Plains Museum; Laramie Railroad Depot Museum; Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site.

These tour guides were financed in part with funds granted to the Albany County Historic Preservation Board from the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office administers these federal funds as part of Wyoming’s Certified Local Government program. This program received Federal financial assistance for identification and protection of historic properties. The contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Dept. of the Interior. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, P.O. Box 37127, Washington, D.C. 20013-7127.


Wyoming SHPO:

Albany County Tourism Board:

Graphic Design by: Mike Gray – Albany County Tourism Board – ©2014


University of Wyoming Art Museum

Location: 2111 Willett Drive, Laramie
More Info: (307) 766-6622
Cost: Free Admission

The University of Wyoming Art Museum, located in the award winning Centennial Complex, was established in 1972 to bring the world of art to Wyoming. “Imagine Learning from the Masters” is a guiding principal for a rotating schedule of exhibitions. Its permanent collection of nearly 8,000 objects spans Modern and Contemporary Art, American and European Art, fine art photography, and art of the Americas, Asia, and Africa.

The Art Museum’s “Museum as Classroom” approach to education places art at the center of learning, whether through the Preschool Initiative, After School Program, UW courses taught in the museum, or statewide outreach programs like the Ann Simpson Artmobile. Art talks, gallery walk throughs, classes and tours are offered on a regular basis.

University of Wyoming Geological Museum

Location: S. H. Knight Geology Building, UW Campus, Laramie
More Info: (307) 766-2646
Cost: Free Admission

The University of Wyoming Geological Museum in Laramie supports academic programs, scientific research and public education. It is overseen by the Department of Geology and Geophysics in the College of Arts and Sciences. The UW Geological Museum is the oldest existing museum in the state, and it was recently renovated to showcase Wyoming’s fossils, rocks and minerals. Every year it hosts thousands of visitors from around the world and provides educational tours for students from preschool to college.

Outside, a life-sized, copper-plated Tyrannosaurus rex statue guards the museum. Inside, exhibits focus on the geology, paleontology and paleoecology of Wyoming. A 75-foot-long Apatosaurus skeleton, one of only six on display in the world, stands with the skeletal cast of “Big Al” the Allosaurus in the center Jurassic Island. A new exhibit focuses on Wyoming in the last part of the Cretaceous Period with skull casts of Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex posed as if in combat. New exhibits also highlight the environment of Wyoming during the Age of Mammals and showcase fossil specimens from around the state. The Gem City Mine focuses on mineral specimens from Wyoming and includes a display of fluorescent minerals. Upstairs are displays showing Wyoming seas through time, including invertebrate and vertebrate marine fossils. Other displays highlight current student and faculty research in the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

Hours: The museum is open year round, Mondays-Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding holidays.

University of Wyoming Insect Gallery

Location: Room 4018, UW Agricultural Building, Laramie
More Info: (307) 766-5338
Cost: Free Admission

The UW Insect Gallery, part of the UW Insect Museum, includes educational displays of preserved insects, a small zoo with living arthropods, a browsing library of insect books for children, and a discovery cabinet with insect-related items. Public teaching displays include exotic specimens from all around the world as well as displays of more well-known insects of the Wyoming and Colorado region. The historical research collections are the source of specimens for the teaching displays on public view in the Insect Gallery and a source for new displays.

The research collection contains historical specimens from all parts of Wyoming, the 50 states, more than 60 foreign countries, and six continents. Altogether, these collections contain more than one million preserved insect specimens, pinned or in alcohol jars and vials, and represent more than a century of research. Visitors are welcome—there is no fee, and no appointments are necessary for small groups. Larger groups are encouraged to call in advance.

Hours: Open June to August from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

University of Wyoming Planetarium

Location: UW Physical Sciences Building Basement, Laramie
More Info: (307) 766-2613 or (307) 766-6150

The UW Planetarium is a facility of the University of Wyoming Department of Physics and Astronomy. The Planetarium offers shows for the public, as well as for K-12 and college classes and community groups. The Planetarium opened in 1969 and is equipped with a Spitz starball projector.

The Planetarium is located in the lower level of the Physical Science Building between the Library Annex and Classroom Building. Please enter through the southwest doors of the Physical Science Building (the doors closest to the Classroom Building).

The Planetarium is wheelchair accessible by taking the elevator in the Physical Science Building to the basement, and then a second elevator (opposite the Library Annex) to reach the entrance. A Planetarium presenter can direct you to the best locations for viewing the show. Please contact us in advance or arrive early for the best choice of seating locations. Assistive listening devices are available with advance notice.

University of Wyoming Louis O. and Terua P. Williams Conservatory

Location: Aven Nelson Building, UW Campus, Laramie
9th Street and University Ave.
More Info: (307) 766-6487                                                                                                                                                                                      

The Williams Conservatory is a beautiful place to stop while strolling through the University of Wyoming campus. At 9th and University, you’ll see it attached to the Aven Nelson Building, home of UW’s Botany Department. The foyer features orchids and a rich variety of tropical plants. There is always something in bloom. Side rooms have exhibits of epiphytes and carnivorous plants, among others.

Casual visitors, students of all ages, clubs, and others seeking an opportunity to learn about plants from around the world are welcome to stop in. The staff can assist those seeking advice on plants in their homes and gardens. Call in advance if you are bringing a large group.

Visits are free and self-guided, the hours are Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Friday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Conservatory is closed on weekends and UW Holidays.

Hours: Open June to August from 10 am to 4 pm.

Wyoming Women’s History House

Location: 317 South 2nd Street, Laramie
More Info: (307) 742-2919

Early in the morning on September 6, 1870 in Laramie, Wyoming, Louisa Ann Gardner Swain became the first woman in the world to cast a ballot under laws granting women the right to vote with full civil equality with men.  This law was contained in the 1869 Wyoming Suffrage Act, the first of its kind anywhere in the world. That same year in Laramie, Eliza Stewart became the first woman to serve on a jury and Martha Symons Boies became the first woman to serve as a bailiff.  In South Pass City, Wyoming, Esther Hobart Morris became the first woman to serve in a judicial position.

The Wyoming Women’s History House was constructed in 2003 to memorialize these extraordinary events that gave Wyoming its nickname, “The Equality State.”  The History House contains exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia that honor these and other notable Wyoming women whose achievements have made state and national history.
Hours: Open June to August from 10 am to 4 pm.

Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site

Location: 975 Snowy Range Road, Laramie
More Info: (307) 745-3733

Crime and Confinement…Listed on the National Register, the Wyoming Territorial Prison is an imposing stone structure built in 1872. For 30 years it held violent and desperate outlaws (including the notorious Butch Cassidy). This is the only federal penitentiary built in Wyoming and is one of the oldest buildings still standing in the state. Prison escapes were high – 1 out of every 4 prisoners fled, never to be recaptured. In 1903 the convicts were transferred to the new state penitentiary in Rawlins, WY.

Convicts to Cattle…In 1903 the abandoned prison buildings and land were given to the University of Wyoming and adapted for reuse as an Agriculture Experiment Station. For 86 years UW applied science and research to improve farming and ranching in Wyoming and around the world. The “Science on the Range” exhibit, located in the historic 1910 horse barn, explores that history.

117 years after the first convicts walked into the prison, the massive structure was restored. Now a museum, visitors can walk into the strap iron cells where convicts were locked up, worked and lived. Visit our website for hours, fees and events.