Experiential Learning and the Yellowstone National Park Collection

A primary focus at Brigham Young University is providing students with experiential learning opportunities. These opportunities enable students to take the skills that they are learning in the classroom and apply them in real world situations. This deepens learning in rich and meaningful ways. The Yellowstone National Park collection held in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections in the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University provides a wealth of resources that have the potential to enable rich experiential learning opportunities for students.

Dr. Jay Buckley of the BYU History Department has leveraged the resources in the Yellowstone National Park collection to provide experiential learning opportunities for students. His work with undergraduate student Nathan Benavidez highlights the ways in which the Yellowstone collection can be used. Together they conducted research on how mountain men in the 1820s and 1830s depicted the region that would become Yellowstone National Park. This research provided Nathan with a deeper understanding of historical research and the effort required to publish that research. His work with Dr. Buckley resulted in an article entitled “Mountain Men Reveal Yellowstone: Observations of Daniel Potts, Warren Ferris, and Osborne Russell in the 1820s and 1830s” that was published in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal in 2022. It also resulted in two national presentations on the topic–one at the Conversations on Collecting Yellowstone Conference in Bozeman, Montana and another at the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, Wyoming.

Dr. Buckley and Nathan Benavidez with a copy of their article.

Nathan Benavidez presenting at the Conversations on Collecting Yellowstone conference in Bozeman, MT.

Brigham Young University’s Yellowstone National Park collection is exceptionally strong and provides students and faculty with a variety of research opportunities. You can learn more about the Yellowstone National Park collection here and you can access digitized content from BYU’s holdings here.

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