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History & Mission of the Nelson Museum of the West

The idea for the Nelson Museum was born on the Plains of Africa, in the outback of Australia, the snow of Siberia and Alaska and in hunting camps in numerous other locations around the world.


The collection itself was designed by our Founder Robert L. Nelson to show visitors a broad spectrum of our older western cultures.  Cowboy, Charro, Art, Native American and Military aspects of the west were carefully studied and needed artifacts put on a list for acquisition. The collection grew through the 1970s, 1980s and in 1998, the museum was opened to the public. Many Collections are very deep. Our collection is very wide!  Each spur, saddle, firearm and artifact was added to the collection for a purpose. Each was added to make the story more complete.


At this writing and including the 4000 book library, the collection totals over 14,000 items.


Is the story complete? Of course not! The collection continues to grow and will continue to grow as new aspects of the history of the west are revealed.

The mission statement of the museum as adopted by our museum Board Members is as follows:


 “The mission of the Nelson Museum of the West is to build an important collection of Military, Cowboy and Native American Artifacts, Western Art and Natural History Material, and to share this collection with the public in a way so as to educate them as to the history of the Old West.”

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