National Buffalo Museum

500 17th St SE, Jamestown, ND 58401 - United States





The mission of the National Buffalo Museum is to educate the public on the cultural and historical significance of the North American bison, the national mammal of the United States. We do this through educational programming and exhibits, including a bison herd.

The National Buffalo Museum and bison herd are located close to the World’s Largest Buffalo, near the intersection of Highway 281 and Interstate 94 (exit 258). Museum exhibits focus primarily on the history of bison in the plains culture. The museum begins with a short film about the American bison, and includes exhibits on the natural history of bison, Plains Indian artifacts, a wide variety of artwork, and a children’s learn and play space.

The museum also includes a store containing an amazing assortment of bison-themed items. The museum’s bison herd currently numbers about 30 head.

The National Buffalo Museum is a nonprofit organization and derives operating funds from memberships, museum entrance fees, and income from merchandise sales; however, charitable contributions are especially important. We depend heavily on the generosity of donors to continue our programs, develop exhibits, and maintain our facilities. Please visit the museum during your stay in Jamestown, and, if your circumstances permit, consider lending your support.


Permanent exhibits tell the story of the evolution of the American bison, the importance of the bison to indigenous Americans, the near extinction of the bison, primarily through hunting by European Americans, and the individuals who helped restore the bison, in part by creating an economic value for bison meat. Exhibits also explore bison biology and behavior and the animals' role in the ecosystem.

The museum's temporary galleries are currently home to I AM BISON, a debut installation show by Virginia-based textile artist, Patty Swygert. I AM BISON is a mixed media installation that captures the bison’s journey from Asia thousands of years ago to a new and hospitable home in North America, its sustenance of humans, its near extinction in a few decades by European settlers, and the remarkable rebuilding of the species. North America was tragically close to losing these majestic mammals, but through the efforts of a few far-sighted individuals, bison still thrive across the continent.

Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.