Historical Museum Prepares For 150th Anniversary Of Powell Expedition

Sweetwater County Historical Museum display of the Powell Expedition, which passed through and explored the vast spaces of what was then one of the last unknown areas of the west including Sweetwater County. (Photo courtesy of the Sweetwater County Historical Museum)

Written by Dick Blust, Sweetwater County Historical Museum

Photo courtesy of Sweetwater County Historical Museum

(Sweetwater County, WY – May 18, 2019) – Friday, May 24, marks the 150th anniversary of the departure of John Wesley Powell’s epic expedition of 1869 to explore and map the Green and Colorado Rivers and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The staff of the Sweetwater County Historical Museum is putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive new exhibit commemorating the event.​

​At noon on May 24, 1869, nine men, led by Powell, a scientist, explorer, geographer, geologist, and Civil War veteran who had lost his right arm after being wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, pushed their four small boats into the waters of the Green River in what was then known as the “Green River Station”. This began their harrowing, 1,000-mile journey which would end over three months later at the confluence of the Virgin and Colorado Rivers in Nevada; the first non-native party to travel down the Grand Canyon by boat and the first to explore it scientifically.​


About 700 Sweetwater County students were among the first to view the museum’s Powell exhibit (pictured above) during the Third Grade History Fair last week. ​

The public is invited to visit the museum and the new Powell exhibit. Admission to the Sweetwater County Historical Museum, 3 East Flaming Gorge Way in Green River, is free. Summer hours are Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The museum is closed on Sundays and most national holidays.​