The most efficient path from southwest South Dakota to southern Montana was through Wyoming, so I made yet again another trip through Wyoming, making it my third visit to the state—the first across the south, the second through the southeast corner, and this time through the northeast corner. My first stop was at Gillette, Wyoming.
One of the most recommended tourist attractions in Gillette was the Frontier Relics & Auto Museum, and after visiting, I definitely agree. Although it might seem strange, I’m pretty sure that this museum is actually my all-time favorite museum, even after having visited nearly 40 states at this point and having gone to major museums and tourist hotspots in each one.
The Frontier Relics & Auto Museum is very special in that, on first look, it is very disorganized and chaotic. However, that is precisely why it is such an amazing museum. Stepping inside makes you feel completely immersed in that time period (which I think was somewhere around the 1940s to 1960s—I don’t know for sure because I am not a history enthusiast and know very little about history). Everything around you makes you feel like you’re actually a real person living real life in that era.
Most museums will take relics from the past, organize them in straight rows and columns, lock them behind a glass enclosure, and label them. Instead, this museum spreads them out all over the place out in the open. For example, there is a section that is built like a mechanic’s shop, and it looks like you’re walking through the shop shortly after a mechanic finished working on a car, placed leftover parts back on the counter, put work orders on their desk, and threw their gloves on top of their toolbox.
I feel like this premise would only ever work in a small town like this, because if a major museum in a major city did this, I know for a fact that it would be absolutely destroyed by children (and likely even have a lot of the relics stolen by deviant teens and adults). However, I’ve noticed that the culture out in the “middle of nowhere” places like this is much better than big cities, and I’ve noticed that people have much more kindness, integrity, and respect for each other, so it’s nice that this museum is taking advantage of that to give its visitors an amazing time.
If you ever find yourself passing through Gillette for any reason, I highly recommend that you take a stop to visit this museum. The experience that you’ll get from it is very unique and one-of-a-kind.
(As a disclaimer, even though I share a lot of neat things and positive experiences from my travels, I rarely ever call something the “best,” so I feel the need to clarify here that this actually is my personal honest opinion and that I was not compensated in any way for this review, nor do I plan to accept any compensation or other benefits after-the-fact.)