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Home>Outdoor Organisation Directory > American Mountaineering Museum (Bradford Washburn)

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American Mountaineering Museum (Bradford Washburn)

Hours of Operation

Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

Tours are available for groups of 8 or more. Groups of more than 20 people will be divided into separate groups due to space limitations. Please contact us to schedule dates and times. Please allow one week notice for guided tours.

Inspire • Preserve • Educate

The Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum opened its doors in February 2008 to be the first and only museum in the United States dedicated to the heroism, technology, culture and spirit of mountaineering.

The museum brings visitors into the world of mountain and rock climbing and honors the achievements of mountaineers from America and around the world. Exhibits on climate, science, cultures and the humanities as they relate to mountains promise to make the visitor experience rich, exciting, and interactive.

American Mountaineering Museum (Bradford Washburn) Image 1

Vision Statement

The mission of the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum is to inspire in our visitors a greater appreciation for the mountains and for mountaineering, in all of its facets, including the cultural and inspirational qualities of the mountains and the sport; to help in the cause to preserve the mountains and the history of mountaineering; to educate our visitors and in so doing enhance their enjoyment and safety in the mountains.

The Museum realizes this mission through exceptional exhibitions, education programs, and lectures and speakers, and strives to engage a diverse audience through traveling exhibits and cultural partnerships.

Bradford Washburn

The Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum is devoted to mountaineering, the mountains, science and art, and the dissemination of knowledge--all things that Bradford Washburn exemplified. His legacy lives on through our exhibits and artifacts.

Henry Bradford Washburn Jr. was born on June 7, 1910, in Cambridge, Mass. He first climbed Mt. Washington at the age of 11. Two years later, his mother gave him his first camera, a Kodak Brownie, the point-and-shoot of the day. He remained passionate about climbing and photography for the rest of his life.

In 1939, he was named director of the New England Museum of Natural History in Boston. For the next 40 years he remained the director, bringing about the relocation and renaming of the museum--to Boston's Museum of Science--and transforming the original museum's uninspired collection into a leading center for science.

Washburn was still pioneering cartographic methods on Mt. Everest while in his 80s. Using global positioning techniques, he produced an exquisite example of the blending of art and science through mapping, and in the process determined a new height for Everest at 29,035 feet.


The Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum is home to some of the most historic artifacts in all of mountaineering. Our collection also includes artifacts from mountain cultures, the 10th Mountain Division, and early Colorado mountaineers. Here are a few examples:

Peter Schoening's ice axe:

Peter Schoening's ice axe is one of the most famous pieces of equipment in climbing history.

In 1953, an American expedition attempted to summit K2, the world's second-highest peak. When one of the climbers became gravely ill at over 25,000 feet (7,620 meters), the team desperately descended during a storm in an attempt to save his life.

Then one climber slipped on an ice slope and tangled his rope with the others. Soon, five men were plunging off the mountain. Quick-thinking Schoening jammed his ice axe against a boulder and held tight. All five of the falling climbers were saved.

Ellingwood Artifacts:

Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1888, Albert R. Ellingwood became one of the pioneering mountaineers of the early 20th century.

At the time of his death in 1934, Ellingwood was one of three men who had climbed all of the officially named 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado. In addition, he completed numerous first ascents in Colorado and Wyoming, including the Middle Teton and South Teton.

Ellingwood donated his fine selection of mountaineering books to the Colorado Mountain Club's collection. His legacy has been honored with the club's annual Albert Ellingwood Award, which recognizes mountaineering excellence.

Oxygen Cylinder, 1922 British Everest Expedition:
(On loan from Eric Simonson / AFFIMER)

This oxygen cylinder was recovered from the vicinity of Mt. Everest Advance Base Camp (c. 21,000 feet) on the East Rongbuk Glacier, March 30, 2001 during the 2001 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition.

The cylinder dates from the 1922 expedition to Mt. Everest—of which George Leigh Mallory was the leader. This British expedition was the first to use oxygen as a systematic aid in the ascent of a mountain.

Tenth Mountain Division:

During World War II, the best of the best--skiers, mountaineers, sportsmen, dogsled handlers, and trappers--were recruited to join the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division. Created in 1943, this was an elite unit trained to fight in extreme cold and mountain conditions. More than 10,000 men were stationed at Camp Hale, between Vail and Leadville, Colorado, to learn the skills for mountain survival and combat.

The Division achieved fame toward the end of World War II for its daring nighttime attacks against German forces in Italy's Apennine Mountains. Still, the division's most lasting fame may have come after the war, when veterans returned home and used their new skills and equipment to revolutionize American mountaineering and launch the modern ski industry.

Everest Model:

Built in 1990, the model is based on an ultra-large-scale map of Mount Everest made for Boston's Museum of Science, under the direction of Bradford Washburn, by Swissair Photo+Surveys Ltd. of Zurich, Switzerland.

Cultural pieces:

A handmade Dorje Thorlo mask is part of a traditional religious garment. Representing a wrathful deity, the mask is worn during one of the dances of Mani Rimdu, a festival performed at the Tengboche Buddhist Monastery in Nepal.

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