130 votes

National Frontier Trails Museum

318 W Pacific Ave, Independence, Missouri 64050 USA

Open Now
Sat 9a-4:30p
  • Independent
  • Public
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“learn about one of the most fascinating epic in American History”

One of the most fascinating epics in American History is the story of the overland migrations across the western American wilderness during the mid-nineteenth century. Thousands of wagon trains slowly snaked their way along rugged trails, crossing wind-swept prairies, barren deserts, and formidable mountain ranges. The pioneer adventurers faced storms, mud, swollen rivers, accidents, deserts, choking dust, thirst, deadly plagues, and many other dangers to seek trade, new homes and opportunities in the West. Many did not survive the grueling journey, with tens of thousands of unmarked graves silently guarding the trails today. This extraordinary saga ranks today as the largest voluntary, overland mass migration in the history of the world. The three principle trails which crossed the West were the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California. The Santa Fe Trail, begun in 1821, was a 900-mile foreign trade route unique in American History due to its overland rather than seafaring commerce. The 2,000-mile Oregon Trail began to be heavily traveled in 1843 by settlers wanting to establish new homes in the northwest, while others forked off on the equally long and grueling California Trail to seek their fortunes in the gold fields. Together, these three rugged pathways and their pioneers changed the face and history of America.

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Reviewed by

  • 9 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
June 16, 2017
Rated 4.0

This place has some interesting information and the way they present it through the stories of settlers (excerpts from interviews and diaries) makes it very entertaining. It has a plan for expanding the museum that looks brilliant and I hope they succeed. Worth the $6 entry and a hour to look around.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
October 03, 2015
Rated 5.0

Really enjoyed our visit there. Started with a short movie about the westward trails to CA., SantaFe, and Oregon. Lots of information, Artifacts, and pictures. Even have a covered wagon used for transporting supplies. Took us 3 hrs to get through it but we just took our time and read everything there. Entrance fee is very reasonable. Highly recommend if you have an interest in that period of history. We also spent time looking and finding a few places from that time period. One was the site where the wagons crossed the Blue River. There was a ride in a covered wagon in the town 4th that was
really awesome. The driver was full of stories and facts about Independence. We only had time for his shortest ride but I hope to come back and take the full ride with him.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
February 16, 2021

Unfortunately the museum was closed 2/15/21 as we embark in the Oregon Trail Journey

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
October 21, 2020

Closed until June 2021

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
August 10, 2019
Rated 5.0

Great start to our journey! We are moving from Michigan to Oregon and I thought it would be a good transition to do the route of the Oregon Trail as our drive west. We stopped at Courthouse Square in Independence first as it's the 'official' start of the Oregon Trail' and then stopped here. Even my 16 & 18 year olds were interested in the exhibits. The movie was informative although it's a bit older and the production values show its age. Not an issue for us as the information provided was what we were interested in. Staff was super nice!

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Reviewed by

  • 34 Reviews
  • 6 Helpful
January 02, 2019
Rated 3.0

Just ok....bus loads of senior tourists came right after we got there so maybe it is different other times. Tours in wagons were all booked up for the 2 days we were there. Go if you are in the area but otherwise you could probably skip.

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Reviewed by

  • 19 Reviews
  • 8 Helpful
April 15, 2018
Rated 4.0

Smaller than we expected but it was worth stopping. Some great information but more importantly, clean bathrooms for us while road tripping. We took an hour to look around, stretch and relax. Don't need much more than an hour to see everything here.

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National Frontier Trails Museum

318 W Pacific Ave
Independence, Missouri
64050 USA


Open now until 4:30 pm
  • Mon - Sat: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
  • Sun: 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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