The End of the Trail Collection

Artifacts and History of the first Americans.

Riches from beyond the Forest.

The End of the Trail Collection is attached to the north end of the Trees of Mystery gift shop and is one of the largest privately owned world class Collections there is.

Free to the Public

This is a lovingly maintained collection, and there is no charge for entry. This is our gift to the touring public who have made us what we are.

Museum Free

The Mission

What you see in our Collection is the culmination of a dream that began over 30 years ago.

The mission and scope of the End of The Trail Private Collection could hardly be explained any better than they were in the words of Marylee Thompson Smith, the main collector and person most responsible for its existence, spoken on the day it opened, on March 10, 1968:

“Dear Friends, Welcome! What you see here in our Collection is the culmination of a dream that began over 30 years ago when I became interested in the ancient and modern cultures of our “First Americans”. These people, to my way of thinking, invented the noun “ingenuity”- my definition being “doing with what you’ve got”! It is interesting to see what each geographically located groups of peoples did with what was available, be it on land or water. With the “advantages” of modern civilization, it is no longer necessary to hunt food or clothing, or to spend long hours gathering materials and weaving baskets. Sad, but true, much of what you see here is already a lost art. Every year, these treasures become lost to our future generations by fire, flood, neglect and time itself. With this collection, a part of their culture will be preserved – for your children and mine. This is my promise.”

Museum Mission