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Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center - (formerly LeConte Lodge) Main
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Inside the Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center
Climate Change
Huell Howser Video
Summer Programs
Green Shoes Project
Words for Wilderness
Wildflower Exhibit
Wilderness Quilt Project
Centennial Celebration
Rededication Ceremony
1904 Dedication
A Week Volunteering in Yoemite by Elaine Gorman
A Volunteer's Experience by Keith Martin
Make an online donation
Join Friends of LeConte on Facebook!
  Photo Albums:
General Photo Album
Including high-res photos
Centennial Photo Album
Rededication Photo Album
Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center Fact Sheet (2016) (PDF)
Help Preserve the Sierra Club Home in Yosemite National Park (PDF)
LeConte Memorial Lodge - First Permanent Visitor Center in Yosemite Valley & Home of the Sierra Club in Yosemite National Park (PDF) by Bonnie Gisel - from Yosemite Guide, May-June, 2012 (PDF)
LeConte Memorial - A Sierra Club Legacy by Elaine Gorman (PDF) (2012)
Joseph LeConte Fact Sheet (PDF)
John Muir, the National Parks, the Sierra Club, and the Yossemite Conservation Heritage Center (PDF)
John Muir Fact Sheeet (PDF)
Huell Howser Video
(Quicktime Movie 48 MB )
Hetch Hetchy and the Sierra Club
Make a Nature Journal
About Joseph LeConte
'Little Joe' Joseph N. LeConte
1896 Tribute to Dr. LeConte
John Muir Exhibit
Sierra Club History
Oher Sierra Club Lodges
Le Conte Memorial Lodge by Steven Finacom
NPS 1985 Theme Study
National Historic Landmark Program

Sierra Club Environmental Education Program
LeConte Memorial Lodge

The interior of LeConte Memorial Lodge features five interpretive displays which are the masterwork of Sierra Club volunteer and professional designer, George Pettit.

Joseph LeConte Display

Joseph Leconte Memorial Display

The first display features Joseph LeConte (1823-1901), the renowned geologist and university professor. The LeConte Memorial Lodge was built in his honor. This display tells the story of his life, beginning with his boyhood and youth in Georgia and his coming west to teach at the fledgling University of California. It was installed in 2001.

Joseph LeConte, like his close personal friend John Muir, is indelibly linked to Yosemite. On his first visit to Yosemite in July 1870, Joseph Le Conte wrote in his journal: "I have heard and read much about this wonderful valley, but I can truly say I have never imagined the grandeur of the reality."

As a scientist, Joseph LeConte validated the idea of the glacial origins of Yosemite Valley as originally advanced by John Muir. In 1892, they joined forces with several like-minded friends to found the Sierra Club.

For more information on Joseph LeConte, see our online Joseph Leconte biography and the tribute to him in the 1896 Blue and Gold University of California Yearbook.

John Muir and the Sierra Club

The second display was installed at the beginning of the 2002 season. It features the early history of the Sierra Club in Yosemite, including John Muir, the battle for Hetch Hetchy, early exploration and trail-building, launch of the Club's outings program, and John Muir's legacy of National Parks. The exhibit tells how LeConte’s son, Joseph N. LeConte, explored, climbed, photographed, and mapped much of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, and served the Sierra Club for over fifty years. Of course, William E. Colby is mentioned as well, as the founder of the Sierra Club’s Outings program, and the recipient of the Club’s first John Muir Award.

Display of John Muir and Sierra Club - left
Left hand side of John Muir and Sierra Club display

Display John Muir and Sierra Club - right
Right hand side of John Muir and Sierra Club display

To Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

The third interpretive display in the LeConte Memorial was installed on July 22, 2003.

This display tells of the contributions of the Sierra Club to America's national parks movement and the environmental movement of the 20th century. Display items include the building of the LeConte Memorial Lodge (several years before Yosemite Valley became a part of Yosemite National Park,) and the early development of mountaineering in the Sierra Club.

Early Sierra Club leaders and mountaineers are pictured, including Marion Randall Parsons, Ansel Adams, and David Brower.

Leconte Memorial Lodge display case 3

The display continues with the story of the 1960 This is the American Earth exhibit in LeConte Memorial and the first Sierra Club Exhibit Format Series book, which remain, alongside Rachel Carson's Silent Spring as a major inspiration for the modern environmental movement. The display concludes with a summary of some of the legislative victories of the latter part of the twentieth century, and is dedicated to 97 year-old Sierra Club activist Ed Wayburn, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his efforts to protect wild Alaska and California's Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

LeConte lodge display case 3 closeup

Climate Change Display

The Climate Change display, installed in 2009, heightens the awareness of visitors to this issue of great importance to the Sierra Club and the National Park Service. Despite its contemporary message, the display carries on the style of the other three primary exhibits in LeConte memorial. Interactive features include a "time machine" showing the increase of carbon dioxide over the last 300 years, and a series of panels with informative photographs and text in both English and Spanish. Special attention is given to climate change in Yosemite, including melting glaciers and impact on Yosemite wildlife such as the American Pika. The display offers solutions that can be understood and embraced by the National Park Service, the Sierra Club, and individuals.

See more detail of the Climate Change Exhibit.

Joseph LeConte in Yosemite Historical Display

Other Displays

Joseph LeConte in Yosemite Photo Display

These historical photos have resided in LeConte Memorial Lodge for decades. In May, 2006, they were refurbished by volunteer Exhibits creator George Pettit, adding identifying information for each photo.

Joseph LeConte in Yosemite Historical Display

Centennial Wildflower Display

As a special Centennial project, the Sierra Club prepared a Wildflower Exhibit to digitally re-create in 2004 the original 1907 wildflower show held at the LeConte Memorial Lodge. This was on exhibit between 2004 and 2009.

Muir, Earth and Turtles All the Way Down, Decorative Art by George Pettit

Muir, Earth, and Turtles All the Way Down

Muir, Earth, and Turtles All the Way Down Decorative Art by George Pettit
(Off-site link)

This view of John Muir, the Earth, and turtles all the way down, crowns the top of our four-sided bulletin board which features news and events of interest to LeConte visitors.

Information and Donations

For more information, during the summer contact Sierra Club LeConte Memorial Lodges Curator, P.O. Box 755, Yosemite, CA 95389, 1-209-372-4542; e-mail:

During the winter, contact LeConte Lodge Committee Chair, Harold Wood, P.O. Box 3543, Visalia, CA 93278; phone: (559) 697-3525; e-mail:

Help us keep the Sierra Club's oldest public outreach and education program in Yosemite National Park. We need to continue the Sierra Club's legacy at the Heritage Center and the time has come to raise funds for the program and ensure its existence for future generations. To start, we need to raise $90,000 by October 1, 2016 to fully fund operations for fiscal year 2017. (See Fundraising Fact Sheet) (PDF)

Please make a tax deductible donation to preserve the Sierra Club home in Yosemite National Park!

  • Make an online donation using our secure web form; or
  • Write a check payable to "Sierra Club Foundation," marked "restricted for the LeConte Memorial Fund." Please send to: Sierra Club Foundation, 2101 Webster St., Suite 1250, Oakland, CA 94612.

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