No visit to Goulding’s Lodge is complete until you have experienced Goulding’s Trading Post Museum. Opened in 1989, the museum is both a showcase of varied artifacts and a glimpse into a bygone era. Goulding’s Lodge is not just a famous locale for Old West movies, but is also steeped in a rich history of trading, tourism, and culture as well. The museum is open to all visitors, whether staying at Goulding’s or not. Admission is on a donation basis; donations provide for college scholarships for local high school graduates each spring.
Goulding’s Trading Post Museum is comprised of several different areas. The first is the ‘Trading Post Bull Pen’, which was the heart of the trading post back in its glory days. Basically a small ‘show room’, the locals would bring their goods in to ‘trade’ for items available such as kitchen wares, canned goods, material and threads, and even guns. Many items such as the old scales are original.
The next section of the museum is the ‘Ware Room’, which was just that during the trading post era. Surplus and supplies filled this room: bags of raw wool, crates of coffee, and saddles were stored here. Today the Ware Room is filled with photographs of the early days at Goulding’s, and also pictures of local Navajos from the 20th Century. Display cases offer guests the chance to see historical pottery and other crafts from a variety of Native American Tribes.
The ‘Josef Muench Room’ boasts a variety of artwork and photography, principally, that of famous photographer and close Goulding friend, Josef Muench. It was Muench’s photos that Harry Goulding caught director John Ford’s eye with. A sampling of the Goulding’s jewelry is displayed in this room, as well as some of their most personal items, such as their wedding certificate.
The ‘Movie Room’ was originally built as the mess hall for the crew of ‘The Harvey Girls’; today it is filled with movie stills, call sheets, posters and other items from the Golden Age of movies. Always playing in the Movie Room is a classic John Ford – John Wayne film. Also of interest in this room is a detailed topographical map of the Monument Valley area, where one can identify different movie locations.
The ‘Living Quarters’ is upstairs and has been restored as closely as possible to how the Goulding’s home appeared in the late 1940’s and early 50’s. After Mike Goulding’s passing in 1992, the Living Quarters was filled with many of the Goulding’s personal belongings. Though a simple layout, this living space was warm, comfortable, and inviting, a tribute to both Goulding’s and their commitment to personal hospitality.
‘Captain Nathan Brittles’ Cabin’, also called ‘John Wayne’s Cabin’, is located just behind the museum. In actuality, it was Mike Goulding’s potato cellar, where she stored her fruits, vegetables, and other perishables. When ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ was filmed here in 1949 by director John Ford, this structure was used for exterior shots only as the personal quarters for the Cavalry Post’s commanding officer, played by Wayne. All interior shots were filmed at Hollywood studios. A mock up of the Hollywood set is to be seen inside the cabin, as well as a vast array of still shots from ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’.
Goulding’s Trading Post Museum’s mission is to enlighten and entertain each guest with insights into a way of life that is quickly passing into memory, and to also educate visitors to appreciate and respect the local Navajo and their way of life. Goulding’s commitment to generating college scholarships through donations is one way we carry on the Goulding’s love for Monument Valley, its people, and its many visitors.