Powell was named after John Wesley Powell, the United States Explorer and Engineer who master-minded the Rocky Mountain dam system. The town became the center of the Bureau of Reclamation's 1904 historic Shoshone Irrigation Project, which was one of the first federally funded irrigation and homesteading projects in the Rocky Mountain West. The last homestead drawings began after WWII when the Japanese American Heart Mountain Relocation Center closed in 1946. Land was available until 1950, making the Shoshone Project one of the longest homesteading projects in history.
The Homesteader Museum celebrates this rich 50 year history through thousands of artifacts, historic buildings and photographs depicting the domestic, entrepreneurial and rugged homesteading life of the early Big Horn Basin pioneer.