Reno-Tahoe is more than a basecamp for outdoor adventure or a hub for casino gaming. The region also boasts a rich history from its Native American roots to its foundation during the frontier days of the western expansion.
Today, ties to the past are reflected in many of the region’s 31 museums, while an active community of enthusiasts continues to position Reno-Tahoe on the cutting edge of art. Here’s a sample of the area’s diverse offerings:
- Nevada Museum of Art
Divided into five focus areas, the permanent collection of the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, consists of over 1,900 works of art organized around the general themes of land and environment. The museum also features traveling exhibitions.
- Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum, Carson City, engages diverse audiences in understanding and celebrating Nevada’s natural and cultural heritage. Exhibits include a replica walk-through mine and ghost town, the Carson City Mint, and Native American displays.
- National Automobile Museum
The National Automobile Museum, Reno, displays approximately 175 cars, many of which came from gaming magnate William F. Harrah’s famous collection. The collection’s stars include the 1907 Thomas Flyer, winner of the 1908 New York to Paris race. Other vehicles appear in rotation on the museum’s “streets” in three galleries.
- Fourth Ward School Museum
Abandoned to the elements, the Fourth Ward School, Virginia City, seemed doomed until it was resurrected in 1986, 50 years after the school closed its doors. Since that time hundreds of thousands of visitors have made their way to the school celebrate Virginia City’s glorious past as a frontier town during the gold and silver boom.
- Wilbur D. May Museum
The Wilbur D. May Museum, Reno, features the accumulated trinkets and treasures from more than 30 trips and safaris the eccentric son of a department store magnate made in the 1920s and 1930s. Since May rarely collected just one of anything, cases are crammed with T’ang Dynasty animals and African masks; hundreds of Oriental miniatures, dozens of pistols and rifles. Gobelin tapestries and Navajo rugs are among objects decorating the walls.
- Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada
The Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada, Carson City, is dedicated to providing education and entertainment to children ages 2 and up and families through exhibits and programs that focus on the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities.
- Nevada State Railroad Museum
The Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City, preserves the railroad heritage of Nevada, including locomotives and cars of the famous Virginia and Truckee Railroad. Much of the museum equipment was obtained from Hollywood studios, where they were often featured in movies and television.
Museum activities consist of operation of historic railroad equipment, including train rides, handcar rides, lectures, an annual railroad history symposium, changing exhibits, and a variety of special events.
Click here for a complete Reno-Tahoe museum listings, or tell us about your favorite Reno-Tahoe museum in the comment section.