Six Must-See Museums in Reno-Tahoe to Visit this Spring
When it comes to exploring unique history and diverse culture, nobody does it better than the Reno-Tahoe Territory. From the Comstock Lode in Virginia City to the Pony Express in Lake Tahoe, there’s always something to discover.
Uncover the history and heritage of the Reno-Tahoe Territory by visiting one of the many educational and interactive museums. With more than 50 museums, cultural attractions and cultural activities to choose from, you’ll be amazed at the vast history and activities offered in the region. These are five museums you’ll want to add to your spring bucket list.
National Automobile Museum in Reno-Sparks
If there’s something about Reno-Sparks that stands out, it’s the city’s love for classic cars. The city even hosts an annual event where car owners show off their classic rides! No other antique allows you to immerse yourself in the time period in which the object was built, and you can see over 224 vehicles on display for yourself at the National Automobile Museum. Opened in 1989, the National Automobile Museum contributes to the cultural and educational liveliness of the Reno community. The museum features theatre presentations, audio tours, special exhibits and a museum store. It’s a must!
Douglas County Historical Society in Carson Valley
If you’re looking to experience all sorts of interpretations of Native American culture and early emigrant life, the Douglas County Historical Society is for you. The society operates two museums: The Courthouse Museum and Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center. Located in Genoa, Nevada, the Courthouse Museum reflects the development of early pioneer towns and showcases historic documents of value. The museum opens in June for the summer season. The Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center, located in Gardnerville, is a great museum to discover the history of urban development and Native American Culture.
Nevada State Museum in Carson City
The Nevada State Museum presents a unique and authentic educational experience about what makes the Silver State so special. Inside the museum, you’ll find the former Carson City Mint building where coins were minted from 1870 to 1893, over 300 examples of rocks and minerals from Nevada and the western U.S., the original USS Nevada Battleship and many other significant objects on display. Take home a unique gift, t-shirt, jewelry or book from their Nevada State Museum Store.
Historic Fourth Ward School Museum in Virginia City
One of the most important discoveries in American history is the Comstock Lode in Nevada, and you can step back in time and learn all about it at the Historic Fourth Ward School Museum in Virginia City. Sit in the same wooden desks as students from 1876 to 1936 while learning about Mark Twain’s life, letter press printing, Comstock mining and more of Virginia City’s history. The Historic Fourth Ward School and Museum opens in May for the summer season.
UC Davis Environmental Research Center in Incline Village
In Incline Village on Lake Tahoe’s north shore, the UC Davis Environmental Research Center offers visitors a place to explore interactive exhibits, learn about the lake’s ecosystem and how they can help keep Tahoe blue. The research center is a fully operating research center with the goal of gaining a better scientific understanding of a healthy aquatic ecosystem and educating the community and visitors on how to do their part. Due to coronavirus, the visitor center is closed to the public until further notice, but they’re offering some great online and virtual tours here.
Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society in North Lake Tahoe
Also known as the “Castle in the Sky,” the Thunderbird Lodge offers visitors a docent-guided tour of this impressive stone mansion, once home to George Whittell, Jr. In the boathouse, find the world famous Thunderbird Yacht, a gorgeous 1939 speedboat.
Tours of the mansion offer breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe, the nearby mountains and stories of the enigmatic man who lived in the house for many years. The house and gardens are open for tours May through October. Learn more here.