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 32 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
The only accredited art museum in the state, the Nevada Museum of Art is a private, non-profit organization that serves as a cultural and educational resource for everyone. Through creative programming and scholarship, the Museum provides the opportunity for people to encounter, engage and enjoy a diversity of art experiences. Exhibitions include works from the Museum’s permanent collections spanning nineteenth through twenty-first century art, traveling exhibitions from across the globe, and artwork by emerging artists.
HOURS: The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm, late on Thursdays until 8 pm. The galleries, Museum Store and Café Musée are closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and national holidays. Admission is FREE for members, $10 General Admission, $8 Student / Senior, $1 children 6 to 12 years and free for children 5 and under. Museum Membership starts at just $30.
LOCATION: 160 W. Liberty St, downtown Reno
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Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum, Carson City, engages diverse audiences in understanding and celebrating Nevada's natural and cultural heritage.
Take a walk through time at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City. Your first step brings you into the former Carson City Mint building where coins were minted from 1870 to 1893 - - 57 issues of silver, all bearing the distinguishing "CC" mint mark. On display is the formidable Coin Press No. 1 and a complete set of Carson City Morgan dollars.
Nevada's Changing Earth Exhibit explores the state's geologic history from 1,750 million years ago to 40 million years ago. The story is told through the use of original illustrations together with rock specimens and field photographs, as well as a walk-through Devonian Sea.
Visit America's largest exhibited Columbian mammoth found in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, reconstructed in his death scene fight for life in a small, mud-glazed water hole.
Explore Under One Sky, a Native American exhibit from their perspective and in their own words. Find out when humans first occupied the Nevada portion of the Great Basin, the natural foods they collected and the skills they used for survival. See a reconstruction of a Great Basin cave containing evidence of past cultures and climate.
The Nevada State Museum is proud to host the exhibit Slot Machines: The Fey Collection which highlights machines by the renowned designer Charles August Fey.
Be sure to see the USS Nevada Battleship silver service fashioned from 5,000 ounces (417 pounds troy weight) of silver from the deep shafts of the Tonopah mines and lined with gold from Goldfield.
Walk through a timeline of Nevada history. Take a tour of the famous underground mine. Meet some of Nevada's seldom seen creatures -- the Desert Bighorn, Desert Tortoise, Black Bear, Great Basin Rattlesnake, and Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. Just a few blocks south of the museum at Carson Street, you can go to the State Capitol.
The Nevada Discovery Museum
Kids, those fearless little life-artists, those wide-eyed detectives of wonder, those incandescent improvisers who seize even the smallest objects and ideas and transform them into epic expressions of wow. The Nevada Discovery Museum believes in them. That's why we built a life laboratory just for them. The Nevada Discovery Museum is an exuberant place for kids to experience the amazements of our region while forging lasting friendships with nature, science, art and society.
Location: 490 S. Center Street, Reno, NV 89501
National Automobile Museum
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.
Silver State National Peace Officers Museum
The Silver State National Peace Officers Museum is located in historic Virginia City, Nevada. With a spectacular collection of United States law enforcement artifacts dating back to 1784 and situated within the County Courthouse and 1876 jail, the museum offers visitors a magnificent walk back in time and a fun opportunity for the entire family. Features include a Hall of History, Kid's Station, Nevada Officers Memorial Room, and a gift shop. Visitors will also enjoy great photo opportuities.
The museum is open daily from 11:00 to 5:00 from May 1st through October 31st.
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.