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:
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 Chez Louie 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
The Nevada State Museum engages diverse audiences in understanding and celebrating Nevada'snatural and cultural heritage. 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. Visit America's largest exhibited Columbian mammoth found in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. 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. 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.
Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Location: 600 North Carson Street-Carson City, NV89701
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.
Hours: Closed Mondays. Open Tuesday 10:00am – 5:00pm, Wednesday 9:00am – 8:00pm, Thursday – Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm, Sunday Noon – 5:00pm.
Location: 490 S. Center Street- Reno, NV 89501
Don’t miss “One of America’s Five Greatest Auto Museums.” The National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection) has a “Wow!” factor you don’t often find in a museum. You’ll see more than 200 eye-popping cars, and authentic street scenes. The facades bring displays to life; a department store here, a movie theatre there which accompany artifacts from each era. Audio tours in English and Spanish included in your admission price let you explore the museum at your own pace. It’s located on the corner of Lake and Mill Streets in downtown Reno with plenty of free parking.
Hours: The museum is open Mon. - Sat. from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm and Sun. from 10 am to 4 pm.
Location: 10 South Lake Street-Reno, NV 89501
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.
Hours: Open May 1 – October 31, 10 am -5 pm daily.
Location: 537 South “C” Street- Virginia City, NV 89440
The Wilbur D. May Museum 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.
Hours: Closed Monday-Tuesday. Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am - 4:00pm. Sunday Noon - 4:00pm.
Location: 1595 N. Sierra Street- Reno, NV 89503
The oldest cultural institution in the state, the Nevada Historical Society is a state museum and research library that serves as a cultural, historical and educational resource for all. The museum provides educational galleries, school and adult tours, engaging programs, and diverse exhibitions and the library is the home to the largest repository in the State for photographs, manuscripts, library, maps and ephemera and the state's bound newspapers.
Hours: The Museum and Museum store are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4:30 pm. The Research Library is open Wednesday through Saturday, 12 pm to 4 pm. The Society is closed Sunday and Monday, state and national holidays.
Admission is FREE for members and children 17 years and younger. $5 Admission fee for the Museum and FREE to visit the Research Library. Museum Memberships start at $20 for Seniors and $35 for Individuals. One of the membership benefits includes our academic publication, the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, not available at the Student and Senior levels. Members get unlimited free admission to all seven state museums; receive a 15% discount in the museum stores and a 50% discount on train rides. The following state museums are the Nevada State Railroad Museum, Lost City Museum, Boulder City Railroad Museum, Nevada State Museum - CC, East Ely Railroad Depot Museum, and the Nevada State Museum - LV.
Location: 1650 N. Virginia St, on the UNR Campus, Reno
The Children's Museum of Northern Nevada is dedicated to providing education and entertainment to children ages 2 and up and families. They believe in the value of play. Children learn the wonder of science, art and everyday life skills as they explore, create and share with others. The CMNN is a play-based learning environment for the whole family to experience together.
Hours: Open everyday 10am – 4:30pm.
Location: 813 N. Carson Street- Carson City, NV 89701
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.
Hours: The museum is open daily from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm from May 1st through October 31st.
Location: 26 South B Street- Virginia City, NV 89440
The Nevada State Railroad Museum 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.
Hours: Closed Tuesday-Wednesday. Thursday-Monday 9:00 am - 4:30 pm.
Location: 2180 S. Carson Street- Carson City, NV 89701