Did you know that the state of Nevada has more than 100 museums? Some of them are well known and often visited; others are a little off the beaten path, but are definitely worth checking out. Below are five that you should visit if you want to learn about the rich heritage of the state and see some unique, eye-catching exhibits.
Nevada State Railroad Museum
The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City1 aims to teach its patrons about the history of railroads in the state. It features a collection of locomotives, rolling stock, artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia related to Nevada railroads and the work associated with them. In addition to static exhibits, the museum has equipment that is restored and operated at different times of the year to teach visitors about steam and early gasoline technology, while providing them with “a first-hand experience with railroad history.” Visitors can also ride on a restored train, making the museum a perfect stop for families with young children.
Hawthorne Ordnance Museum
If you’ve ever passed Hawthorne on the long drive between northern and southern Nevada, you’ve probably wondered about all the bunkers surrounding the town. In fact, Hawthorne Army Depot covers 226 square miles and has 600,000 square feet of storage space for ammunition. Find out more about the Depot by making a stop to visit the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum.2 In addition to exhibits of ammunition, vintage military uniforms, photographs, and memorabilia, the museum contains fascinating information about the community of Hawthorne itself. The combination of patriotism and value (admission is free) makes this museum one you should include in your travel plans.
Lost City Museum
The Lost City Museum in Overton3 features collections of artifacts recovered from archaeological sites along the Muddy River Valley in southern Nevada. The sites, collectively known as Pueblo Grande de Nevada, are recognized as belonging to the Ancestral Puebloan civilization. The 10,000-square-foot museum building features three exhibit galleries as well as a small theater, a research library, and a museum store. Outside the building, archaeological and historic exhibits offer a close-up view of how these ancient Nevada residents lived and worked. The museum also hosts ongoing archaeological research on Lost City sites, workshops, school tours, and outreach programs.
National Automobile Museum
Named one of America’s Five Greatest Automobile Museums by Autoweek Magazine, the National Automobile Museum in Reno4 has a collection of more than 200 vehicles, including vintage, classic, and special interest vehicles as well as “one-of-a-kind wonders,” dynamic race cars, and what the museum calls “one of the finest Horseless Carriage collections in the world.” Most cars come from the collection of Bill Harrah, founder of Harrah’s Hotel and Casinos. The museum features cars set in authentic street scenes representing different periods of time, starting with the turn of the 20th century. There are galleries of cars and memorabilia, audio and guided tours, storyboards, theatre presentations, and special exhibits that change throughout the year.
Historic 4th Ward School
The Historic 4th Ward School5 in Virginia City informs visitors about the relevance and importance of Comstock mining in Nevada. Permanent exhibits include a historical overview of the Comstock region and a display dedicated to Mark Twain, Virginia City’s most famous resident. The elegant Victorian structure, which stands four stories tall, had accommodations for more than 1,000 students when it opened in 1876. It offers visitors a glimpse into how students were educated in the past, with a preserved 1870s classroom, alumni photographs, and memorabilia. The school makes for yet another unique stop on your Nevada museum tour.
While these five museums are well worth your time, Nevada offers many more that are certainly worth checking out. Go to NevadaMuseums.org6 to find more museums in your area, or plan a detour on your next road trip to visit a museum that’s just waiting to be discovered.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.
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