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Museums and Historic Parks


Emigrant Trail Museum

Located on the campsite of the Donner Wagon Party
12593 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA (or P.O. Box 9210) Truckee 95737
Phone 530-587-3841.

Please call for days and hours open. Fee to Enter.
Exhibits on railroad logging, dioramas on Indian and westward movement, pioneer tools, Indian artifacts, logging tractor and wagons, trapping items. Tours, docent program, gift shop.

Firehouse No. 1 Historic Museum

214 Main St, Nevada City. 
Phone 530-265-5468 for days and hours open.
Current Summer hours Open: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturnday, Sunday
  1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Opens May 1 for Summer Season.

Donations requested.
Collection of Nevada County 19th Century artifacts and memorabilia, a Chinese Joss House, Maidu Indian artifacts, Donner Party artifacts, and other displays including tools, medical instruments, military uniforms, clothing & accessories, household itmes and toys. Original firehouse, Firehouse NO. 1 is the most photographed and artistically painted in Nevada City. Volunteer staff docents provided by Nevada County Historical Society.

Grass Valley Museum--St. Joseph's Cultural Center

410 S. Church St, Grass Valley
Phone (530) 273-5509 for tours, days and hours open.
Donations requested.

Part of the old Mount Saint Mary's Convent and Academy. Numerous
displays relating early Grass Valley and Nevada County history including
a replica of a doctor's office, a classroom of the 1870s, antique furniture
and paintings. Outside is an heirloom rose garden.

Historic Nevada County Courthouse

201 Church St, Nevada City.
This historic, award winning art deco government building has several collections including a display of rare firearms, the Heritage of Gold Rush Era exhibit, state fair trophies, and Wallace M. Gordon heirlooms.

Lola Montez House

248 Mill Street, Grass Valley

Lotta Crabtree House

Mill Street, Grass Valley
(near Lola Montez house, above).

Miners Foundry Cultural Center>

325 Spring St, Nevada City.
Birthplace of the pelton wheel, display of state historic landmarks in manufacturing metal products for mines and other businesses, and outside displays of mining tools, machinery, an ore car, and a pelton wheel. Docent led tours by request.

North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center

17894 Tyler Foote Crossing Road, Nevada City.
Special exhibits change periodically.

North Star Mining Museum

Allison Ranch Rd at Mc Courtney Rd, Grass Valley
Phone (530) 273-4255
Please call for days and hours open. Large displays of mining equipment, artifacts and memorabilia. Gift shop.

Western America Skisport Museum

Boreal Ridge Ski Area, Donner Pass
P.O. Box 729, Soda Springs, CA 95728
Phone (530) 426-3313
Free admission.
Please call for days and hours open.

This is a sports history museum with a memorial to Snow-Shoe Thompson, memorabilia from the Western North America Skisport Hall of Fame, ski history and manuscript collections. One of the best collections of antique ski/snowshoe equipment.

State Parks
Empire Mine State Historic Park

10791 Empire Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945
Phone (530) 273-9853.
Please call for days and hours open.

Oldest and richest hard rock mine in California, which yielded 5.8 million ounces of gold before it closed in 1956. Park includes a mine shaft, mine yard, scale model of mine, and a machine shop.

Tours of the historic Bourn Cottage and gardens, walk down into a mine shaft, view a mine history film, displays, docent programs, gift shop.

For those searching in the Grass Valley area who have information that their ancestor was employed by the Empire Mine, this is a good place to start your research. Photographs of employees from 1930 are available with a name index and reference numbers. Transcripts of interviews and historical information from the local libraries also available. It is necessary to complete a form with the information on the ancestor you are seeking. This form is only available from the Visitors Center at the park. The form is then submitted and a committee will review it and let you know when you can come in to view the photographs and other information on your ancestor. All of this employee information belongs to the Park Association and not the State Park Department.

Malakoff Diggins State Park

23579 North Bloomfield Road, Nevada City CA 95959
Phone (530) 265-2740
Please call for days and hours open.
Fee to Enter.

About 26 miles northeast of Nevada City. Once California's largest hydraulic mining operations, the North Bloomfield Museum has extensive exhibits and several restored buildings. Only steep cliffs remain where huge monitors once directed streams of water over the hillsides to wash down the gravel with its mineral content. Good hiking trails, camping, cabins, picnic tables, and tours available.

Hwy 49 for 10 miles to Tyler-Foote Crossing Road, then 16 miles to the park.


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This page last updated: 4 July 2015

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