Museums in Lake Tahoe
Museums in Lake Tahoe
Browse through these historic museums in Lake Tahoe
Western SkiSport Museum...Click here for more
Historic Lake Tahoe Museums
- Western SkiSport Museum: One of the most unique Lake Tahoe museums is the western SkiSport museum which offers a glimpse into the interesting story and history of skiing and ski jumping. This museum was founded in 1969 by the Auburn Ski Club. Skiing was at first considered a courageous sport only attempted by the brave but as it grew in popularity, and more ski clubs popped up on California’s snowy mountains. Some of the exhibits featured at Western SkiSport Museum include California Gold Camps and the Longboard skiers, 10th Mountain Division Ski Troops of WWII, Yosemite Winter Club, Sun Valley and Alta Ski Area, U.S. Ski Team and Olympic history, 1960 Winter Olympic Games, Ski Jumpers of the 1930’s and 40’s and more.
- Nevada State Railroad Museum: Located in Carson City, this museum preserves more than 60 historic locomotives and freight trains. Throughout the years many have been bought from Hollywood and featured in cinematic films and TV shows. Visitors to this museum can enjoy an afternoon filled with locomotive exhibits, facts, train rides and special events. The Nevada State Railroad Museum even allows adults to train to be train conductors for a day. The “Your Hand is on the Throttle” program includes an operations manual, hat and gloves, one hour instruction and one hour locomotive operation. Participants will also leave with an “Honorary NSRM Engineer” Certificate.
Nevada Railroad Museum...Click here for more
More Lake Tahoe museums
- Gatekeeper’s Cabin Museum: This museum located in Tahoe City boasts beautiful waterfront views of the Truckee River. The original Watson’s cabin was built by Robert Montgomery Watson and was home to the water master, who controlled the water flow out of Lake Tahoe. But an arson fire in the 1980s forced the community to reconstruct the building. Now, the Gatekeeper’s Cabin Museum is home to hundreds of ancient artifacts including Native American baskets, photographs, clothing, maps and newspapers.
- Watson Cabin Living Museum: The Watson Cabin, which was built in 1909, is one of the oldest preserved buildings in Lake Tahoe. Also built by Robert Montgomery Watson, this home was one of the first to have indoor plumbing in Tahoe City. This quaint two-story log cabin was home to his son Robert Watson and his family. The Watson Cabin Living Museum, along with the Gatekeeper’s Cabin Museum, is only open to the public on weekends during the Summer.
- Old Truckee Jail Museum: At first sight the Old Truckee Jail may seem like any other museum. But imagine just decades ago, this building house the rowdiest criminals of the West. This two-story jailhouse was built tough with 32-inches thick brick walls, two-inch steel bars, no windows and the doors were built of riveted steel and weighed 200 pounds each. Today the Old Truckee Jail Museum serves as a museum and houses a variety of local artifacts and photographs of Lake Tahoe’s history.
Old Truckee Jail Museum...Click here for more
One of the most prominent pieces of Lake Tahoe history is the Donner Party tragedy. During America’s westward expansion period, a large group of settlers navigated their way through hundreds of miles of rough mountainous and plain terrain to reach California. But on the last leg of their journey the Donner Party, which also included small children, was forced to seek refuge in the Sierra Mountains during a harsh winter storm. As their food supply quickly diminished, some were forced to resort to cannibalism to survive.
There are several Museums in Lake Tahoe to choose from including the Watson Cabin Living Museum, Gatekeeper’s Cabin Museum, Old Truckee Jail Museum, Western Skisport Museum and the Nevada State Railroad Museum. Each museum hosts a part of Lake Tahoe history and features its own ancient and original artifacts.
Museums serve as modern day time capsules. A chance to travel back in time and imagine what life was like decades ago. Today it may be hard to imagine a life without technology, smart phones and the Internet, but many years ago the only form of communication was face-to-face. And the only form of travel was on horseback, wagon or by foot.
Museums in Lake Tahoe serve as a good way for local folks and visitors to get a glimpse of great western history. California’s history, as demonstrated in many Lake Tahoe museums, is rich with stories about western migration, the gold rush and American Indian culture.