Museums in Lake Tahoe

Museums in Lake Tahoe

Browse through these historic museums in Lake Tahoe


Western SkiSport Museum

Best museums in Lake Tahoe

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Historic Lake Tahoe Museums

Check Out These Two Historic Lake Tahoe Museums and Learn a Little About Tahoe's History.

  • 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

Learn Some Interesting Lake Tahoe History at the Nevada Railroad Museum

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More Lake Tahoe museums

Truckee and Tahoe City are Older Lake Tahoe Cities with Interesting Backgrounds.

  • 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

A Visit to the Old Truckee Jail Museum is One of the More Fun Lake Tahoe Activities for the Family

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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. 

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Tahoe's Best Travel Info
South Shore (CA)

Explore Summer Homes Of Wealthy Families From The Early 1900's.

Address: Heritage Way and Highway 89 South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
South Shore (CA)

Vikingsholm Castle Lake Tahoe Nestled in Majestic Beauty

Address: 11001 W Lake Blvd Tahoma, CA 96142
North & West Shore (CA)

Ehrman Mansion Lake Tahoe Is The 1903 Historical Estate Of A Wealthy San Franciscan.

Address: 7595 West Lake Boulevard Tahoma, CA 96142
North & West Shore (CA)

The Gatekeeper's Cabin Museum is a Lake Tahoe Time Capsule.

Address: 130 West Lake Boulevard Tahoe City, CA 96145
North & West Shore (CA)

North Lake Tahoe Historical Society Keeping Tahoe's History Alive!

Address: PO Box 6141 Tahoe City, CA 96145
Truckee / Donner

Learn About Skiing History At Western SkiSport Museum.

Address: Auburn Ski Club (Castle Peak Exit I-80) Soda Springs, CA 95728
North Shore (NV) / Incline & Crystal Bay

Learn About This Historic Vocational School For American Indian Children.

Address: 5500 Snyder Avenue Carson City, NV 89701
North Shore (NV) / Incline & Crystal Bay

Ride The Train With Your Family!

Address: 2180 South Carson Street Carson City, NV 89701

Learn Loads Upon Loads at the Nevada State Museum!

Address: 600 North Carson Street Carson City, NV 89701
North & West Shore (CA)

Look Inside The Historic Home Of Robert M. Watson And His Son.

Address: 560 North Lake Boulevard Tahoe City, CA 96145
Truckee / Donner

Don't Get Locked Up At The Old Truckee Jail Museum!

Address: 10142 Jibboom Street Truckee, CA 96160
Truckee / Donner

Wander Around The Wild Wild West.

Address: Jibboom Street Truckee, CA 96161

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.