The state of Nevada is known for its beautiful natural wonders, expansive deserts, a long history of mining adventures and of course the glitzy cities like Las Vegas and Reno. Nevada is rich in history, from native cultures and rich mining history right up to the ever-changing landscape of the entertainment options in Las Vegas. These top 10 museums are as unique as each part of Nevada with a little sparkle thrown in for modern city lights.
Explore hundreds of miles of the mud mounds and the Ordovician fossils at the outdoor nature portion of this museum. Inside get a feel for what life was like for miners in the early 1900s and hear a local take on the legendary ghost towns of Nevada.
Douglas County is not a single museum but a network of local historical markers and landmarks. Each has rich ties to both native cultures and early boom towns. They offer a unique glimpse into some of the more interesting aspects of the Nevada history through “Haunted History” lectures, cemetery tours and ever-changing displays of local history from their vault of artifacts. Their locations include Carson Valley Museum, Museum Genoa and Courthouse.
This museum and the outside exhibits are an amazing way to explore the beauty that is the Nevada high desert. The Cactus Gardens and nature trails are a must-see part of this stop, along with native artifacts, exhibits about the indigenous animals of the desert, early settlements of Pahrump and fossils. The collection also contains examples of many of the minerals and rocks found in the area as well as a glimpse into the lives of early prospectors. For the very adventurous, there are classes to introduce even beginners to desert hiking.
Before the lights of Las Vegas, Searchlight was the boom town of Nevada. The museum gives you an up close and personal view of the rise and fall of a boom town that at one time produced 249,997 ounces of gold but would dwindled down to a population of 50.
Las Vegas is known worldwide for the bright lights and neon signs that keep the city alive 24/7. Paying tribute to some of the most noteworthy signs in Las Vegas, this museum offers both a self-guided walking tour of its collection of retired historical signs as well as guided tours from the early days to present flashy Sin City.
The Hoover Dam is a must-see destination in Nevada and the dedicated museum adds to the experience. Visitors can explore the building of the dam, the science behind the design as well as hands on exhibits for the entire family. One of the most unique parts of the museum is that it allows visitors to explore life during the building of the dam from the perspective of the builders, their spouses and even the children living in the desert extremes.
The history of Las Vegas has often been romanticized but there is also a darker side to the focus on gambling and creating wealth by any means possible. The mob ties and organized crime is explored in the hands and interactive stories told from the comfort of what was once an active courthouse in old Las Vegas. Many of the trials for the few organized crimes that went to trial in Nevada would pass through this courthouse.
The gem of central Nevada, the museum has been voted the best museum of the area because it combines indoor and outdoor exhibits that take the visitors from prehistoric fossils and native history all the way through ghostly mining towns. The end of this adventure touches on modern landscapes that combine the beauty of the desert with recent development.
Housed in the oldest school structure in Nevada, this small museum gives a unique glimpse of life in a mining town during the gold rush and local boom. This includes mining activities, the development of the local railroad and early settlement. Beyond the school house that holds the main collection, there is also a railroad depot in town that is being restored to add to the history.
Housed in one of the major hotels on the Las Vegas strip, this art space is playfully called the place where fine art takes a vacation. Many visitors return often as the traveling art works can range from Warhol and Picasso to Faberge. The traveling installations give visitors the chance to see famous works you often only read about it history books.