Located in Tahoe City, California, the Tahoe Maritime Museum aims to foster an environment which preserves and presents the rich, vast maritime history of Lake Tahoe. Visitors can expect to find thousands of artifacts, including a variety of antique boats, and lots of exiting exhibitions at this world-class maritime history museum.


The Tahoe Maritime Museum was founded in 1987 with the mission of preserving and presenting the maritime history of the Lake Tahoe area. Although it took almost 10 years for the museum to officially establish a location and open its doors to the public. The Museum was initially a seasonal display during the summer of 1999 at the Sugar Pine Point State Park.

Eventually, the museum grew in staff, artifacts, and popularity. It outgrew its location in Homewood, California at the Homeside Motel and began taking steps to establish a permanent location. That dream became a reality in 2008 when the Museum opened a 5,800-square foot building in place of where the hotel used to stand.

In 2015, the museum was again ready to expand which resulted in the purchase of the neighboring Tahoe Tree Company. The museum is currently involved in its expansion project with the hopes of turning the entire campus into a fun destination for the entire family complete with a nature park, a sculpture garden, a bat shop, a gallery building, and a storage facility.

Upcoming Exhibits:

Ink and Ivory: This exhibition is on display at the museum until April 30, 2018 and features two nautical traditions – tattooing and scrimshaw. This exhibit will be colorful and showcase the intricate designs that were popularly carved onto bone ivory and other objects. These pieces present stories about the laws, regulations, and environmental impact of the time. Tattoos were a very popular tradition among sailors, they were meant to bring luck and provide evidence of where they have traveled, and provide tribute to their wives back home. Tattoos of the modern day will also be features to showcase the tradition of Tahoe and the connection that many people feel to the area and its tradition.

What’s in a Name: This exhibition is on display at the museum until April 30, 2018 and features the historical importance of naming a boat. This exhibition will explore the intricate stories behind the names of many historical boats in its collection. Some stories are filled with humor, others with complexity, and some with a dash of seriousness. Visitors can also expect to learn about why ships have historically taken on female personas.

Collection Highlights:

Watercraft Collection:This part of the museum’s collection features more than 30 vessels that have been salvaged between the 1890s and the 1960s. There are a wide range of vessels types including steamers, racing boats, leisure boats, and powerboats.

Engine Collection:This part of the museum’s collection features a variety of motors that have been donated to the museum or found in sheds or barns. A variety of engines are on display including a waterman Porto motor from 1907 and an Indian silver arrow from 1931.

Small Object and Archival Collection:This part of the museum’s collection features a wide variety of small objects and artifacts from all over the Lake Tahoe area. Racing photos, water skates, flags, and water skis are all found in this collection.

Upcoming Events:

The Lake Tahoe Museum updates its calendar monthly – please visit the museum’s website for more up-to-date information.


Educational Programs: The museum offers programs for both adults, children, and families year-round. After school programs are available include story time for children ages 3-5 and field trips. Families are welcome to join the museum for courses on stand-up paddle boarding, boating safety, and an introduction to fly fishing. There is also a lecture series that hosts maritime history speakers and these lectures are free and open to the public. Educational tours are also hosted year-round with maritime history experts. For more information about educational programs, visit the museum’s website.

Summer Boat Ride Program: The museum offers an annual summer boat ride tour and educational program through the months of July and August. Visitors will get a chance to ride the featured boat of the year for half an hour on Lake Tahoe. There are many great benefits to this program and spots fill up fast! Last year’s boat was named Star Dust, one of the most popular boat in the region.

Additional Information:

Tahoe Maritime Center, 401 West Lake Blvd. Tahoe City, CA 96145, Phone: 530-583-9283

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