Established in 1904, the Nevada Historical Society is a museum based at the University of Nevada, Reno campus, and is the oldest museum in the Silver State. The Museum features an extensive collection of artifacts, papers, photographs and documents that chronicle the history of Nevada, ranging from the prehistoric people who inhabited the region to the arrival of white settlers and development of society here.
The collection tells the story of mining and gambling in the area, and how they influenced the economy of the region and society as a whole. The Nevada Historical Society features a selection of permanent and temporary exhibits and programs, housed in the Changing Gallery, Hallway Gallery and Conference Room that include exhibits on the history of Reno and the state of Nevada and rotating presentations on various topics related to the region’s heritage. Presentations cover issues such as the region’s casinos and gambling, early saloons, boxing, ranching, atomic testing, stagecoaches and freight wagons, railroading, ghost towns, the Carson Mint, and the Hoover Dam. The Museum is also home to a variety of educational and research departments, including a Research Library, an Artifact Department, a Photography Department, and a Manuscript Department.
The Nevada Historical Society was founded in 1094 by Jeanne Elizabeth Wier, Professor of History and Political Science at Stanford University in California. Deeply involved with the women’s suffrage movement in the state, Wier led the Nevada Historical Society until her death in 1950. During her time, Weir established the Society’s structure and primary activities, developed its extensive research library and museum collections, as well as a program for publishing historical documents and writings.
Exhibits / Collections
The Nevada Historical Society features a selection of permanent and temporary exhibits that illustrate the history of Nevada and Reno.
Exhibits in the permanent gallery that tell the story of Reno’s history include ‘The Biggest Little City in the World’, ‘Tough Little Town on the Truckee’,’ Reno Noir: 20th Century Sin City’ , ‘On the Road Again: Travel and Tourism in the Biggest Little City’, ‘Every Day Reno: People, Places and Things’, and ‘Modern Reno: The Future is Now,’
Works in the permanent gallery that tell the story of Nevada’s history include five compelling stories about life in Nevada, ranging from gambling to mining. ‘Living on Land’ tells the story about the lives of the American Indians in the region dating back 10,000 years; ‘Riches from the Earth’ highlights the mineral exploits of Nevada’s mining industry; ‘Passing Through’ chronicles the movement of human beings in Nevada and the surrounding region through time from ancient migration routes and pioneering trails to today’s modern highways. ‘Neon Nights’ showcases the cultural, commercial, and entertainment history of the state, while ‘Federal Presence’ takes an in-depth look at the impacts of actions and policies of the United States Government.
The Dat-So-La-Lee Collection features a priceless collection of woven baskets that have been handcrafted by world-famous Washoe artist Dat-So-La-Lee. The Reno Gallery features works that showcase the community’s more vibrant lifestyle choices from boxing and legalizing gambling and the colorful characters who called it home. The American Gaming Archives uncovers the true story of the gaming culture and features some of the world’s best collections of gambling manufacturers’ material.
The Nevada Historical Society offers a variety of educational and community outreach programs for adults and scholars, including guided, docent-led tours of the Museum, which need to be pre-booked and run from Tuesday through Saturday during Museum opening hours.
The Nevada Historical Society is located at the north end of the University of Nevada, Reno campus, 1650 North Virginia Street and is open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. The Research Library is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 am to 4:00 pm and admission is free for museum members. The Museum Store is open during Museum hours and sells a range of exhibit-related books, clothing, gifts, and souvenirs.
1650 North Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89503, Phone: 775-688-1190