- Bernhard Museum Complex
- Burton Creek State Park
- Carnegie Museum
- The Center for Sierra Nevada Studies
- Colfax Area Historical Society
- Foresthill Divide Historical Society and Museum
- Friends of the Auburn Library
- Friends of the Rocklin Library
- Gold Country Medical Museum
- Gold Country Museum
- Golden Drift Museum
- Griffith Quarry Museum
- Joss House Museum & Chinese History Center
- Loomis Basin Historical Society
- Maidu Museum and Historic Site
- North Lake Tahoe Historical Society
- Old Fruitvale School & Community Hall
- Placer County Genealogical Society
- Placer County Historical Society
- Placer County Library
- Placer County Museum
- Placer Nature Center
- Rocklin Historical Society
- Roseville Telephone Museum
- Sierra College Natural History Museum
- Sierra Nevada Virtual Museum
- South Placer Heritage Foundation
- STAR ECO Station
- Tahoe Maritime Museum
- Ward Creek (Park Property)
Photo Gallery (.mov)
101 Maple Street
Auburn, CA 95603
Phone: (530) 889-6500
The historic Bernhard Museum Complex has seen over 150 years of history roll by. The structure was built in 1851 by George Bishop and John Long as the Traveler’s Rest Hotel and is one of Auburn’s oldest surviving buildings. During the Gold Rush this rustic establishment hosted teamsters traveling the old Auburn Folsom Road and miners who were working in nearby Rich Flat.
In 1858, the building became the home of the George Bishop family. The house and 30 acres were sold at public auction to Eliza Caruthers in 1864 and in 1868 became the home of the Bernhard family. The Bernhard’s and their descendants lived here for nearly 100 years. Mr. Bernhard became a pioneer in the field of viticulture. Vines were planted, more land purchased, and in 1874 the two story stone winery was built.
Set on 2.3 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, the Bernhard Museum Complex includes the Bernhard residence, wine storage building, wine processing building, and a barn. Today, the residence is a Victorian era house museum, but there remain faint whispers from the structure’s Travelers Rest days.
The wine processing building contains artifacts pertaining to winemaking and barrel making. A hearse, sleigh, buggies, wagons, and blacksmithing equipment are on display in the barn. The ground floor of the wine storage building houses a commercial winery. The Bernhard Museum Complex is the site for the Placer County Museums’ Living History Program.
Tahoe City, CA
Phone: (530) 525-7232
Burton Creek State Park is located on the outskirts of Tahoe City. Six miles of unpaved roadway are available for hiking and cross-country skiing.
The Carnegie Museum is housed in Roseville's first permanent library. The building was constructed in 1912 with brick and terra cotta from Gladding McBean in nearby Lincoln, granite from Rocklin and Roseville labor on land donated by Roseville businessman A. B. McRae. This library, like many others built during the early part of the century, was funded in part by Andrew Carnegie. In 1979, Roseville moved its main library to a new location near Royer Park, and the building remained a branch library until 1982. The museum opened in 1988 after extensive restoration.
The Sierra Nevada is a tapestry rich in history and natural diversity. From the beginning, the Sierra Nevada has inspired and awed. Whether an individual's initial discovery was at the dawn of time or just a moment ago, the breathtaking majesty of the range has always stirred the soul and captivated the imagination.
Through public programs and activities, The Sierra College Center for Sierra Nevada Studies seeks to capture and characterize this remarkable land bathed in beauty and wonderment—this province of eternal sunrise and constant fascination called the Sierra Nevada.
Founded in 2002, The Center for Sierra Nevada Studies:
- Utilizes the resources of Sierra Community College to examine and celebrate the unique character of the Sierra Nevada and its region.
- Facilitates the exchange of information and ideas about the Sierra Nevada, with special emphasis on the Central Sierra and the counties within the Sierra Community College District.
- Unites the insights of the arts, the humanities, the sciences, and historical scholarship to study the traditions, culture and environment of the Sierra Nevada region.
- Informs the community about public policy and events to assist in understanding the past, in educating about the present and in helping to shape the future.
P.O. Box 185
Colfax, CA 95713
Phone: (530) 389-2549
The Colfax Area Historical Society maintains a Museum in the Old Depot Building and houses historical Archives in a rented room at the Sierra Vista Community Center. The society manages a growing collection of archival artifacts and makes these available for research. It also preserves and protects a collection of 7,500 glass negatives taken by Grace Hubley Jones, a successful commercial photographer of this area.
Among its collections are photographs of early Colfax families since the 1850 and the history of early buildings in Colfax. The Society has also registered three historical areas (Colfax Depot, TAPS building and the Cape Horn Overlook) as Historical Landmarks with the CA State Preservation Commission.
P.O. Box 646
Foresthill, CA 95631
Phone: (530) 367-3988
The Foresthill Divide Museum on Harrison Street offers many displays that give visitors a good idea of life on the Divide in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Exhibits include Gold Rush artifacts, a logging exhibit which includes a scale model of the lumber mill, educational displays on Native Americans, recreation and transportation as well as rotating exhibits and a computer "slide show". The museum is open from the middle of May through the middle of October on Saturdays, Sundays, and major holidays from noon to 4 p.m.
350 Nevada Street
Auburn, CA 95603
With a membership of over 400, Friends of Auburn Library is an active library supporter of the main branch of the Placer County Library system.
4890 Granite Drive
Rocklin, CA 95677
Phone: (916) 624-3133
A support group for the Rocklin branch of the Placer County Library system.
The Rocklin Branch Library opened February 1943 in the lower floor of the City Hall Building. It was open 6 hours per week. In May 1965, the Library was moved across the road and hours increased to 24 per week. Through the combined efforts of the Friends of the Rocklin Library, the City of Rocklin, and the County of Placer, plus Federal funding through the California State Library, a new 5,264 square foot branch library was built and dedicated April 28, 1985. This facility was located at 5460 Fifth Street, in Rocklin Park. The Friends of the Rocklin Library, the City of Rocklin, and the County of Placer partnered again in 2009/10 to expand the library for the growing city. The new Rocklin Library opened January 2011, is two stories, and encompasses 16,600 square feet.
P.O. Box 9273
Auburn, CA 95604
Phone: (530) 367-3973
The museum features settings depicting a doctor’s office, a pharmacy, an operating room, and a wardroom. These settings reflect doctor-patient activities taking place as they would have in the 1800s or early 1900s. Additional displays show the early hardships of medical care, present human-interest stories and pictures of Foothills doctors and medical facilities over the period, and acknowledge associated health skills such as nursing, dentistry, and ethnic treatments.
Permanent and visiting collections of medical artifacts, including implements, equipment, furnishings, pharmaceuticals and bottles, and advertising and other ephemera, are on display in cabinets. A favorite display is the folklore, potions, and multitude of strange gadgets we today call medical quackery. The museum is intended to be interesting and educational to non-medical people, especially youth, while staying technically accurate and complete.
101 Maple Street
Auburn, CA 95603
Phone: (530) 889-6500
The Gold Country Museum, housed in a historic Works Progress Administration (WPA) building, interprets Placer County's Gold Rush history. Your tour of the museum begins with an excursion into a replicated hard rock mine. Once you leave the dark tunnel behind, you’re greeted by a stamp mill and an assayer’s office. It's here that gold was processed from the raw material removed from the mines. Exhibits of a miner’s cabin and a mining camp saloon where a game of Faro is underway provide glimpses into the lives of miners.
32820 Main Street
Dutch Flat, CA 95714
Phone: (530) 389-2126
The Golden Drift Museum chronicles the glory days of hydraulic mining, the laying of the railroad lines, and other threads in the tapestry of the history of the region.
Hydraulic mining and the transcontinental railroad both had profound effects on Dutch Flat and the surrounding region. Dutch Flat is located approximately 30 miles east of Auburn on Interstate 80.
Placer County Museums
101 Maple Street
Auburn CA 95603
Phone: (916) 663-1837
Mining was also King in Penryn, located approximately ten miles west of Auburn on Interstate 80. It was not gold, but granite that was sought here.
The Griffith Quarry Museum was the office of the Penryn Granite Works, which was established by Welsh Immigrant Griffith Griffith in 1864. The surrounding 23-acre park contains ruins of the first polishing mill built in California and some of the quarry holes from which the unique Penryn granite was taken. This site is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the California Landmark Program.
The museum contains some of the original office furniture of the Penryn Granite Works and information on the Griffith family, the granite industry, and the history of the Penryn-Loomis Basin area.
Any celebration of Auburn's history would be incomplete without information on early Chinese residents, and their role in town development and growth. The Auburn Joss House, built in 1909 and located on the corner of Sacramento Street and Brewery Lane, is one of the best-known buildings in Old Town Auburn and symbolizes the role of the Chinese in local history.
The joss house represented the center of Chinese community in towns throughout the Mother Lode, and in California, during the 19th century and later. The joss house would be the first community building constructed in the Chinese settlements, and it served as a center for worship, education, community fellowship, and a place to find letter-writing and business services. The joss house also served as the place to discuss legal matters, as Chinese immigrants had no legal standing in America, well into this century.
Auburn's Joss House is being restored as a museum, through the work of Auburn residents Richard and Katherine Yue and other community residents, visitors, and those who value the Chinese role in California and U.S. history.
Dedicated to preserving the heritage of the Loomis Basin People and Communities. Loomis is located about 25 miles east of Sacramento on Interstate 80. For much of its history, Loomis was a major producer of fruit, such as plums, pears, and peaches. Many fruit packing sheds dotted the town and a couple of them remain today as commercial centers.
The Maidu Museum & Historic Site offers a safe, fenced natural haven for families and individuals who want a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. Enjoy the open space surrounding around the historic site, and explore the museum for information on the Nisenan/Southern Maidu way of life.
The Museum Gift Shop offers a wide selection of books about Native Californians and their way of life-past and present. We also offer jewelry by local artisans, minerals, arrowheads, other cultural artifacts and many nature-related items.
P.O. Box 6141
Tahoe City, CA 96145
Phone: (530) 583-1762
Lake Tahoe is internationally known as one of our Nation’s most spectacular areas. Its exciting, rich history both natural (glaciers, volcanoes) and cultural (Washoe people, wagon trains, lumber barons, miners and millionaires) fascinate both residents and visitors. The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society (NLTHS) was founded in 1969 by a group of concerned citizens who were passionate about preserving Tahoe's history, and telling its stories. The NLTHS mission is to preserve, present and interpret Lake Tahoe history, and the NLTHS does this through its three museums located in Tahoe City.
Gatekeeper's Museum – the log cabin at Fanny Bridge, where highways 89 and 28 meet in Tahoe City. Gatekeeper's Museum is located on an ancient Washoe campsite. The museum contains an eclectic collection of Tahoe history, including photographic collections, oral histories and transcription, newspapers, court ledgers, maps and written materials, letters, clothing, artifacts and furniture. During the past 34 years, NLTHS has accumulated an incredibly diverse collection of Tahoe memorabilia, including Native American baskets, historical photographs, oral histories, maps, archival documents, newspapers and artifacts. One of our most extensive collections includes thousands of historical photographs of Lake Tahoe and its inhabitants, dating from the late 1800s. These photos capture the historical progression of Tahoe history, from its Native inhabitants through the gold rush, westward movement, mining and logging eras and the establishment of the tourism industry of Lake Tahoe.
Marion Steinbach Indian Basket Museum – housed in the Gatekeeper's Museum. With this museum, there is a collection of over 800 baskets, pottery, clothing, dolls and artifacts from over 85 tribes nationwide.
Watson Cabin – A 1909 log cabin listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the oldest Tahoe City house that still sits where it was originally built, in the middle of Tahoe City overlooking Commons Beach.
The Fruitvale School and Community Hall is located about 3 miles northeast of rural Lincoln, Placer County, California.
This historic schoolhouse was one of original 13 country schools spread throughout Western Placer County to serve the school-aged children of farm families from the late 1800s thru the 1940s. Today, the building and grounds serve a larger community with its very popular third-grade Living History Program, Placer Farm & Barn Festival, the Outdoor Melodrama and as a venue for other educational and agricultural programs, community meetings and special family events.
Fruitvale Hall was recently recognized by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a recipient of the Governor's Historic Preservation Award. This prestigious award is granted to organizations that "demonstrate outstanding commitment to excellence in historic preservation."
P.O. Box 7385
Auburn, CA 95604
Phone: (530) 885-2216
PO Box 5643
Auburn, CA 95604
The mission of the Placer County Historical Society is to promote interest in the history of Placer County; to discover, collect and make accessible historical facts; to mark places of historical interest, and to sponsor the Placer County Museum.
Presently the Historical Society places plaques on historic sites; interviews "old timers", placing their information in the Auburn Placer County Library for reference; supports the Museums Department; publishes/republishes historical materials and offers bi-monthly dinner meetings where various topics of historic interest are presented by qualified speakers.
The Landmark Committee has placed markers on historic buildings and sites including the Scott's Store and the Newcastle Grange Hall in Long Valley, The Pullen House, Odd Fellows Lodge, Bank of California, in Auburn; Mount Pleasant Hall on Mt. Pleasant Road near Lincoln, as well as assisting Colfax Historical Society with their marker project. Interviews contained in the Oral History Collection number over 175. The Old Stage Coach and lumber exhibit in the Placer County Courthouse Museum were financed by donations from the society among many other donations to the Museums Department over the years.
Located in the Foothills of Northern California, the Placer County Library is committed to being a valuable source of information and lifelong learning to the residents of our communities. The library provides a wide variety of services, programs, and materials to enhance knowledge and quality of life through eleven branches and a bookmobile. The Main Branch of the Placer County Library is located in Auburn. The library's Placer Adult Literacy Services also provides resources to improve reading skills, writing skills, and the quality of life for its participating adults.
101 Maple Street
Auburn, CA 95603
Phone: (530) 889-6500
The Placer County Museum is located on the first floor of Auburn’s Historic Courthouse. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1894 and the courthouse was completed in 1898. History took its toll on the building and by the 1980s, its future was uncertain. Fortunately, the community rallied behind the courthouse and raised over six million dollars to restore it. On July 4, 1994, Auburn’s Courthouse once again opened to the public.
The first floor originally housed the county jail, the Sheriff's Office, the Treasurer's Office and the County Clerk’s Office. The Museum Gallery, which is located in the space that once housed the jail, provides an overview of Placer County's history. Some of the highlights include a diorama depicting a Nisenan Indian family, the stagecoach that ran from Auburn to Michigan Bluff, and a video presentation of the history of the transcontinental highway system that runs through the county.
The featured exhibit in the foyer is the Pate Collection of Native American Art. This collection contains artifacts from all over California, the Southwest, the Northwest Coast, Alaska, and the Eastern United States. Also in the foyer is "Auburn Centennial", a painting by renowned artist Thomas Kinkade.
The Sheriff's Office has been restored to recreate the early days of the building. With its original furniture back in place, it looks as if Sheriff Elmer Gum will walk in the door at any moment.
The Women's Jail is located under the north steps of the Courthouse. Built in 1905, the jail housed women prisoners for nearly 40 years.
3700 Christian Valley Road
Auburn, CA 95602
Phone: (530) 878-6053
Placer Nature Center's vision is to focus minds and habits on behaviors that support ecological sustainability—at home, in the community and in the world. Through the work of Placer Nature Center, the environment is always at the forefront of decision-making. Before any decision is made or action taken, consideration is first given to the environmental consequences today and to sustainability tomorrow. The Placer Nature Center offers monthly lectures on environmental issues and natural history topics.
P.O. Box 1
Rocklin, CA 95677
Phone: (916) 624-3464
The mission of the Rocklin Historical Society is to generate community interest and support for preservation of the history of Rocklin and to promote and encourage volunteerism and charitable gifts for these purposes.
Now located in the historic Fletcher House, The Society invites you to come explore our fascinating collection of artifacts while learning of Rocklin's rich history.
Recently the Rocklin Historical Society spearheaded the restoration of Old St. Mary’s Chapel, which is available for meetings, weddings, and other public events.
106 Vernon Street
Roseville, CA 95678
Phone: (916) 786-1621
Come absorb a little bit of telephone history. The Roseville Telephone Museum, presented by SureWest, is among the most extensive collections of antique telephones and memorabilia in the nation. It’s a fun family outing, a great school field trip or add it to your sightseeing itinerary.
Please see our special section on the Sierra College Natural History Museum at the beginning of this eJournal.
The Museum is an exciting place. It is both a facility as well as a concept. It is both a reality as well as a dream. It is a never-ending treasure hunt for answers to questions. It is a constant amazement and appreciation of this blue and green planet we call Earth.
The Museum's major focus is, of course, the study of natural history. Its primary participants are the students of Sierra College who attend classes, field courses, lectures, seminars and demonstrations. But there's much available for everyone.
The Museum is also a favorite place of the regional public. Thousands each year attend seminars, programs, field trips and activities sponsored by the Museum and designed specifically for the public.
The Museum is open during regular college class hours during the week, but because there are classes in session in the building, we ask that visitors be quiet as they explore. It is open on weekends only when there are other activities in the building. For a guided tour, call (916) 660-7995 and leave a message.
5000 Rocklin Road, LRC 442
Rocklin, CA 95677
Sierra Nevada Virtual Museum is a multimedia, interactive online museum presenting the rich history, culture and natural history of the Sierra Nevada. Sierra Nevada Virtual Museum is a project of Sierra College students, faculty, and staff; The Center for Sierra Nevada Studies; and the Sierra Nevada regional community. Sierra Nevada Virtual Museum is a nonprofit, educational website maintained for the education and enlightenment of the public.
P.O. Box 1152
Loomis, CA 95650
Phone: (916) 787-0878
The Foundation's purpose is to actively preserve and restore sites of historical character and significance and oversee their management so that the community is enhanced by retaining these links to the past.
The Foundation initially focused on the fruit sheds in downtown Loomis. These buildings were previously the basis for the town's economy. The Blue Goose Shed has been renovated to accommodate performances and events as well as provide meeting spaces for business and community groups. The building continues to retain its historic character while housing small business tenants.
4465 Granite Drive, Suite 700
Rocklin, CA 95677
Phone: (916) 632-8347
The STAR Eco Station is an environmental science museum, an exotic wildlife rescue center, and a haven for endangered and illegally trafficked exotic animals confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The STAR Eco Station has grown tremendously in the past 14 years and a second location has been opened in Sacramento.
Visitors to the STAR Eco Station experience amazing hands-on lessons in ecology and environmentalism through a breathtaking encounter with rare birds, exotic reptiles, wildcats and ocean life in a tropical jungle setting.
The Tahoe Maritime Museum (TMM) was founded in 1987 by those dedicated to preserving the rich maritime history of Lake Tahoe. In 2008 the museum moved into its current location in Homewood, California on the west shore.
The TMM is a private non-profit striving to be a good steward of our local, regional, and maritime history. The museum’s mission is to stimulate an interest in, increase knowledge of, and maintain watercraft and marine artifacts significant in Lake Tahoe's maritime history through the highest standards of historic preservation, innovative interpretation and public education.
c/o Sierra District
P.O. Box 266
Tahoma, CA 96142
Phone: (530) 525-9528
The purpose of the Ward Creek property, in Placer County, is to preserve and protect an area of undeveloped upland forest and meadowland south of Ward Creek, located on the west side of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The property includes frontage on Ward Creek and provides regional open space that offers connections to other public forest and recreation areas.