Lake Tahoe is famed for its natural beauty and outdoor recreation, so you might be surprised to learn that Lake Tahoe is also home to a fair number of excellent museums. It’s one of our Favorite Rainy Day Things to do in Lake Tahoe! Highlighting everything from natural and cultural history to art, science, and architecture, Lake Tahoe’s diverse offering of museums invites you and your family to become immersed in a variety of educational and rewarding experiences. Keep reading to find a Lake Tahoe museum that interests you!
Step back in time and see what Lake Tahoe life was like during the early- to mid-1900s. The Gatekeeeper’s Museum is a reconstruction of the original Gatekeeper’s cabin built by Robert Montgomery Watson, and was to be the home of the Watermaster who controlled the flow of water out of Lake Tahoe. Today, the cabin houses exhibits that explore the history of Lake Tahoe, the Washoe tribe, the logging and mining eras, and the establishment of the Lake Tahoe tourism industry.
Taylor Creek Visitor Center
Taylor Creek Visitor Center offers both children and adults an up-close experience with Taylor Creek’s flora and fauna. Located on Lake Tahoe’s southern shore, this Lake Tahoe museum features several trails and bridges that span the marshlands and a subterranean viewing window that offers visitors a glimpse of Taylor Creek’s underwater world. If you are visiting in the fall, you will be able to get an up close and personal view of spawning Kokanee salmon.
Tahoe Maritime Center Museum and Gardens
For a distinctively local Lake Tahoe experience, pay a visit to the Tahoe Maritime Center Museum and Gardens. Featuring permanent collections and rotating exhibitions of local maritime artifacts, documents, and antique vessels, this Lake Tahoe museum also offers numerous educational courses and seminars throughout the year.
Lake Tahoe Historical Society
Run by a dedicated group of volunteers since 1968, the Lake Tahoe Historical Society is a wonderful little museum so loaded with fascinating artifacts and exhibits that it’s hard to believe it’s free. It’s among our Favorite Free Things To Do in Lake Tahoe! Featuring a wealth of historical preservation and fascinating information, the Lake Tahoe Historical Society also boasts the oldest standing commercial building in South Lake Tahoe, a bookstore, and historical walking tours.
Tallac Historic Site
The Tallac Historic Site is a fascinating “living museum” that offers visitors a taste of 19th century Lake Tahoe life. Featuring three historic homes – the Baldwin Estate, Valhalla, and the Pope Estate, the Tallac Historic Site is so much more than 1800s architecture. Stroll through beautiful gardens, visit the museum room, watch a blacksmith in action, and learn about the Washoe people who inhabited the area prior to Euro-American migration. You can spend an afternoon with Anita Baldwin, daughter of the infamous Lucky Baldwin. Or, have tea with Mrs. Tevis, second owner of the Pope Estate. This Lake Tahoe museum also offers other interactive programs, walking tours, and a vintage clothing exhibit.
With no shortage of amazing ways to learn about the History of Lake Tahoe, you’ll definitely want to fit a museum visit or two into your trip!