In addition to housing a museum and research library—both of which are open to the public—the Nevada Historical Society’s archives are home to scores of materials, from photos and newspapers to hand-written memories, chronicling the riveting rise of the Silver State from Carson City to Las Vegas.
Visiting the Nevada Historical Society Today
Founded in 1904, the Nevada Historical Society is the state’s oldest museum, with the ethos of collecting, preserving, and interpreting Nevada’s heritage. Objects on display and the research collections represent exceptional historic resources. The permanent displays in the Shepperson Gallery cover the range of life in Nevada and the Great Basin from prehistoric American Indian inhabitants to the modern growth of Reno and Las Vegas. The Changing Gallery, Hallway Gallery, and Conference Room present an ongoing series of temporary and traveling exhibitions dealing with Nevada and the West.
On site are a research library and artifact, photography, and manuscript collections detailing Nevada history. Boxing, ranching, early saloons, gambling and casinos, Hoover Dam, the Carson Mint, atomic testing, early parades, freight wagons, stagecoaches, railroading, and ghost towns are well represented.
Nevada: Prisms & Perspectives
True “jewels” of the collection come to life to illustrate five crucial stories about life in Nevada. Living on Land presents the endurance of American Indian lifestyles, starting 10,000 years ago. Riches from the Earth chronicles Nevada’s mineral exploits. Passing Through tracks human movement through time, from migration routes and pioneer trails to modern highways. Neon Nights basks in the glowing confluence of our one-of-a-kind cultural, commercial, and entertainment history, while Federal Presence examines the unique impacts of policies and actions of our state’s biggest landlord.
Marvel at the priceless collection of woven baskets, painstakingly crafted by this world-famous Washoe County artist from the Carson Valley.
Witness the community’s more colorful moments, from legalizing gambling and boxing to becoming the Divorce Capital of the World, and some of the bombastic characters who called it home.
American Gaming Archives
Uncover the real, roots-up story of Nevada’s gaming culture – legitimate and otherwise – where cheating was an art and winning was a science, in one of the world’s best collections of gambling manufacturers’ material.
From Downtown Reno, head north on Virginia Street, passing the University of Nevada and the Fleischmann Planetarium. Turn right on 16th Street; the NHS Reno will be on your left at 1650 North Virginia Street. Designated parking and signage is located on the east side of the museum. If those spaces are taken, use any available UNR parking spaces, including space behind the KNPB station. The NHS has free, temporary parking passes available at the museum admissions office that visitors can place on the dashboard.
The Museum and Museum Store are open Wednesdays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and open Thursdays and Fridays by appointment only. The Research Library inside the Nevada Historical Society is open Wednesday through Friday, by appointment only. Closed during all federal holidays, and during University of Nevada home games (as it’s in extremely close proximity to the stadium).
Admission to the Nevada Historical Society is free to all Museum Members! If you are not a member, admission is $5 for adults, and free for children 17 and under.