Nevada’s storied past emerges across a diverse panorama of engaging subjects panning eons-old geology, our prehistoric animalian neighbors, American Indian culture, the glory days of silver mining, and beyond. Housed in the former United States Mint, the Nevada State Museum in Carson City tells the state’s history from prehistoric times to modern day.
Visiting the Nevada State Museum—Carson City Today
The Natural History section features animals from a prehistoric mammoth whose bones were found on the Black Rock Desert to an ichthyosaur, which swam the waters of ancient Lake Lahontan. It is here you can get up close to Nevada’s seldom seen creatures, like the Desert Bighorn Sheep, Great Basin Rattlesnake, Sage Grouse, Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, and other Icons of Nevada.
The “Under One Sky” exhibit tells the story of Nevada’s first inhabitants through 10,000 year-old artifacts. Housed in the newer wing of the museum, this moving exhibit presents American Indian culture from the perspective of American Indians, in their own words. Find out when humans first occupied the Nevada portion of the Great Basin, the natural foods they collected, and the skills they implemented for survival. Experience the fascinating reconstruction of a Great Basin cave, containing evidence of past cultures and climate.
Explore a replicated mining town, and take a stroll through an underground mine that helps tell the timeline of Nevada’s impressive mining history. And, be sure to check out the USS Nevada Silver Service, along with an impressive array of Capital City history. NSMCC is also home to a popular lecture series, “behind-the-scenes” tours, children’s educational programming, and the Marjorie Russell Clothing and Textile Research Center.
Coin Press No. 1
As the museum is housed in the former Carson City mint, you will have the delight of viewing the Mint’s original Coin Press No. 1—original to the minting operation here—along with the famous Carson City “CC” mint marking Comstock silver dollars. Aside from an original relic to the Carson City Mint, the Coin Press No. 1 is also important because it is the only coin press of it’s day known to still be operating, producing commemorative medallions for museum visitors, special occasions, and numerous historic organizations.
Manufactured in Philadelphia by Morgan and Orr, the press was a state-of-the-art, steam-powered machine. It was sent by ship, crossing Panama by rail (before there was a canal from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans), and upon arriving in San Francisco was transferred to the Central Pacific Railroad for delivery to the newly established town of Reno. In Reno, the 6-ton coin press was loaded onto wagons for delivery to Carson City. Coin Press No. 1 continued in operation from the Mint’s opening in 1870, to its closure in 1893. In total, the Carson City Mint produced nearly $50 million (face value) of gold and silver coins. Today, the coins with the famous “CC” mint mark are highly coveted by collectors and among the most valuable in the coin-collecting world. An 1873 dime with no arrows—the only of its kind known to still exist—sold at auction for $1.8 million in 2012.
For more information on Coin Press No. 1 operating times, please call the Nevada State Museum—Carson City directly at (775) 687-4810.
Parking is available in the free public lot on the west side of Curry Street behind the museum. Street parking is limited to two hours. Persons with disabilities may use the designated spaces in the small lot directly west of the museum.
The Nevada State Museum—Carson City reopened to the public on Wednesday, December 2nd, resuming weekly demonstrations of historic Coin Press No. 1. The Nevada State Museum—Carson City is open Wednesday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m (closed Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays). Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and New Years Day. The Coin Press operates Saturdays, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and the Museum Store hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Admission to the Nevada State Museum—Carson City is free to all Museum Members! If you're not a Museum Member, admission is $8.00 admission for Adults and free for Children 17 and under.