” Museums and galleries at their best can: Tell us who we are, where we have come from and where we might be going. Conscious or unconscious learning lies at the heart of museums. You, the museum guest, manage yourself. You can take time, you can be there when you choose.” ~Charles Laundry
Bidwell Mansion; Chico. Built in 1865. Learn about history of the mansion & surrounding area at the visitor’s center & by guided tour of the 3-story, 26-room home of the late John & Annie Bidwell. http://www.bidwellmansionpark.com. 525 Esplanade. (530) 895-6144.
Bolt’s Antique Tool Museum; Oroville. Features the largest-known documented collection of hand tools in the U.S., with over 12,000 items on display. Group discounts & tours available. http://www.boltsantiquetools.com. 1650 Broderick St. (530) 538-2528.
Chico Air Museum; Chico. Features outdoor & indoor displays of aviation artifacts, a book & video aviation library, full-sized historic aircrafts & a P-51 pedal plane small children can use. Summer hours: Th-Sun, 9-2pm. Winter hours: 10-3pm. Free entry. http://www.chicoairmuseum.org. Chico Municipal Airport, 165 Ryan Ave. (530) 345-6468.
Chico Children’s Museum. Opening soon! http://www.facebook.com/chicochildrensmuseum.
Chico Museum; Chico. Housed in the historic Carnegie Library building in downtown Chico; features both prestigious traveling exhibits & exhibits focusing on Chico & Butte County history. Group rates & tours avail. http://www.chicomuseum.org. 141 Salem St. (530) 891-4336.
Chinese Temple & Museum Complex; Oroville. Built in 1863, the temple is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is both a museum & active temple. The complex includes 3 temples; a Tapestry Hall displaying an extensive collection of embroidered tapestries, costumes & more; and the Fong Lee Company Building displaying artifacts from the medicinal herb sales & shop of the Chan family. Group & classroom tours available. http://www.tinyurl.com/OrovilleCTMC. 1500 Broderick St. (530) 538-2496.
Gateway Science Museum; Chico. Inspiring the exploration of science & natural history in the Butte County region & beyond.
http://www.csuchico.edu/gateway. Located at 625 Esplanade next to the Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park. (530) 898-4121.
Gold Nugget Museum; Paradise. Exhibits, living history events, Maidu Indian artifacts, 1904 train depot, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, miner’s cabin & covered bridge. goldnuggetmuseum.com. 502 Pearson Rd. (530) 872-8722.
Lott Home; Oroville. The C. F. Lott Home in Sank Park was built in 1856 by Charles F. Lott, gold-rush pioneer, California senator & judge. The house & garden encompass an entire city block. Take a guided tour of the Victorian home & hear captivating stories of the Lott family & their importance to early California history. View original furnishings, paintings, clothes, silver & more. Group & classroom tours available. 1067 Montgomery St. (530) 538-2497.
National Yo-Yo Museum; Chico. This small world-class museum houses “Big Yo,” the world’s largest working wooden yo-yo, & features the biggest public display of yo-yos & yo-yo memorabilia. Includes a vintage toy display. Free entry. Find out about the yo-yo club & events. Located inside the Bird in Hand toy store, 320 Broadway.
http://www.nationalyoyo.org. (530) 893-0545.
Oregon City School; Oregon City. Visit the oldest one-room school in Butte County; see photos of students from days gone by. A California Historical Landmark, Oregon City was one of the first mining camps in the county, established in 1848 by a party of Oregonians who came to California. Also visit the nearby Oregon City covered bridge & tour the Cherokee Museum (by appointment). The school is open Sat & Sun, 1-4pm – or take a chance & toot your horn on weekdays, if the caretaker’s there he’ll let you in. 2100 Oregon Gulch Rd. (530) 533-1849.
Paradise Depot Museum. This wonderful grass-roots museum features a full-sized restored caboose in addition to its star attraction: a 30-foot working HO gauge model of the Butte County Railroad. Kids have a blast running a button-operated model that represents the 33-mile rail line that ran between Chico & Stirling City.
http://www.goldnuggetmuseum.com/depot_museum.php. Located at Paradise Community Park, 5570 Black Olive Dr., Paradise. A project of the Gold Nugget Museum: (530) 872-8722.
Patrick Ranch Museum; located between Chico & Durham on the Midway. Dedicated to enhancing the understanding & appreciation of the area’s rich agricultural heritage. See exhibits & tour the first floor of the historic Glenwood Farmhouse, built in 1877. Fun & educational annual events include the California Nut Festival (April), the Country Faire & Threshing Bee (June), the Omega Nu Barn Dance (September) & AutumnFest (October). School & group tours avail. patrickranchmuseum.org. 10381 Midway. (530) 342-4359.
Pioneer Memorial Museum; Oroville. See an impressive collection of artifacts & memorabilia preserving the memories of California pioneers, especially from the Butte County area. http://www.tinyurl.com/OrovillePioneerMuseum. 2332 Montgomery St. (530) 538-2529.
Stansbury Home Preservation Assoc.; Chico. Tour the 1883 Victorian home (classic Italianate architecture) that was the residence of Doctor Oscar Stansbury & his wife Libbie; view medical supplies of the era. Annual events include an Ice Cream Social (Aug) & Victorian Christmas celebration (Dec). Group tours available. Bookings for weddings & special events available. http://www.stansburyhome.org. 307 W. 5th St. (530) 895-3848.
Valine L. Smith Museum of Anthropology; CSU Chico. Features exhibitions & events that promote appreciation & respect for cultural diversity. Free. The museum is located on the first floor in the Meriam Library at http://www.csuchico.edu/anthmuseum. 400 W. 1st St. (530) 898-5397.
JACKSON COUNTY, OR
Kid Time Children’s Museum; Medford. Features over 20 exciting indoor exhibits geared towards young children. Also offers camps, classes & preschool. http://www.kid-time.org. 106 N. Central Ave. (541) 772-9922.
ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum; Ashland. Offers fun & intriguing hands-on exhibits & displays promoting the exploration of science & the arts. A great experience for all ages, this multi-sensory environment is guaranteed to bring out the kid in everyone. Keep an eye out for specials events. Offers summer camps, field trips & other educational programs. http://www.scienceworksmuseum.org. 1500 E. Main St. (541) 482-6767.
Maidu Museum & Historic Site; Roseville. A truly cultural experience featuring Maidu Indian displays, hands-on activities for kids, an indigenous art gallery, & gift shop with handmade Native American jewelry. On Saturdays join a guided tour through the museum & site (10am). 3rd Saturday “Free Night Out at the Museum” events feature a cultural guest speaker. Campfire talks are offered in summer. School & private group tours available. Open M-F, 9am-4pm & Sat, 9am-1pm. http://www.facebook.com/indianmuseum. 1970 Johnson Ranch Dr. (916) 774-5934.
Western Pacific Railroad Museum; Portola. Offers lots of hands-on activities & fun! Sit in the engineer’s seat of the largest diesel locomotive ever built. Tour vintage passenger cars, climb aboard a restored caboose, tour freight cars & other locomotives, take a train or cab ride (Sat-Sun, 12-4pm), rent a vintage diesel locomotive to operate on the museum grounds with instruction from private instructor. Open daily, 10am-5pm, approx. Memorial Day–Labor Day; call for winter hours. Located on a historic site. http://www.wplives.org. 700 Western Pacific Way. (530) 832-4131.
California State Railroad Museum; Sacramento. Features 21 restored locomotives & train cars along with exhibits reflecting California’s rich railroading history. Check out a Pullman-style sleeping car, a dining car filled with railroad china, & a railway post office. Offers train rides, excursions & fun special events. Open daily 10am-5pm, excluding holidays. http://www.csrmf.org. 125 I St. (916) 323-9280.
Anderson Historical Society Museum; Anderson. View artifacts, photographs, maps, books, pioneer histories & the Stabler Civil War gun collection. 2330 Ferry St. (530) 365-7045.
Behrens-Eaton House Museum; Redding. Features a comprehensive collection of documents relating to the history of Shasta County. A special collection recounts the history of the county’s schools. The children’s room features toys, clothes & artifacts. Free admission.
http://www.eatonhousemuseum.org. Two locations: Main House at 1520 West St. & Display Museum at 1939 Butte St.
Court House Museum; Shasta. Part of Shasta State Historic Park, this former county courthouse is restored to its 1861 appearance & filled with historical exhibits. Includes a notable collection of early California artwork. Also view the remains of brick buildings that were once the center of intense activity during the Gold Rush era, & visit historic roadways, cottages & cemeteries. http://www.parks.ca.gov. 15312 Highway 299 W., 6 miles west of Redding. (530) 243-8194.
Turtle Bay Museum; Redding. Features interactive touring exhibits, multi-media displays, historic exhibits & re-creations, a hands-on science lab, fun & educational activities for children, & more. Located at the heart of Turtle Bay Exploration Park. http://www.turtlebay.org. 844 Sundial Bridge Dr. (800) 887-8532.
Wintu Cultural Museum; Shasta Lake City. The Museum is dedicated to preserving & interpreting the history, culture & tradition of the Wintu Tribe of Northern California, & to keeping the spirit of tradition alive. Find them on Facebook for hours of operation & info. 4755 Shasta Dam Blvd.
Dunsmuir Railroad Depot Museum & Historical Society. This small museum showcasing Dunsmuir’s history is located in the former Southern Pacific Railroad dispatcher’s office. Features historical artifacts, railroad memorabilia, photographs & a model of the Dunsmuir Roundhouse. Open 3rd Saturdays April-Oct. & for special events. http://www.dunsmuirdepot.com. 5750 Sacramento Ave. (530) 235-0839.
Etna Museum. Located in the first town hall of Etna (built to resemble Philadelphia’s Independence Hall), which also housed the fire department, library & jail. See a vintage parlor, 1890 farm kitchen, displays of tools, 1890’s dresses & other unique collections, research items & more. Open June – Aug. Tues-Sat, 11am-3pm (closed the week of the Siskyou Golden Fair). Find them on facebook. 520 Main St. (530) 598-6726.
Fort Jones Museum. Dubbed the “biggest little museum,” features hundreds of artifacts depicting the lives of local tribes, trappers, miners, pioneers & soldiers. Includes fossils, unusual rocks, vintage guns & one of the finest basket collections in Northern California. See carriages, buggies & vintage farm equipment in the carriage house. Free admission. http://www.fortjonesmuseum.com. 11913 Main St. (530) 468-5568.
Heritage Junction Museum of McCloud.Located in a historic 1904 building, the museum offers an impressive collection of McCloud artifacts, including the giant Corliss steam engine that powered the McCloud sawmill from 1903-1979. Features a photograph collection depicting the history of the town & surrounding area. 320 Main St. (530) 964-2604.
Lava Beds National Monument. Visit the site of the largest concentration of lava tube caves in North America. Participate in ranger-led explorations & evening campfire programs that explore the monument’s Native American history. Rangers help match children’s interests & capabilities to the various types of caves developed for viewing. http://www.nps.gov/labe/index.htm. (530) 667-8100.
Montague History Center. Walk through a refurbished bank building built in 1906 that houses old City Hall records, a jail, & a small library. Free to visitors & schools. Private tours available.131 S. 10th St. (530) 459-5433 or (530) 459-3025.
Montague Railroad Depot Museum; Montague. Visit a building built in 1887 that features displays of railroad & other artifacts from the area. Tours available. 230 S. 11th St. (530) 459-3025 or (530) 459-5433.
Siskiyou Arts Museum; Dunsmuir. Offers exhibits & programs representing visual, literary & performing arts. A gallery & gift shop features the work of local & regional artists. http://www.siskiyouartsmuseum.org. 5824 Dunsmuir Ave. (530) 235-4711.
Siskiyou County Museum; Yreka. Learn about local history through a collection of artifacts, photographs & memorabilia in a 2.5-acre outdoor museum. Features authentic & reconstructed buildings in a replicated environment. Also offers a research library & educational services, galleries, & a gift shop. http://www.siskiyoucountyhistoricalsociety.org. 910 South Main St. (530) 842-3836.
Siskiyou History Website: http://www.siskiyouhistory.org. Digital library of primary sources in Siskiyou County history. A wealth of documents include letters, diaries, manuscripts, legal & financial records, photographs & other pictorial items, maps, architectural & engineering records, artwork, scientific logbooks, sound recordings, oral histories & artifacts.
Sisson Museum; Mt. Shasta. Located in a charming building at the Mount Shasta Fish Hatchery site. Features displays, exhibits & special events focused on local history. Children’s activities include a vintage fire truck, model railroad setup with locomotive control panel, old-fashioned toys & more. Gift shop features a great book selection, unique gift items, & children’s toys. Open Memorial Day to mid-Dec. http://www.mtshastamuseum.com. 1 N. Old Stage Rd. (530) 926-5508.
Weed Historic Lumber Town Museum. Features logging & town memorabilia, a jail cell & many interesting artifacts. Open late May-Sept. http://www.snowcrest.net/whm.
303 Gilman Ave. (530) 938-0550.
Gaumer’s Mineral & Mining Museum; Red Bluff. An educational & entertaining experience for visitors of all ages. Learn about gold mining, fossils, Native American artifacts, rocks, crystals & fluorescent minerals. School tours avail. http://www.gaumers.com.
78 Belle Mill Rd. (530) 527-6166.
Tehama County Museum; Tehama. See artifacts that represent the cultural heritage & history of Tehama County & Northern California. Open weekends. Private tours by appointment. Free admission. http://www.tehamacountymuseum.org. 275 C St. (530) 384-2595.
William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park; Red Bluff. The park memorializes pioneer William B. Ide & other settlers who contributed to California history. Features a visitor center, ranch buildings, blacksmith shop, & offers fun historic re-enactment events & hands-on educational programs. Enjoy a picnic along the Sacramento River. http://www.parks.ca.gov.
21659 Adobe Rd. (530) 529-8599.
Updated December 2016 LS