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Nevada Historical Society

From fossils to early slot machines, 10,000 years of Nevada history comes to life in this vast collection of artifacts, manuscripts, photographs and film.

Established in 1904, the Nevada Historical Society is the Silver State’s oldest museum. The collections include prehistoric times, the coming of white settlers and the challenges they faced, and the gambling and mining industries that continue to shape Nevada today.

The museum has two permanent exhibitions that trace Nevada’s history. Nevada: Prisms and Perspectives, follow five diverse but interrelated lives, which represent the native Nevadans, gold miners, travelers, gamblers and federal officers who have shaped Nevada. The other exhibit, Biggest Little City in the World, tells the history of Reno through an extensive collection of local artifacts and interesting stories.  

There are some great displays of Native American artifacts, toys and early prospecting equipment. The city’s gaming heritage is also represented by an assortment of casino souvenirs, gambling cheating devices, early neon signs and show-girl costumes. Look out for the much-loved, but rather macabre, Six Legged Dan and Two Headed Slim. This stuffed Siamese calf has been a museum resident for over 60 years and is always a hit with kids. 

Alongside the permanent displays are special exhibitions that change on a regular basis. You’ll may find fine arts or film, and the museum is a staunch supporter of local artists. (Check the website for current exhibits.)  

The Nevada Historical Society maintains an extensive library containing manuscripts, documents and books. The photographic collection alone contains about 300,000 photographs covering subjects from ghost towns to atomic testing. 

Check out the museum store, which has an extensive selection of local art, jewelry and Nevada -themed books and souvenirs.  

The Nevada Historical Society is near the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center on the University of Nevada Reno campus, about five minutes' drive north of downtown. There is free parking next to the building. You can also get there on the Sierra Spirit bus from downtown. 

The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, except for state holidays.


Guide to Exploring around Nevada Historical Society


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Lodging Near Nevada Historical Society

See all 1,515 Hotels near Nevada Historical Society
Circus Circus Hotel & Casino Reno $38
Circus Circus Hotel & Casino Reno

Circus Circus Hotel & Casino Reno

500 N Sierra St, Reno
     
    3.8
    of 5, from 12,850 reviews
    3.5 out of 5.0

    Located just over 3.5 miles from Reno-Tahoe International Airport and covering an entire city block in downtown Reno, Circus Circus Hotel & Casino is connected by skyway to the Silver Legacy and Eldorado hotels.

    Harrah's Casino Hotel Reno $30
    Harrah's Casino Hotel Reno

    Harrah's Casino Hotel Reno

    219 N Center St, Reno
       
      3.7
      of 5, from 6,449 reviews
      3.5 out of 5.0

      Located 1 block from Bowling Stadium and within 3 miles of the convention center, this downtown Reno hotel first opened as a bingo parlor in 1943. It now occupies both sides of North Center Street.

      Nugget Casino Resort $30
      Nugget Casino Resort

      Nugget Casino Resort

      1100 Nugget Ave, Sparks
         
        3.9
        of 5, from 12,498 reviews
        3.5 out of 5.0

        An icon since 1955, this 1,382-guestroom resort is in downtown Sparks, 3 miles from downtown Reno and a 10-minute drive from the Reno-Tahoe airport.

        Grand Sierra Resort and Casino $54
        Grand Sierra Resort and Casino

        Grand Sierra Resort and Casino

        2500 E 2nd St, Reno
           
          4.1
          of 5, from 12,669 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          This destination resort is adjacent to the Truckee River Recreation Trail, 2 miles from Reno-Tahoe International Airport, and less than 3 miles from downtown Reno. Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is 30 minutes away.

          Silver Legacy Resort Casino $50
          Silver Legacy Resort Casino

          Silver Legacy Resort Casino

          407 N. Virginia Street, Reno
             
            4.1
            of 5, from 12,010 reviews
            4.0 out of 5.0

            A skywalk connects this downtown Reno hotel to the Circus Circus and Eldorado casinos; Nevada Museum of Art and Performing Arts Center are less than a half-mile away.

            Sands Regency Casino Hotel $24
            Sands Regency Casino Hotel

            Sands Regency Casino Hotel

            345 N Arlington Ave, Reno
               
              3.3
              of 5, from 9,551 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              This 830-room hotel and casino is 2 blocks from Reno Arch, 4 blocks from the National Bowling Stadium, and 6 miles from Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

              Eldorado Resort Casino $51
              Eldorado Resort Casino

              Eldorado Resort Casino

              345 N Virginia St, Reno
                 
                4.0
                of 5, from 4,668 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                4 miles from the Reno-Tahoe airport and covering an entire city block, the Eldorado Hotel Casino is connected to Circus Circus and Silver Legacy by skywalk.

                University Inn Reno
                University Inn Reno

                University Inn Reno

                1651 North Virginia Street, Reno
                   
                  1.9
                  of 5, from 289 reviews
                  2.5 out of 5.0

                  Situated in Reno, this motel is steps from Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center and Nevada Historical Society. Great Basin Adventure and National Bowling Stadium are also within 2 mi (3 km).