Things to See and Do Museums
You're invited to experience the extraordinary
beauty that is Plumas County as you explore nine
museums within this rural area of Northeastern
California. Discover how people have lived, worked
and played in the small communities of Feather
River Country. You'll learn stories of Native
American Maidus, gold-seeking miners, Chinese
immigrants, timber-falling lumberjacks, pioneer
families, cowboys and railroad gandydancers.
One of the most comprehensive, well presented museums in rural California. Cultural and home art displays are complemented by technological displays featuring agriculture, gold mining, logging and railroad history. In accordance with the "living museum" philosophy, most exhibits are rotated periodically.
Collections include Maidu Indian basketry, pioneer weaponry, archeology and natural history. Outdoors is a blacksmith shop and miner's cabin along with the larger mining and logging equipment, and agricultural implements.
A mezzanine gallery features exhibits of local artisans, and an outstanding archival library is utilized under supervision for research projects. Special events at the museum include the Christmas "Wassail Bowl" and a Summertime Open House, both of which include tours of the 1878 Variel Home adjacent to the museum property. Area literature, histories, artwork and other items are on sale in the museum bookstore.
Western Pacific Railroad Museum Off Commercial Street in downtown Portola, 700 Western Pacific Way (530) 832-4131. Open seasonally (April through October), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Limited winter operations, call for hours. Admission $8 adults, $4kids, free to kids 3 and under.
This world-renowned museum was established in 1983 by the Feather River Rail Society. It preserves general railroad history, equipment, photos, artifacts, historical information and data. Housed in a former Western Pacific diesel shop, the museum has approximately 12,000 feet of track and 170 pieces of equipment.
Visitors can climb about an extensive collection of train cars and locomotives and can even drive a locomotive themselves (reservations required). Train rides in cabooses and vista flats around a enamel balloon track during summer weekends.
Plumas-Eureka State Park Museum. Located five miles west of Graeagle on Johnsville Road. (A-14 west of Highway 89) (530) 836-2380. Open daily, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in summer; open when staff is available during the rest of the year. Free admission.
This indoor-outdoor museum within the Plumas-Eureka State Park preserves the
rich heritage of the Feather River Country's gold mining legacy. Housed in a
restored miners' boarding house, this museum displays mining tools, photographs,
pioneer household items, working models of antique mining machinery and antique
skis as well as animals native to the park. The rustic, five-story Mohawk Stamp
Mill, which processed raw gold-bearing quartz, is among the buildings nearby,
which also include a blacksmith shop, a bunkhouse and a miner's home. Supervised
gold panning programs are offered in the summertime along Jamison Creek.
The Indian Valley Museum features displays and data relating to the rich traditions of mining, ranching and logging in Indian Valley. One room, dedicated to the native Maidu Indian culture, features a fine collection of Maidu baskets. Other artifacts represent the early settlers of the Indian and Genesee Valleys from 1850s to the present. Mining equipment is on display outside the museum, along with a blacksmith shop. A museum annex features larger exhibits including a 1932 fire engine and dairy equipment. A new 800-swaure foot room features a large display of rocks, minerals and mineral carvings. Rocks and minerals are also available for sale.
This circa-1877 former Bransford-McIntyre dry goods warehouse is dedicated to Cy Hall, a Greenville business owner and fire chief for over 50 years. The two-story building, one of just a few that survived Greenville’s numerous fires, features balloon frame construction and board and batten siding. Volunteers restored the building using its original 130-year-old wood. The museum has a changing and expanding collection of photographs, maps, documents and exhibits that depict the lives of Indian Valley’s pioneer families.
Chester-Lake Almanor Museum
Frank C. Reilly Museum
Williams House Museum