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"Seed" beads are the smallest and most commonly found sizes in pre-20th Century pieces.


Sarah Winnemucca, daughter of Chief Winnemucca of the Paiute, was born in 1844 near Humboldt Lake, NV. Sarah became a very well-educated woman and spokesperson for her people. In 2005, a statue of her by sculptor Fredrich Victory was added to the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol.


The world's oldest duck decoys are among the artifacts found in the Lovelock Caves. The original decoys are preserved at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., while the replicas depicted here show how the decoys were constructed.


This war bonnet was worn by Lame Deer, leading Minniconjou Sioux chief who was killed by general Nelson Miles' troops at Muddy Creek, Montana, on May 7, 1877, during one last pre-reservation deer hunt. Click the "read more" link to learn how it came to be displayed in the Humboldt Museum.


This photo depicts the Ft. McDermitt Indian Reservation, sometime between 1911 and 1918. It is shown courtesy of the Mildred Gibson Collection.


The Humboldt Museum exhibits several artifacts that once belonged to "Shoshone Mike" Daggett, a suspect in the murder of four Nevada sheep men in High Rock Canyon, on January 19, 1911.


The Humboldt Museum's centerpiece attraction comprises several sets of Columbian mammoth bones unearthed near the Black Rock Desert. The bones are 13,000 years old!



Augustasaurus hagdorni from North Central Nevada is a new marine vertebrate fauna.  The closest known relative is known only from a single specimen found in Germany.

Category: Art Nouveau

The look of the 1890's gradually changed during World War I where women's social and economic horizons broadened and and many tried to appear as "femme fatales".




Category: Art Nouveau

Shown are items of these ladies and others.  Shoes, gloves, jewelry, scarves, face powder, accessories, a photo album, hat pins.

Basque Mural and Scene

Humboldt Museum is proud to present an exhibit on the Basque, a people who have been a prominent fixture in Nevada for well over 100 years. 



The Richardson-Saunders House is the newest addition to the Humboldt Museum's campus. This home was originally constructed in 1899 on Railroad Street by W.A. and Phoebe Cumley and is a rare Nevada example of Eastlake architectural style.  In 1902 Albert and Annie Pearce Richardson purchased the home from the Cumleys.  It remained in the possession of the family until 2005 when Nora Chipman, granddaughter of Albert and Annie Pearce, donated the house to the Humboldt Museum.  After several years of anticipation the restored Richardson-Saunders House was opened for tours December 2012.


This church was built in 1907 at 5th and Lay Streets.  In 1909, it was moved to the corner of Fourth and Lay Streets, (the current location of Wells Fargo Bank),  where it served as St. Mary's Episcopal Church for many years.  There was even a swimming pool in the back of the lot.  The lot was sold and the former church was moved to the Museum campus in 1976, where it served as the Museum's main building until 1985. Currently, the structure serves as a location for meetings, presentations, art shows, musical & theatrical performances, book signings, etc. The fully finished basement provides storage for some of the Museum's newspaper collection.  

Occasionally the building is rented out for weddings and private parties.  Ask Museum staff for details. 


The Greinstein Display Building was originally constructed in the 1880's.  It served as the Nevada Hide and Junk Company as well as a residence before being donated to the Humboldt Museum in the 1970's.  For several years the structure housed the Humboldt Museum's thrift shop.  Today, the Greinstein Display Building is home to three scenes of days gone by.   

Humboldt Museum 2015

Humboldt Museum's ground floor was completed June 5, 1985.  Phase two was finished in 2001.  The two-story building houses an automobile collection on the main floor and a variety of collections upstairs.  It also houses the Weigand Audio Visual room, gift shop, library and staff office space.




The Humboldt Museum overlooks Winnemucca, Nevada, a small town of 7,396 (2010 census figure). The campus and main building command striking views of town, the Humboldt River, and the Sonoma Mountains.


The Wiegand Audio-Visual Room was donated by the Wiegand Foundation. It provides visitors with an opportunity to watch short and long films, on request, about Winnemucca, Humboldt County, and Northern Nevada.

Category: Chinatown

In 1902, a red brick adobe Joss House was built and the Altar contained these two tall wood panels with lettering. The Joss House was once the center of Chinatown cultural life.  Click the "read more" link for a translation of the Chinese characters.

Category: Chinatown

In the 10th century in China, fetish and lotus shoes generated new outlets for sexual expression. A foot no longer than three inches was the cultural ideal. Foot binding fell out of favor when China became a republic in 1912.

Category: Chinatown

The Humboldt Museum proudly displays a drawing of Winnemucca's Chinatown district, circa 1901-1910.  The drawing was made from memory by James R. Chew, when he visited the Museum in the 1970s.  Mr. Chew also contributed a detailed description of the places and people shown in the drawing; click "read more" to read Mr. Chew's fascinating description of life in Chinatown just after the turn of the century.

Category: Chinatown

The Chinese cemetery was established in 1868, north of the Humboldt River in the vicinity of the Humboldt Museum complex. The Chinese picket-fenced their graveyard in the 1880s, but by 1962, all fences had disappeared and the cemetery is no longer there.

Category: Chinatown

This idealized life-like doll is called "The Chinese Anatomy Doll." It was used for describing the location of pain, as Chinese women did not disrobe before their physicians.

Category: Dolls

This genuine Shirley Temple doll in an original red and white polka-dot dress was donated to the museum by its owner, Carolyn Brown Reinholdt, who grew up in Winnemucca.

Category: Dolls

Doll Buggy of Mary "Toodles" (Bonnifield) Cosby (1879-1965). This buggy was over 100 years old when donated to the museum in 1982

Category: Dolls

These lovely girls belonged to Blanche "Bonnie" (Cosby) Foster (1911-1999), daughter of John Ambrose Cosby & Mary (Bonnifield) Cosby and are fondly referred to by the museum staff as "The Bonnifield Sisters"

Category: Early Wheels

This carriage is equipped with shafts from the Deal Buggy Company, of Jonesville, Michigan. It was built in 1897, at the height of the horse-powered era. Just six years later, the first automobiles crossed the United States, and by 1915, the Deal Buggy Company, which specialized in spring and delivery wagons, had closed its doors.

Category: Early Wheels

One of the first cars to use left-hand steering.  The one-cylinder engine ran counter-clockwise.

Category: Early Wheels

1907 Chase truck.  Featuring a three-cylinder, two-cycle engine this vehicle was made by the Chase Motor Truck Company of Syracuse, New York.  When it had outlived its career as a utility vehicle, a surrey top was added and it was used primarily in parades.  And while it hasn't been started in a long time, it was in running condition when the Museum acquired it from the Stoker Collection.

Category: Early Wheels

This 1909 Invincible Schacht (pronounced "shot") was produced by the G. A. Schacht Manufacturing Company of Cincinnati, Ohio. The spectacularly high ground clearance must have been a great asset in the era of primitive roads.

Category: Early Wheels

A true horseless carriage, from the earliest days of one of America's first car companies.

Category: Early Wheels

Featuring a Harley Davidson motor, complete with kick starter, this one must have been a lot of fun to drive. Acquired from the Stoker Collection.

Category: Mining

The Humboldt Museum has several impressive specimen mineral collections.

Category: Mining

Located in the heart of the most productive mining districts in the United States, it is not surprising that the Humboldt Museum boasts impressive displays relating to the history of mining.


Category: Miscellaneous

Sewing machines were developed in England as early as 1790, U.S. sewing machines in 1834 and being produced for commercial purposes by the 1850s. Shown here is an 1857 Wilcox and Gibbs model.

Category: Miscellaneous

This antique cut glass display originates from the brilliant period, 1880 through 1929, and was acquired by local resident Sunny Johnson's great grandmothers, Emma Breithaupt and Alice Hoag. The exquisite cut glass, no longer being made of this quality, is on loan by the Johnson family of Winnemucca.

Category: Miscellaneous

During the turn-of-the-century build-out of telephone infrastructure, Winnemucca became a hub of telephone switching stations. The Humboldt Museum displays a switchboard from the hey-day of telephone operators. Click the "read more" link to learn more.


From a definite past, the Nixon Opera House brought the elegance and the charm of theatrical history to Winnemucca until arson destroyed the building July 23, 1992. 


The Humboldt Museum has an extensive collection of advertisements, playbills, posters, and other ephemera from performances and events staged at the Nixon Opera House. Also known as "Nixon Hall," the beautiful two-story theater was built in 1907, with financing from George Nixon.


Nixon Opera House ("Nixon Hall") was built in 1907, and burned down in 1992. It was financed by George S. Nixon, a local banker who went on to serve in the U.S. Senate. When Nixon died, his widow Kate tried unsuccessfully to reclaim the property from the City. The arsonist or arsonists who destroyed it were never brought to justice.


The Humboldt Museum has a collection of Edna Purviance memorability, including several photos, one of her dresses, several Charlie Chaplin dolls, and a can of "Theater Fire." Purviance, who grew up in Paradise Valley and Lovelock, went on to become Charlie Chaplin's regular co-star, during the era of silent pictures.


This spectacular map must surely be among the very earliest ever made of Humboldt County, Nevada. Dating from 1867, it shows Winnemucca, the Humboldt River Valley, Sonoma Range, Hotspring Range, and the "Cottonwood Range," later renamed as the Santa Rosa Range.


In 1931, as a freshman Assemblyman, Phil Tobin introduced a bill to legalize gambling in Nevada.

George S. Nixon

George S. Nixon made his home in Winnemucca where he organized the First National Bank in 1886 and was a U.S. Senator from Nevada.  In 1908 he built and donated the Nixon Opera House to the City of Winnemucca as a parting gift to his home city.


Catalina (Sanchez) See Nelson, known as Grandma Nelson, when she owned the Arcade Restaurant on Lower Bridge Street in the early 1900s. She befriended a young George Wingfield in Winnemucca before he became a political force in the State of Nevada.


The Humboldt Canal scheme was designed in 1862 to take water from the Humboldt River for use in generating power for mining and to irrigate land along the canal, but the water disappeared in the sandy soil at Rose Creek Pass. It was to have terminated in Mill City. The project drove much of Winnemucca's early growth.


This wonderful 3D map depicts Winnemucca, Nevada, in 1881. It is called "A birds-eye view of Winnemucca, County Seat of Humboldt County, 1881.


This painting, by McCoy, depicts the remains of the Jungo Hotel. Located about 40 miles West of Winnemucca, and accessible only via a gravel and dirt road, the town of Jungo no longer exists.


The Humboldt Museum's collection from the 20s features stylish shoes and hats, hat boxes, gloves and even a flapper dress!  There's also a jewelry box, jewelry and a beautiful Tiffany lamp.  This exhibit case was donated to the Humboldt Museum by Grace Duvivier in memory of her family, husband Jack Duvivier, brother Benjamin Etchart and daughter Blanche Duvivier.


The Museum's collection of outlaw guns was donated by local law enforcement agencies. The weapons were confiscated from sundry thieves, miscreants, and evil-doers. Some date back to the 19th Century.


This "swallow-tail guidon" typifies the flags carried by mounted troops in the Western U.S. between 1862 and 1885. Sewn from silk, it has 35 stars.


This beautifully preserved wedding dress from the mid-19th century is surprisingly small. Many museum visitors remark that it looks more like a child's dress. The size of the dress demonstrates how much smaller people were in that era.


The Humboldt Museum has an extensive collection of cowboy and western paraphernalia.