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Gold Country Museums

Gold Country Museums Overview

Gold Country

Gold Country Museums include the Crocker Art Museum, State Railroad Museum, State Capitol, Sutter's Fort, Folsom Prison Museum, Empire Mine Museum, Placer County Museum, Marshall Gold Discovery Museum, Chaw-Se-Indian Museum, Columbia State Historic Park, Railtown 1897 and California State Mining and Mineral Museum. From Sacramento to Auburn and Downieville to Mariposa, discover an interesting museum in Gold Country.

Sacramento Museums

Crocker Art Museum is located of Interstate 5 from the Q Street exit. It features several floors of artwork comprised of African and oceanic art, Asian art, Californian and American art, European art, international ceramics, prints and drawings and photography.

Crocker Art Museum
216 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 808-7000

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The California Museum is located off Interstate 5 from the Q Street exit. Situated one block from the State Capitol, it focuses on the unique events and inspirational people that have contributed to California's legacy. Learn more about Ronald Reagan, Rita Moreno, Jackie Robinson, the Gold Rush, birth of Hollywood, 1906 San Francisco earthquake and more. Exhibits include a California Wall of Fame, Constitution Wall and the works of California artists.

The California Museum
1020 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-7524

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Old Sacramento

Old Sacramento State Park is located at 3rd and J Streets directly off Interstate 5 in Downtown Sacramento. This park is several square blocks of preserved and rebuilt gold mining era buildings. These buildings now house touristy shops, restaurants and museums.

Old Sacramento State Park
3rd and J Streets
Sacramento, California 95814
(916) 445-7387

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  • Sacramento History Museum is located off Interstate 5 from J Street. Situated within Old Sacramento State Historic Park, the Sacramento History Museum is a perfect starting point before exploring the park. Learn about Sacramento's significance from the Gold Rush, railroad and agriculture to present day as the state's capitol. Exhibits include interpretive displays, photographs and artifacts. It also organizes Old Sacramento tours including ghost tours, walking tours and the underground tour.

    Sacramento History Museum
    101 I Street
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    (916) 808-7059

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  • California State Military Museum is located off Interstate 5 from J Street. Situated within Old Sacramento State Historic Park, this is the official military museum and research center of the State of California. It contains over 33,000 artifacts from the Mexican American War to the present day War on Terror. Displays include mortar cannons, flags, medals, rifles, uniforms, letters home and a Global War on Terrorism Wall of Honor.

    California State Military Museum
    1119 2nd Street
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    (916) 442-2883
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  • State Railroad Museum

    State Railroad Museum is located off Interstate 5 at the north end of Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Historic trains and railroad industry artifacts are on display. Train rides follow the beautiful Sacramento River on the Sacramento Southern Excursion Train.

    California State Railroad Museum
    111 I Street
    Sacramento, California 95814
    (916) 445-6645
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  • Wells Fargo History Museum is located off Interstate 5 from the J Street exit. It's located at two locations in Sacramento, one near the Capitol and the other in Old Sacramento State Historic Park in the historic Hastings building. Exhibits and artifacts include an authentic 1866 stagecoach, working telegraph, real gold from Gold Country, interactive Pony Express experience and more.

    Wells Fargo History Museum (Old Sac)
    1000 Second Street
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    (916) 440-4263
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  • Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum

    Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum is located off Interstate 5 at the south end of Old Sacramento State Historic Park. It is a living replica of an 1800's American schoolhouse and features a pot-bellied stove, vintage student desks and other period furnishings of the period. Volunteers dressed as schoolmarms and school masters are there to lead mock lessons and answer questions.

    Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum
    1200 Front Street
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    (916) 483-8818
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  • image provided by the California Automobile Museum

    California Automobile Museum is located off Interstate 5 from the Q Street exit. Situated just south of Old Sacramento State Historic Park, it features hundreds of automobiles and artifacts on display from an 1885 High-Wheeler bicycle to a modern day hydrogen-powered BMW. Vehicles include classics, muscle cars, exotics, Shelbys, Indy Cars, NASCARs, hot rods, European sports cars and more. Banquet facilities available including a 1950's-style ice cream parlor.

    California Automobile Museum
    2200 Front Street
    Sacramento, CA 95818
    (916) 442-6802
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California State Indian Museum is located off Interstate 80 off the J or N Street exits. It's situated next to Sutter's Fort and includes artifacts from many of the dozens of tribes that once existed in California. Artifacts include traditional baskets, a redwood dugout canoe, ceremonial head dress, jewelry, dolls, hunting & fishing tools and much more. Some weapons and tools are more than twenty-four hundred years old. A hands-on exhibit allows visitors to use Indian tools as they would have been used hundreds of years ago.

California State Indian Museum
2618 K Street
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 324-0971

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Stanford Mansion

Leland Stanford Mansion is located off Interstate 5 off the Q Street exit. Situated in Downtown Sacramento only one block from the State Capitol, the Stanford Mansion is an historic 1800's Victorian home that today serves as a museum and California's official reception center, where the Governor and Legislature meet with dignitaries from other states and countries. The mansion features crystal chandeliers, gilded mirrors and rich wood accents. Guided tours are mandatory and include an orientation film about the mansion's history. Stanford was the founder of Stanford University.

Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park
800 N Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 324-0575

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Governor's Mansion

The Governor's Mansion is located in downtown Sacramento at H and 16th Sreets. This Victorian mansion was constructed in 1877 and has been the home to California Governors since 1903. Earl Warren and Ronald Reagan were among the last to stay at the mansion. Visitors are welcome to tour the mansion on docent-led tours. Period furnishings and lavishly ornate architecture embellish the home.

TIP: If you tour the mansion near Christmas you'll be greeted with fresh-baked cookies, holiday lighting and Christmas carolers in the Parlor Room.

Governor's Mansion State Historic Park
1526 H Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 323-3047

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The Discovery Museum is located off Interstate 80 from West Avenue. Situated in Del Paso Park, it features a Challenger Learning Center, Planetarium, hands-on Archaeology Dig, Nature Discovery Room and Robotics Lab. Learn about NASA Space Shuttle missions, space & our solar system, invertebrates, insects, robots, dinosaurs, fossils and more.

The Discovery Museum Science & Space Center
3615 Auburn Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95821
(916) 575-3942

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Aerospace Museum of California is located off Interstate 80 from West Avenue. Situated at McClellan Airfield, it features dozens of aircraft including a Sikorsky 'Jolly Green Giant' helicopter, Blue Angel's A-4, F-14 Tomcat, A-10 Warthog, Russian MIGs, Coast Guard Albatross and more. Exhibits include a Norden Bomb Sight, art collection, engines, flight simulators and a hands-on Fun with Physics interactive exhibit.

Aerospace Museum of California
3200 Freedom Park Drive
North Highlands, CA 95652
(916) 643-3192

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Wells Fargo History Museum is located off Interstate 5 from J Street exit. It stands at two locations in Sacramento, one near the Capitol and the other in Old Sacramento State Historic Park in the historic Hastings building. Exhibits and artifacts include an authentic 1866 stagecoach, working telegraph, real gold from Gold Country, interactive Pony Express experience and more.

Wells Fargo History Museum (Downtown)
400 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 440-4161

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California State Capitol

The State Capitol is located off Interstate 5 in downtown Sacramento. Daily tours of the Capitol are offered on the hour of every day except major holidays. The Capitol grounds include 40 acres of park which contains gardens and memorials to important Californian figures and veterans of war.

California State Capitol Museum
10th and L Streets
Sacramento, California 95814
(916) 324-0333

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Sutter's Fort is located in the heart of Sacramento between K & L and 26th & 28th streets. The fort was established in 1839 by Swiss immigrant, John Sutter who called it New Helvetia (New Switzerland). This was Sacramento's first non-Indian settlement and was the main destination for settlers crossing the Sierra Nevada. In 1847, the first few men from the Donner Party reached the fort and aid was sent to save the remaining settlers. The fort was overrun by gold miners in 1849 and today has been rebuilt to its former state.

Sutter's Fort State Park
2701 L Street
Sacramento, California 95816
(916) 445-4422

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Old City Cemetery is located south of downtown Sacramento off Interstate 5. This is the cemetery that many of Gold Country's notables and early pioneers are buried. Visit the graves of John Sutter, Jr., Edwin Crocker, Mark Hopkins, cholera victims, Old Fellows members, Masonic members and Soldiers of the Spanish American War. In addition to grave sites the cemetery also include a rose garden and memorials to firefighters, the Battleship Maine and more. The Old City Cemetery is very picturesque with elaborate ironwork, manicured gardens and impressive headstones & mausoleums.

Old City Cemetery
1000 Broadway
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 448-0811

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Downieville Museums

Underground Gold Miners Museum is located south of Highway 49 from Downieville. It displays artifacts, documents, photos and stories related to the Alleghany Mining District. Depictions of the life and hardships of underground miners and mining operations are on display.

Underground Gold Miners Museum
Alleghany Mining Museum
356 Main Street
Alleghany, CA 95910
(530) 287-3330

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Downieville Museum is located off Highway 49 north of I-80. It is situated in an historic 1852 building that was originally constructed by Chinese emigrants. It displays Gold Rush era artifacts from the region.

Downieville Museum
330 Main Street
Downieville, CA 95936
(530) 289-3423

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Kentucky Mine Museum is located off Highway 49 east of Downieville. The Kentucky Mine includes a park, original stamp mill and museum containing artifacts from the gold mining era.

Kentucky Mine Museum
100 Kentucky Mine Road
Sierra City, CA 96125
(530) 862-1310

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Nevada City Museums

Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is located off Highway 49 (20) from Gold Flat Road. They Narrow Gauge Railroad began in 1876 to haul supplies into, and gold out of, Gold Country. It features many different railcars including engines, boxcars, coaches, tank cars and more. Also on display is a 1901 steam car built by a local miner operator and a rail bus.

Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum
5 Kidder Court
Nevada City, CA 95959
(530) 470-0902

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Firehouse No.1 Museum is located off Highway 49 in downtown Nevada City. This was once a fire station from 1861 to 1938 when fire engines were horse-drawn wagons and handcarts. It houses a collection of Indian basketry, Donner Party relics, a Chinese temple and artifacts from the daily life of gold country families including firearms, children's toys, glass bottles, Victorian clothing and more.

Firehouse No.1 Museum
214 Main Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
(530) 265-5468

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North Bloomfield Museum is located 11 miles north of Nevada City. Situated deep in the forest off Highway 49, Malakoff Diggins is the site of a former hydraulic strip mining operation. Local streams were harnessed and used to wash entire mountains away in pursuit of gold. This process was eventually banned but not before suffering the scars that are evident at Malakoff Diggins. It documents the history of the old North Bloomfield mining town that supported Malakoff Diggins.

North Bloomfield Museum
Malakoff Diggins State Park
23579 North Bloomfield Road
Nevada City, CA 95959
(530) 265-2740

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Grass Valley Museums

Empire Mine Museum is located at the intersections of highways 20 and 49 northeast of Sacramento. Empire Mine was one of the oldest, largest, deepest, longest and richest gold mines in California. The grounds include the owner's home and gardens, original mine buildings and equipment and a museum. The 3 dimensional model of the 367 miles of shafts below the surface is impressive. Be sure to go out back and look down the shaft that miners used to be catapulted into.

Empire Mine Museum
10791 East Empire Street
Grass Valley, CA 95959
(530) 273-8522

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Northstar Mining Museum is located at the intersection of Highways 49 and 20. The Northstar Mine Powerhouse & Pelton Wheel Museum features a powerhouse building and massive mining equipment used during hydraulic mining operations that were banned in 1884. See hundreds of mining artifacts including a working stamp mill, ore cars, Cornish pump and the largest Pelton Wheel ever constructed. Several displays depict the life and struggle of miners during the Gold Rush.

Northstar Powerhouse
Pelton Wheel Museum
10933 Allison Ranch Road
Grass Valley CA 95945
(530)273-4255

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Auburn Museums

Placer County Museum, Auburn

Placer County Museum is located on Maple Street off Interstate 80, east of Sacramento. Housed in the original courthouse building, this historic 1889 building features colonial architecture with a bell tower, dome and classic columns. The original jail, treasurers office and courthouse are now displays of the county's gold mining history, Indian artifacts, an original stagecoach and gift shop.

Placer County Museum
101 Maple Street
Auburn, CA 95603
(530) 889-6500

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Bernhard Museum is situated at the entrance to the Gold Country Fairgrounds south of Auburn. This historic 1851 hotel is filled with artifacts and furnishings from a bygone era. The grounds feature several historic building including a small winery.

Bernhard Museum
291 Auburn Folsom Road
Auburn, CA 95603
(530) 889-6500

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The Gold Country Museum is located in the Gold Country Fairgrounds south of Auburn. It displays artifacts from the Gold Rush. All gold mining methods are represented from panning to hard rock and hydraulic mining. Docents are on hand to show you how mining was done and even teach you how to pan your own gold in a hands-on panning stream.

Gold Country Museum
Gold Country Fairgrounds
1273 High Street
Auburn, CA 95603
(530) 889-6500

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Forest Hill Divide Museum is located off Forest Hill Road east of Auburn. Exhibits and artifacts focus on mining, geology, Native Americans, timber and home life in the Forest Hill region. Exhibits include a working blacksmith shop, original jail and a 1931 fire truck.

Forest Hill Divide Museum
24601 Harrison Street
Foresthill, CA 95631
(530) 889-6500

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Placerville Museums

Marshall Gold Discovery Museum, Coloma

Marshall Gold Discovery Museum is located on Highway 49 between Placerville and Auburn in Coloma. This is where the 1849 Gold Rush all began. This is the site of Sutter's sawmill where in 1848, James W. Marshall found a gold at the bottom of his sawmill. A reproduction of the original sawmill stands at the original location along the river. Many original structures still stand throughout the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park. Items on display from the Gold Rush era including weapons, tools, a stagecoach and Indian artifacts.

Marshall Gold Discovery Museum
310 Back Street
Coloma, California 95613
(530) 622-3470

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El Dorado County Historical Museum is located on Placerville Drive off Highway 50, east of Sacramento. Many Indian artifacts are on display from the Maidu, Miwok and Washoe tribes of the region. This was the county where gold was originally discovered at Sutter's Mill and many Gold Rush era artifacts are on display. Some of these include wagons, stage coaches, stamp mills and even a general store.

El Dorado County Historical Museum
104 Placerville Drive
Placerville, CA 95667
(530) 621-5865

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Gold Bug Mine

Hattie's Museum is located off Bedford Avenue in Placerville. The property includes a mine shaft, stamp mill, blacksmith shop, museum and other historic buildings. Take self guided tour approximately 100 yards into an actual gold mine offers numbered markers with mining tutorials. Visitors are required to wear hard hats due to the low ceiling in some points. See a towering stamp mill where granite rocks from the mine were pounded for processing. Local historians are on-hand to answer questions and give interesting facts. Gold panning available.

Hattie's Museum
Gold Bug Park
2635 Goldbug Lane
Placerville, California 95667
(530) 642-5207

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Fountain & Tallman Museum is located at Highways 49 and 50 in downtown Placerville. Situated in an historic 1852 brick building that produced soda water for miners during the Gold Rush. It is the oldest building in Placerville and houses a museum with local artifacts.

Fountain & Tallman Museum
524 Main Street
Placerville, CA 95667
(530) 626-0773

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Jackson Museums

Chaw-Se Indian Museum, Indian Grinding Rocks State Park

Chaw-Se Indian Museum is located off Highway 88 southeast of Sacramento. It's part of Indian Grinding Rocks State Park which features hundreds of mortar holes formed from Indians grinding acorns into flour. This is the largest collection of Indian mortars found anywhere in North America. Miwok artifacts and depictions of daily life long before the Gold Rush are on display. The Miwok tribe continue to hold gatherings at the Roundhouse on the property.

Chaw-Se Indian Museum
Indian Grinding Rocks State Park
14881 Pine Grove-Volcano Road
Pine Grove, California 95665
(209) 296-7488

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Amador County Museum is located off Highway 49 in downtown Jackson. It's situated in an historic 1859 home that was built by one of Jackson's earliest settlers. Exhibits focus on gold mining, 1800's fashion, quilts, Native Americans, the Chinese and more.

Amador County Museum
225 Church Street
Jackson, CA 95642
(209) 257-1485

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Angels Camp Museums

Calaveras County Museum is located off Highway 49 on Main Street in San Andreas. It's contained within the historic Calaveras County Courthouse. The grounds include a jail yard where prisoners were housed, hung and buried. The courthouse is still in operation and houses many artifacts from the Gold Rush era. Other artifacts include those left by Chinese immigrants and those of local Indian tribes. The Camanche Catholic Church was moved here when the Camanche Reservoir was filled in with water.

Calaveras County Museum
30 North Main Street
San Andreas, California 95249
(209)754-4658

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Angels Camp Museum

Angels Camp Museum is located off Highway 49 north of Downtown Angels Camp. Situated at the site of a former quartz mine, it focuses on Angels Camp and the Mother Lode region. Enjoy indoor and outdoor displays including carriages, wagons, historic structures, ore cars and a working model of a stamp mill. Learn about the contribution of Chinese immigrants and see an historic red schoolhouse. Enjoy a picnic under the oak trees at China Gulch, where original 49ers once panned for gold.

Angels Camp Museum
753 S. Main Street
Angels Camp, CA 95222
(209) 736-2963

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Ironstone Vineyards Museum is located off Highway 4 just outside of the historic town of Murphys. It features a 44-pound gold nugget that was discovered by the local Sonora Mining Company on Christmas Day, in 1992. The grounds at Ironstone Vineyards are a beautiful place to visit and should not be missed. A restaurant, tasting room, amphitheater and more are open to the public. Gold panning with lessons is offered at the creek that runs through the property.

Ironstone Vineyards
1894 Six Mile Road
Murphys, CA 95247
(209) 728-1251

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Murphys Old-Timers Museum is located off Highway 4 in downtown Murphys. It features artifacts from the rich Gold Rush history of the Murphys region including Murphys Diggins, President Grant, Mark Twain and Black Bart.

Murphys Old-Timers Museum
470 Main Street
Murphys, CA 95247
(209) 728-1160

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Jamestown Museums

Columbia State Historic Park is located 3 miles north of Sonora on Highway 49. This is a well preserved gold mining town with historic buildings, live entertainment, stagecoach rides and workers dress in era clothing. The William Cavalier Museum houses Gold Rush era artifacts including tools and equipment used by miners and early fire departments.

William Cavalier Museum
Columbia State Historic Park
22708 Broadway
Columbia, California 95310
(209) 532-0150

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Railtown 1897 Museum, Jamestown

Railtown 1897 is located in Jamestown off highway 49 at 5th Avenue and Reservoir Road. This is an operational railroad museum and train depot. Featured attraction is a short, historic, steam locomotive ride through gold country and back. The grounds include several historic trains, some of which were used in movies, a roundhouse, blacksmith shop and gift shop.

Railtown 1897 SHP
18115 5th Avenue
Jamestown, California 95327
(209) 984-3953

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Tuolumne County Museum is located off Highway 49 in downtown Sonora. Situated in the historic 1866 Tuolumne County Jail, it features the jail itself as well as jail artifacts, Gold Rush artifacts, firearms, clothing, photographs and more.

Tuolumne County Museum
158 Bradford Street
Sonora, CA 95370
(209) 532-1317

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Mariposa Museums

Coulterville Museum is located off Highway 49 in downtown Coulterville. It features artifacts and photographs depicting the life and struggle of pioneers heading west during the Gold Rush.

Coulterville Museum
10301 Highway 49
Coulterville, CA 95311
(209) 878-3015

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California State Mining and Mineral Museum is located off Highway 49 south of the Highway 140 junction. It represents an original 1800's mine and stamp mill and contains over 13,000 gold mining related objects. See the rare 13.8-pound 'Fricot Nugget' at this site which was once the rich Mariposa Vein.

California State Mining and Mineral Museum
5007 Fairgrounds Road
Mariposa, CA 95338
(209) 742-7625

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Mariposa County Museum is located off Highway 49 just north of the Highway 140 junction. Situated in downtown Mariposa, this history museum showcases the history of Mariposa County. Along with historic items on display, it also features several historic structures including gold stamp mills, a newspaper office, working blacksmith shop and broom making shop. Try your luck at gold panning with a volunteer that will show you how.

Mariposa County Museum & History Center
5119 Jessie Street
Mariposa, CA 95338
(209) 966-2924

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