Thursday, April 21, 2016

All Summer Long!

The Heritage Trail has been a successful event for eight great years, but one issue has plagued it from the beginning. How do folks visit all 18-20 museums in a weekend? The truth is you can’t – at least not if you obey all traffic laws.

So, with that in mind (and with a nod to the CHP) we’ve decided to make a big change. This year, The Heritage Trail is not a weekend event, but a summer-long adventure with clusters of museums having their Heritage Trail free admission day from June through Labor Day weekend. With this new format, other museums that have not been able to participate now can. The Fruitvale School, which was a Heritage Trail regular the first couple years, is back. The Sierra College Natural History Museum will participate for the first time! Also new this year is the DeWitt History Museum that will have a sneak peek opening on Friday, September 2nd.

If you can’t make it to any of the museums’ free admission days, you have the summer to visit them during regular hours of operation. Most have free admission and those that do charge are quite reasonable. Instead of four museums stamps on your Get-up-and-Go cards to qualify for a gift basket drawing, you’ll need 16. But if you turn in a fully stamped card, you’ll get a surprise along with your entry into the drawing – more on that in a later post.

Below is the full calendar. 

These dates and times are now locked in!
Click on the links below for info about individual museums.

June 11th 10:00-4:00Roseville Historical Society Carnegie Museum and The Roseville Fire Museum 

June 18th 10:00 – 4:00The Bernhard Museum, the Benton Welty School Room and the Gold Rush Museum

July 9th 10:00 – 4:00The Maidu Museum and Historic Site, the Roseville Telephone Museum, the Roseville Public Library and Walking Tours of Old Roseville 

July 16th 10:00 – 4:00The Placer County Museum (Courthouse), the Auburn Joss House and The Gold Country Medical History Museum 

July 23rd 10:00 – 4:00The Gatekeepers Museum, the Museum of Sierra Ski History and the 1960 Winter Olympics, and  Watson Cabin

August 6th 8:00 am – Noon – Griffith Quarry Museum and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm The Rocklin History Museum

August 13th 10:00 – 4:00 – The Golden Drift Museum, The Colfax Area Heritage Museum, the Donner Summit Historical Society Museum, Donner Summit tour of Summit Canyon (Lincoln Hwy, Hwy 40, Transcontinental RR, Emigrant Wagon trains)

August 14th 10:00 amDonner Summit Tour of Summit Canyon 

August 27th 8:00 am - Noon -- The Sierra College Natural History Museum

September 2nd 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm – The DeWitt History Museum (Sneak Peek Opening)

September 3rd, 4th 10:00 – 4:00The Forest Hill Divide Museum (Heritage Days)

Friday, September 11, 2015


The results are in and the winners of our Get Up and Go drawing have all picked up their baskets. Congratulation to everyone who came out for the Heritage Trail, you're all winners in our book!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2015 Bus Tour

Take a ride on the Heritage Trail!

Though we encourage everyone to drive, ride, walk, pedal or hitch-up a wagon to enjoy the Heritage Trail, we do offer two bus trips to some of the museums in the higher elevation. On Saturday, August 15th we have a bus chartered to bring trail goers to Tahoe City where they will visit the new Museum of Sierra Ski History and the 1960 Winter Olympics, Waston Cabin and the Gatekeepers Museum. The final museum stop with be at the Donner Summit Historical Society Museum in Norden.

On Sunday August 16th, the bus will make stops at the Donner Summit Historical Society Museum, the Golden Drift Museum in Dutch Flat, the Colfax Area Heritage Museum and the Forest Hill Divide Museum. We ask everyone to pack their own lunch although there are some eateries within walking distance of the Gatekeepers Museum, which is the Saturday lunch stop. Each seat costs $10 each day.

For more information or to reserve your seat, please call 530-889-6500.

Friday, June 5, 2015

2015 Trail Online Guide

For those of you who use smartphones and want to have access to the trail guide in a text based format, This blog post should do the trick. Click on the names of the museums to get maps of their locations.

AUGUST 15 & 16, 2015 
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Welcome Trail Travelers! 
We are glad you decided to join us on the 2015 Heritage Trail Museums Tour. This is the 8th year for the event and 20 museums from Roseville to Tahoe are opening their doors free of charge on August 15th & 16th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All 20 museums are committed to showcasing history in a fun and entertaining way. For many Trail Travelers, this event has become a family tradition. Whether you are from Auburn, Reno, San Francisco, or Boston, you will enjoy this opportunity to take a trip back in time and get a better understanding of Placer County’s rich and colorful history. Each museum on the tour is unique. Aside from immersing yourselves in history, you will enjoy the variety of settings at each museum.

Many of the museums will offer food and beverages including cookies, hand churned ice cream, root beer floats, lemonade and water. Most museums have restroom facilities available. Look for the symbols in the museum’s description.

The museums are grouped in three clusters and are easy to reach from Interstate 80. Seven Valley Museums are located in South Placer. Six Auburn Museums are located within one mile of the Historic Courthouse. Seven Mountain Museums are located in the Sierra Nevada and the north shore of Lake Tahoe. We encourage you to visit several museums during the two day event. This Trail Guide will help you find your way and we invite you back to visit those museums that you missed any time during the year.

Thanks again for joining us. We hope you have a great time!
Ralph Gibson
Placer County Museums Administrator
Chairperson, The Heritage Trail

• For the most up to date information on The Heritage Trail, visit our blog at
• You can begin at any of the 20 participating museums which are identified by red, white and blue trail signs and banners.
• All directions are from Interstate 80 going west to east. Maps are included.
• For questions during the event, call any museum. A phone number is listed for each.
• Eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted in the museums.
• Leave pets at home.
• You’ll want to bring your camera. Inquire at each museum for flash photography guidelines.
• Be sure to pick up your FREE Get Up & Go card at the first museum you visit. Enjoy the Trail!

• This is a self guided tour and your participation is voluntary. Please do not hold the Tour Committee, presenters or museum partners responsible for any injury to you, your family, or property.
• You and your family may be photographed during the event and these photos are the property of the Placer County Museums Division.

1970 Johnson Ranch Drive, Roseville
916-774-5934 •
Explore an ancient Indian site where Valley Nisenan Maidu Indians lived for thousands of years. Discover native plants and over 400 bedrock-grinding holes. Experience the unique and rare sandstone petroglyphs. There will be hands-on children’s activities, historic site guided tours and an Indigenous art gallery. The Museum Gift Shop offers a wide selection of books about Native Californians, handmade jewelry, minerals, arrowheads, nature-related items, snacks and drinks. Saturday and Sunday 10:00 & 1:00: Guided tours of the museum and nature trail. Self-guided tours all day.

Normal Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 9:00-4:00, and Saturday 9:00-1:00

557 Lincoln Street, Roseville • 916-773-3003
The museum is housed in a 102-year-old building with a very eclectic collection of items. There is a working model railroad, old toys, irons, tools, business cameras and even a horse drawn carriage. There will be marble games for children, an interactive picture game for all, as well as a video of pictures of old Roseville Directions: Take Atlantic/Eureka off ramp. Go West on Atlantic to Yosemite. Turn right on Yosemite St. and go to stop sign. Turn left on Sierra Blvd. Museum is on your right. Public parking is on the left as you come off the bridge.

 Normal Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday 12:00- 4:00 and every 2nd Saturday 12:00-4:00

400 Lincoln Street, Roseville, CA
(916) 538-1809 •
The Roseville Fire Museum celebrates the rich history of the Roseville Fire Department, local agencies, and the fire service through a collection of historical artifacts, pictures, and videos. We educate the public on current operations of the Roseville Fire Department and personal fire & life safety. Take a tour of Roseville’s original Fire House during renovations. Timed Activities: Beginning at 10:00 a.m. we will provide at guided tour, every hour on the hour with our last tour at 3:00 p.m.

Normal hours of operation: The museum is not open and is under renovation.

106 Vernon Street,
Roseville • 916-786-1621
From magnetos to Mickey Mouse and everything in between, come absorb a little bit of telephone history. Presented by Consolidated Communications, formerly SureWest, this is among the most extensive collections of antique telephones and memorabilia in the nation. It’s fun, exciting and educational. Directions: From eastbound I-80, take Atlantic St.-Eureka Rd exit. Go west on Atlantic, stay straight to go onto Vernon St. The museum will be on your right.

Normal Hours of Operation: By appointment only.

640 Fifth Street, Old City Hall on the Plaza,
916-645-3800 •
View Nisenan artifacts, Native American arrow heads, Gladding McBean & Co. photographs and displays, gold scale from Van Trent Mine, military displays and Chinese baskets. Delight your eyes with restored buggies and a grain scale from the local Walter Jansen & Son. Enjoy an on-going wood burning stove cooking demonstration. Prize drawings each day include books written by our local historian Jerry Logan, lectures on tape, postcards and items from local merchants. Beverages and cookies available.

Normal Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Friday 11:00-3:00 and the 1st Saturday of each month 11:00-3:00.

3895 Rocklin Road, Rocklin
916-624-3464 •
Museum contains many photos of Rocklin pioneers, buildings and artifacts plus extensive story photos of J.P. Whitney’s land holdings and life in Rocklin. The basement contains antiqued quarry tools and railroad equipment. Saturday 11:15: Granite splitting demonstration and Antique Surface Splitting Machine explanation by Roy Ruhkala. Directions: From I-80, take the Rocklin Road exit. Turn west on Rocklin Road. The museum is one half mile at intersection of Rocklin Road and San Francisco Street, across from the City Hall. Park on San Francisco Street and enter museum’s back door.

Normal Hours of Operation: Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday 1:00-4:00

Taylor and Rock Springs Roads, Penryn
916-663-1837 •
Step back in time, literally, at the beautiful 23 acre Griffith Quarry Park and Museum this weekend! Come see our exhibits highlighting the early history of the granite industry in Placer County and a 1908 era Horse-Drawn wagon. Directions: From I-80 eastbound take the Penryn exit, turn left on Penryn Road then right on Taylor (approx 1/2 mile). Follow Taylor Road to top of hill, then right on Rock Springs. Entrance to Quarry will be on your immediate right.

 Normal Hours of Operation: Saturday and Sunday 12:00-4:00

101 Maple Street • 530-889-6500
The museum provides an overview of Placer County history from Pleistocene fossils through the construction of I-80. Highlights include the Pate Collection of American Indian Artifacts, a mid-19th century printing press, and a large gold collection. Activities include: Alma Bell in the Women’s Jail (she was arrested for murdering her lover in 1909); author Art Sommers will be on hand to sell and sign his books (Auburn, Placer County, Dutch Flat and Donner Summit); The Placer County Genealogical Society will be present to answer questions about family research; and our “Deputy Sheriff” will help you make your own historic “mug shot” (bring your own camera!).

 Normal Hours of Operation: Daily 10:00-4:00

219-100 Maple Street • 530-887-1915
The restored Victorian that houses the Medical Museum is on the site of the first hospital in Placer County, est. in 1855. Medical, dental and nursing implements, equipment, furnishings, pharmaceuticals, ephemera, and local history are displayed, plus a collection of “quackery” gizmos and gadgets. View a real doctor’s buggy in the carriage house. Activities include: demonstrations of quackery. Get “zapped” and “cured”; ongoing tours and explanations offered by qualified personnel; M&M pills dispensed by Dr. Feelgood as needed to cure moods, pains, and grouchiness in young and old; a prize drawing for Bleed, Blister, and Purge, a book about medicine in the Gold Rush era.

Normal Hours of Operation: Currently open by appointment.


200 Sacramento Street, Old Town Auburn
Contact day of event: 530-346-7121
View circa 1880’s Auburn’s original Joss House Altar and artifacts from early Auburn Chinese community; a house museum with a Chinese school; Ling Ying Association meeting place; and a hostel for transient Chinese primarily from the mid 1920s to late 1960s.

Normal Hours of Operation: Open 1st Saturday of the month, 10:00-3:00


291 Auburn-Folsom Road, Auburn
530-889-6500 •
Join us at the Bernhard Museum for good old-fashioned fun! Curl your tongue and prepare to blow in our watermelon seed-spitting contest …or enter to win a prize for Best Pie. Visit with Mrs. Bernhard herself, visit her home and learn about the building’s history from Gold Rush inn to immigrant farm to beloved museum. Build a replica produce crate, and be sure to explore our old-fashioned toy station and the wagons restored by the Native Sons of the Golden West. Snacks will be available and the local Girl Scouts will sell water. Don’t miss the fabric art demonstrations and quilt show on the second floor of Mr. Bernhard’s 1874 Winery. Bonitata Boutique Wines will have a selection available for tasting below.

Normal Hours of Operation: Tuesday–Sunday 11:00-4:00


601 Lincoln Way, Auburn • 530-889-6500
After panning for gold with the Mother Lode Goldhounds, step inside the museum to uncover the many ways to Strike It Rich and enjoy exhibits on mining. Relax with a glass of lemonade before heading to the next museum.

Normal Hours of Operation: Tuesday–Sunday 11:00-4:00


1225 Lincoln Way, Auburn • 530-906-0712
Take a trip back to the 1920s at the Auburn Grammar School, built in 1915 and now Auburn’s City Hall. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Get a rare sense of old school days in a classroom packed with photos, scrapbooks, maps and old school books. Try your hand at string games and penmanship. Enter the free “just for kids” basket drawing. There is ample parking behind the building.

Normal Hours of Operation: Open by appointment only.


24601 Harrison Street, Foresthill
530-367-3988 •
Watch the blacksmiths craft period tools and get an up close look at the first motorized fire engine on the Divide. Be sure to visit our fascinating gold rush and lumber history exhibits. Bring your picnic and enjoy the park that surrounds the museum.

Normal Hours of Operation: Memorial Day to Labor Day Saturday and Sunday 12:00-4:00


99 Railroad Street, Colfax
530-346-8599 •
This charming museum features the history of the railroad, gold mining, fruit ranching and the struggles of our pioneer families, the Maidu, and the Chinese. Musical performances by the Begin Family and the Lyrical Locos and a gold mining display and demonstration can be enjoyed on Saturday. On Sunday there will be guitar music.

Normal Hours of Operation: 10:00-3:00 Daily


32820 Main Street, Dutch Flat
530-389-2126 •
Visit the best preserved Gold Rush town in Placer County. This museum is dedicated to the history of Gold Run, Dutch Flat, Alta, Towle and Baxter. Displays include a historical photo gallery, Indian projectile points, fraternal organization memorabilia, Chinese artifacts, and mining and railroad displays. Refreshments will be served. Saturday and Sunday 11:00: Docent led half hour walking tour of historic Dutch Flat.

Normal Hours of Operation: Memorial Day thru September: Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 12:00-4:00


21501 Donner Pass Road, Norden
530-308-9668 •
Donner Summit is the richest historical area in California: first wagon trains to California, first transcontinental highway, railroad, telephone line, and air route. On both Saturday and Sunday the DSHS will conduct tours of Summit Canyon, starting at the top and heading downhill to Truckee Donner Land Trust’s information kiosk. Car shuttles will be organized to take walkers back up after the three mile walk. During the walk we’ll talk about the Lincoln Highway, the first emigrant wagon trains, Native American Petroglyphs, China Wall, snowsheds, etc. – all examples of the richest historical square mile in California. There will be many stories. Meet 10 AM either day at Donner Pass at the Sugar Bowl Academy on Old Highway 40.

Normal Hours of Operation: Saturday and Sunday 10:00-4:00


130 West Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City
530-583-1762 •
The Gatekeeper’s Museum, featuring the Marion Steinbach Indian Basket Collection, is a reconstruction of the original Gatekeeper’s cabin. Today the museum showcases Tahoe history from the original Washoe inhabitants through the logging era and establishment of the tourism industry in Tahoe Basin. The Steinbach Indian Basket Collection displays a breathtaking collection of over 800 vintage and contemporary Native American baskets, jewelry, pottery, dolls and more from western North America. Saturday: Historic Tahoe City Walking Tour at 10 am. Meet outside the Blue Agave Restaurant, 425 N. Lake Blvd. Sunday: The Railroad Regulators will return this summer to maintain peace on the museum grounds.

Normal Hours of Operation: Daily 10:00-5:00


560 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City
530-583-8717 • Museum Phone Number: 530-583-1762
Built in 1909 by Robert Montgomery Watson as a wedding present for his son, the Watson Cabin is the oldest building constructed on-site in Tahoe City and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The cabin is set up as a typical Tahoe pioneer family dwelling from that era with many artifacts from the Watson family. Docent tours are available on site at the Watson Cabin.


760 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City
Visitors will learn the history of skiing in the Sierra and the history of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games. On display are hundreds of artifacts including official Olympic items such as skis, racing bibs, official results, promotional literature andparticipation mementos. Dozens of never before exhibited banners, souveniers and spectaculor memorabilia from the Batiste Family Collection are also on display. Recent additions include artifacts from the World War II history of the 10th Mountain Division and replicates of the skis used for 19th century ski racing in the Sierra Nevada.

Normal Hours of Operation: Daily 11:00-6:00

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The 2015 Trail Guide is Here

The files have been sent to the printer and the presses are running. Trail guides will be available at all twenty museums and at the Placer County display at the State Fair. If you're the kind of traveler who can't wait to get your hands on one, click the link below to download it right now.

Friday, May 29, 2015

What’s new on the Heritage Trail? Quite a lot!

New Museum: This year, the Museum of Sierra Ski History and the 1960 Winter Olympics will be on the tour. The exhibits include hundreds of artifacts including official Olympic items such as skis, racing bibs, official results, promotional literature and participation mementos. The collection includes items from the pre-Olympic days of Squaw Valley Ski Area. Exhibits will also show rarely seen conceptual drawings prepared by Walt Disney for planning of the VIII Olympic Winter Games and the original Olympic photo collection from Bill Briner, the official photographer of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games.

Recent additions include artifacts from the World War II history of the 10th Mountain Division and replicates of longboard skis used for 19th century ski racing in the Sierra Nevada. Other exhibits present Olympic memorabilia from the ski racing careers of Julia Macuso and Daron Rahlves.

The museum is on the second floor of the Boatworks Mall, 760 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City.

New Valley Museums Shuttles on Saturday Only: This year we will include two shuttles that will rotate between the seven valley museums. The shuttles will begin at 10:30 with one leaving the Maidu Museum in Roseville and another departing from the Roseville Historical Society Carnegie Museum. We hope once a shuttle drops you off at one museum, the second shuttle should be there to pick you up in about 45 minutes. This service is FREE! All you have to do is show any Heritage Trail ephemera such as a Trail Guide, Get-Up-And-Go card, postcard or bookmark and you are set for a free trip to the next museum. The shuttle service will run until 5:00 pm – a full hour after the museums close to make sure everyone makes it back to their cars.

Two Mountain Museums: Because of the Valley Museums shuttle, we will have the big bus to bring groups to the Mountain Museums. The Saturday Bus will bring groups to the three Tahoe City Museums with a final stop at the Donner Summit Historical Society Museum. The Sunday bus will bring groups to the Donner Summit Historical Society Museum, the Golden Drift Museum, the Colfax Area Heritage Museum and the Forest Hill Divide Museum. Seats on each bus are $10. Please call 530-889-6500 to make your reservation today!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hot Saturday

It's a hot Saturday but the Heritage Trail is in full swing.  If you need a Trail Guide, please scroll down to the post titled: "The Trail Guides are In!"

A couple of changes this year:

The Roseville Fire Museum is a new addition and the Gold Country Museum is open for a sneak peek at its new location at 601 Lincoln Way in Auburn.

I hope everyone has a great time on the trail!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Saturday and Sunday's Bus Tours Have Been Canceled

The good news about the Heritage Trail Bus Tour is that our driver is doing fine and he's on the mend. The bad news is that we've had to cancel both the Saturday and Sunday bus tours. So, if you were already signed up, please accept our sincerest apologies and a refund. We're super sorry. We will still have 20 museums open for you to visit.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's This Weekend!

The Heritage Trail is here! All 20 museums are doing last minute preparations for your visit. In the interest of clarity, we thought we'd post the names and links to the websites of all participating museums. And for you returning trail travelers, the Gold Country Museum (which is the museum that has the gold panning and lemonade) is moving to its new location at 601 Lincoln Way in downtown Auburn.

Valley Museums - located in South Placer

Auburn Museums - within one mile of the Historic Courthouse
Mountain Museums - located in the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe