The mine dumps seen all around Virginia City are the largest ones in the world, created by miners working at depths of 3,000 feet.

Learn about Virginia City's history »

Virginia City Museums

Keeping the History Alive Through Virginia City Museums

Virginia City's history comes alive with its 17 museums featuring the most striking moments in the town's past, from Mark Twain's eloquent writing, to the critical importance of police and fire in the area, and the famous Madame Julia Bulette.

The Mark Twain Museum at the Territorial Enterprise celebrates one of the literary world's famous residents and his connection to Virginia City. Arriving in Virginia City as Samuel Clemens, it was while working at the Territorial Enterprise, the most notable of the 17 newspapers published in the Comstock, that he began using the penname Mark Twain. The museum on C Street has his desk on display, and although you can't touch it, maybe some of his creativity will rub off.

The Way It Was Museum takes visitors back in time to show what daily life was like in Virginia City's heyday. See the works of milling and mining with old Cornish pumps, mineral collections, a fully-equipped blacksmith shop, Victorian women's attire of the era, rare photographs and information on the Sutro tunnel.

The historic Fourth Ward School and Museum is the last four story school building of its kind still standing in the U.S. Due to safety regulations, most multi-level school buildings were destroyed due to the risk of fire. Visitors to the Fourth Ward School can sit in the same wooden desks that students did in 1876, when the school was built.

Law enforcement in the Wild West was a tough and dangerous job. For that, the Silver State National Peace Officers Museum was installed in the 1876 Storey County Jail inside the historic courthouse on B Street as a way of honoring the men who served to protect. Inside, the museum features local and state exhibits including the death mask worn by notorious criminal John Dillinger.

With all of that wood, heat and activity on the Comstock, fire was a real danger that showed its force more than once, including the Great Fire of 1875, which leveled much of the town. Visitors can get a glimpse of the contributions from the men who fought them by checking out the Comstock Firemen's Museum. The volunteer firemen of the Virginia City area were members of a system dating back to the first American Fire Co. organized by Benjamin Franklin.

Miners, millers, firemen and other men - who greatly outnumbered the women on the Comstock - were served well by one of Virginia City's famous residents, Madame Julia Bulette. The Julia Bulette Red Light Museum highlights the life and times of this extraordinary woman, who cared for the sick in their time of need.

For more information on Virginia City's 17 museums, see below.

 

Museums and More Information: