‘The good, the bad and the ugly:’ New Truckee museum offers glimpse into area’s rich history
From the days of ice harvesting and carousing at one of the 28 bars that once lined Jibboom Street to the winter sports and hosting the Olympics, the rich history that makes up Truckee is now being displayed at the town’s new museum.
“Truckee is a true historic mountain town and to finally have a museum that captures this keeps alive our history,” said Truckee-Donner Historical Society volunteer Judy DePuy. “We don’t want people to forget.”
The Museum of Truckee History — at the east end of the Truckee train station, 10065 Donner Pass Road — opened May 8 to the public and features nine interactive displays that take visitors from the early Martis people up to modern times.
“We’ve had the good, the bad and the ugly, but we’ve always been able to land on our feet,” added DePuy.
The museum’s opening has been roughly five years in the making, and involved acquiring the space that used to house the Chamber of Commerce. From there, volunteers spent the past year and a half painting, replacing floors and ceilings, and doing other work in order to get the museum ready for its first guests.
The exhibits offer an interactive experience through a stylus, allowing guests to navigate their way through Truckee’s rich history. Of the nine displays, DePuy said she favors the history of the town’s ice harvesting industry. During that period in the late 1800s, workers cut massive blocks of ice from Boca, which, according to DePuy, led to the first bananas reaching the East Coast.
“Before, they’d go bad before they made it there,” she said.
Another highlight of the museum is the exhibit showing the growth of Truckee from the 1960s to today.
“It really shows what we’re doing as a town,” said DePuy. “It’s really encompassing of how Truckee is evolving.”
The Museum of Truckee History is currently open weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aside from the new museum, the Truckee-Donner Historical Society also operates the Old Jail Museum, the Truckee Railroad Museum, and the scaled down railroad that runs at Truckee River Regional Park. Ideally, DePuy said the new museum will move from weekends only to being open Thursday through Monday. A lack of volunteers, however, has limited the site’s hours during the first few weeks since opening.
“We have four venues that we have to have people volunteering at, and so we just don’t have enough people right now,” said DePuy. “With the pandemic it’s been hard. People are still a little nervous.”
For more information or to volunteer, visit http://www.truckeehistory.org.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643
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Nearly 900 volunteers came out to beautify the area by picking up litter as part of the 18th annual Truckee Day.