Museums in Chico, CA

 
 

Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park

Born in 1819, John Bidwell led the first overland expedition to California when he was 22. When he struck gold on the Feather River near Oroville, he bought 26,000 acres beside Chico Creek, and in 1860 founded Chico. In 1868, after having served two years as a Washington congressman, he and Annie Kennedy were married with President Johnson attending. Soon the Bidwells moved to Chico and worked in many causes including Indian education and women’s suffrage.

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Chico Air Museum

Opened in 2005, the Chico Air Museum, has both an outdoor display area and an indoor facility. The indoor area features four aviation exhibits with additional displays and artifacts being added. Initial exhibits include Thaddeus Kerns, Chico’s first pilot; the Chico Army Airfield located at the airport during WWII; aerial firefighting and its evolution; and a display featuring aircraft today.

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Chico Museum

You can’t be too sure of what you’ll find at the Chico Museum, in this distinctive old 1904 Carnegie Library building, since the museum offers both permanent and rotating exhibits, but one thing that’s certain is that it’s always interesting. On permanent display are artifacts from Chico’s Chinese Temple, 19th century musical instruments, and other historical artifacts and photos of Chico and the surrounding area. Lectures, slide shows, and seminars are offered. Call for a calendar and newsletter.

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Colman (Centerville) Memorial Community Museum

You’ll discover the charming 1894 Centerville School and the adjoining museum. Colman Museum  houses local Indian artifacts, including a beautiful basket collection, late 1800’s mining equipment, including gold scales and ledgers from the many general stores, tools, and relics of the Civil War era. There’s also a display on the Centerville Powerhouse, the oldest in California. The old Centerville Cemetery is known for its historic headstones.

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Gateway Science Museum

The Gateway Science Museum’s mission it to inspire the exploration of science and natural history, in our region and beyond! Providing engaging science exhibits, programming,  and educational activities for visitors of all ages.

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National Yo-Yo Museum

Awarded the most popular toy of the 20th Century, the Yo-Yo continues to be very popular with all ages. Visit the largest display of Yo-Yo memorabilia in the nation.Ninety years of Yo-Yo artifacts are on display here, and you’ll most likely feel like you’re a kid again just experiencing this collection. The display includes photos, competition awards, and Yo-Yo’s from the 1920’s through today, as well as the world’s largest Yo-Yo at 50 inches in height and weighing 256 pounds.

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Patrick Ranch

The 28-acre Patrick Ranch is Chico’s newest historical attraction, reflecting the agricultural, cultural, social, and economic history of the North Sacramento Valley. Annual events there include an old-fashioned Threshing Bee & Antique Equipment Show held in June, complete with draft horses and vintage farm equipment. AutumnFest, with free children’s activities, farmhouse tours, an animal exhibit is held there in October.

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Stansbury House

Built by Dr. & Mrs. Oscar Stansbury in 1883, this home was designed in the Italianate Victorian style and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the most original and unaltered homes in California. Because family members lived here until 1974, it contains many of the family’s original pieces. Visiting here is a step into another era.

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Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology

The Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology offers exhibitions, lectures, children’s programs and K-12 outreach. In the spring of each year, Museum Studies students design and install an exhibition with a wide variety of anthropological themes. Past exhibits include: The Artic, Global Tourism, The Maidu, Human and Animal Relationships, and many more.

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