Interest in preserving the history and artifacts of Fallon and Churchill County began in 1964, the year that Nevada celebrated its 100th birthday of statehood. In Fallon, centennial festivities included decorating the windows of Maine Street businesses with artifacts from the area’s past. After the 1964 festivities had ended, community volunteers were determined to establish a permanent repository for local history.
They did not have to wait very long. In 1967, benefactors Margaret and Alex Oser purchased the old Safeway building for Churchill County. Originally slated to become the library, when that board received a large grant to fund construction of a new library building, community volunteers, now officially organized as the non-profit Churchill County Museum Association (CCMA), lobbied the County Commissioners for a museum.
The Churchill County Museum & Archives opened its doors on July 4, 1968. Since that time, visitors have marveled at the generous contributions from area residents that comprise the displays, filling over 10,000 square feet of exhibit space. The Museum’s West Annex building, opened in 2000, adds another 4,000 square feet.
The building is owned by Churchill County, which also pays staff salaries. The artifacts are owned by the CCMA, which also funds the exhibits and public programs that are offered to community members and out-of-town visitors.
Our mission is to collect, preserve, exhibit and share those artifacts, photographs and documents that serve to illustrate the story of humans and nature in Churchill County; for understanding our heritage is basic to an understanding of the world we live in and gives us a better appreciation of our state and country.
The museum has a triple mission to serve. Currently, over 12,000 people visit the museum each year. Many are from Churchill County, but a large majority visit from all fifty states and many foreign countries. One part of this triple mission is to share our county’s history with these visitors.
The second part of our mission is to provide local people, adults and children, with programs that enlighten and teach. Special speakers, children’s events, CCMA newsletters, and our changing exhibits serve the community by sharing Churchill County’s past.
The last part of our mission is to ensure that our collections of Churchill County artifacts and archival papers are preserved. This means that the museum must continue to employ trained staff to store, catalog, and maintain our collections properly for future generations to enjoy.