Main Street, U.S.A. |

Main Street, U.S.A.

by Jo Rafferty

An old-fashioned stroll down Main Street is what’s offered at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center, and students can see it free on Student Day, the first Saturday of every month.

There are a dozen new exhibits, with seven included in the Main Street exhibit and five more upstairs. In the basement, along two hallways, which intersect at the corner of Main and Hi School streets, are windows topped with awnings revealing shops that one would have seen in the early 20th century. Visitors can see a doctor’s office, drug store with a soda fountain, a telephone office display with an operator and telephone pole repairman at work, a barbershop, an early Record-Courier office and more.

“It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting,” said Douglas County Historical Society member Laurie Hickey. “It could be a Main Street anywhere, and even though it might not be the same Main Street from everybody’s memories, in one of the windows they’ll see something they remember.”

The Main Street exhibit was an idea the exhibit committee came up with about a year ago. Brand new carpeting was being installed and while they were moving things around, committee members decided they wanted to start fresh and create something new for the public to see.

Across the hall from the Main Street exhibit is a timeline specific to the early years of Carson Valley.

“We put the timeline here because it relates to Main Street and what’s going on in the exhibits,” said Hickey.

Building a Main Street has been an ongoing process, with the final portion of the exhibit, the drug store, finished last weekend. Next on the list of things to do is putting in street lights that really light up, according to Hickey.

New exhibits upstairs are: “Mining of the Sierra,”; a Tahoe-Glenbrook exhibit that shows both logging and the resort; a ranch and Native American exhibit; and an exhibit about ferris wheels.

The museum offers free student tours, for the student and an accompanying adult, on Student Day, the first Saturday of each month.

The first Student Day in February, five children arrived for their free tour, and this month’s Student Day on Saturday attracted 10 students. This month, students were treated to a re-enactment by Hickey, who portrayed Carson Valley pioneer Sarah Jane Kinsey.

Regular museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Museum entrance fees are $3 for adults, $2 for ages 6-18, and historical society members and children age 5 and younger are free.

On Student Day, students and accompanying adults may arrive at 10 a.m., noon or 2 p.m. for their free tour led by costumed guides. To find out more or to book a group for a tour, call the museum at 782-2555.

“These kinds of things are a perfect opportunity to get the kids to learn about their local history where they live, and in a fun way,” said Hickey.

— Jo Rafferty can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 210.