Nevada State Museum celebrates 75 years
Free tours and homemade cake. Medallion minting and Samuel Clemens.
Now that’s a 75th birthday.
The Nevada State Museum celebrated its anniversary Friday since opening in the former U.S. Mint Building Oct. 31, 1941.
As part of the Then & Now theme for this year’s Nevada Day observance, the celebration was a time to reflect on local history and heritage said Peter Barton, administrator of Nevada Division of Museums and History.
“We’re walking through ‘then’ in the museum,” he said. “Now is outside of the windows. We get to look back on how this community started while we also celebrate the city’s revitalizations.”
Hours before the grand opening of Carson Street, locals kicked off the birthday bash by taking behind-the-scene tours at collections not on display. That included artifacts from the Merci Train, Nevada’s natural history, and weaved baskets created by Washo Native American Dat-So-La-Lee.
As they explored the museum in their Battle Born shirts, Lillian Turner, 8, said she enjoyed learning about Nevada’s history with her sister, Grace, 7.
“It’s cool to be involved in these events and then go to the parade the next day,” she said.
Meanwhile in the Coin Press Room, Museum Curator Bob Nylen and Chief Coiner Ken Hopple casted 300 state medallions made from certified Nevada silver.
They intentionally minted 1,941 coins overall to match up with the museum’s year of debut. The rest of those coins were made of silver, but not from Nevada.
Nylen said he appreciated Judge Clark Guild, who raised community and financial support for the museum in 1941. Guild died in 1971.
“He completed his dream of making this museum possible,” he said. “Another dream he had was to complete his collection of Carson City minted coins. We’ve obtained majority of the collection in 1999, but we’re missing two. We’re going to get them.”
Guild’s family from across the country attended the event on his behalf. The Russell and Calhoun family also attended as their contributions are significant to the museum.
Barton then presented the first coin minted of the set to Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain impressionist, McAvoy Lane, followed by a proclamation from Governor Brian Sandoval deeming Oct. 31 to be Nevada State Museum Day.
After spending at least 20 hours baking and decorating, seniors of Carson High School’s culinary and graphic classes were proud to present their masterpiece.
The class baked 32 cakes to combine into one, with chocolate coins scattered for décor. Graphic design students assisted with the 3-D topping of the cake, which was the U.S. Mint building. Other toppers included a mimic of a weaved basket, skeletal model of a mammoth and the bell outside of the museum.
“The experience was fun but it’s even more amazing to see it all together,” said CHS senior chef Maya Vasquez. “After working hard on this for a month, it’s a big relief to see it in real life.”
The class received a minted coin as well. Barton and Russell family members help cut the cake with a sword.
“This project has been full of big efforts,” said Kasey Kemmet, CHS culinary instructor. “Many of the students came in during their days off or at lunch to work.”