California Gold Rush history can be experienced in 4 top-notch museums in Coloma and Placerville, California, right near Eden Vale Inn.
Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park
California Gold Rush history is the center of Coloma, California, where James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill. The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park has a great museum, outdoor exhibits, gold panning lessons, tours, and living history days on the second Saturday of the month.
Sutter’s Mill at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Coloma CA
Marshall Gold Discovery park is open every day. Tours and gold panning lessons are held several times a day. See Sutter’s Mill, Marshall’s Monument, and the blacksmith shop where volunteers make various iron items in front of your eyes. On second Saturdays history comes alive! Volunteer docents in period dress show and talk about aspects of pioneer life, such as tinsmithing, rope making, candle dipping, and old-fashioned log sawing. The activities are hands-on, and kids especially love doing these activities themselves.
Gold Bug Park and Hattie Museum
In Placerville, the Gold Bug Mine is a real mine that you can explore on self-led tours using headsets. You can also pan for gold there. The two-story Hattie Museum and Interpretive Center has gold rush history exhibits and a gift store. It’s all on 61 acres that have several easy walking trails and picnic areas, including a lovely spot by a stream. Make sure to see the Joshua Hendy Stamp Mill that recreates the large stamp mills used to crush ore. See the Gold Bug Park website for hours and admission.
El Dorado County Historical Society’s Fountain-Tallman Museum
The “biggest little museum in the West,” the Fountain-Tallman Museum is in the oldest building on Main Street Placerville CA, #524. This two-story building has exhibits of the California Gold Rush of 1848, through buttons and catalogs of 1895, to a telephone switchboard from 1926. Gold rush exhibits include the Miwok and Chinese workers, and the bible of Snowshoe Thompson who brought the mail no matter what.
Open Wed-Sun 11am-4pm. See the website for more details.
El Dorado County Historical Museum
This miniature of a mining site has moving trains – just ask the docent to turn it on!
California Gold Rush history is alive on Placerville Drive. Outdoor exhibits include logging transportation and train equipment. The museum itself is connected to real train rides on a historic train in the area – see the website for times. Inside are exhibits and artifacts on the gold rush and later. The museum has a bookstore, and a research room if you think you might have had family living in the area.