By Laura Ramos, Community Engagement Associate

What is one thing Merced, Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, Kings and Tulare county all have in common? They all have several museums welcoming the community to visit! In the spirit of International Museum Day (May 18), the Central Valley Community Foundation has rounded up a “few” museums in our six service counties. These institutions have committed their time and space to preserving a part of our communities’ history and help us become more conscious members of society.

Get out and explore your community with this list of more than a dozen museums throughout Central California!

Merced County

  1. Bloss Home Museum

Once home to the first mayor of Atwater, California George Stone Bloss and his wife Christine Bloss, the Bloss home was built in 1914 and contains many of the original features from its time.

The Bloss Museum in Atwater, California. Photo Credit:

  1. Castle Air Museum

Here’s one that will have you soaring! With over 70 aircraft on display; some of which were flown during WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam war, the Castle Air Museum proudly preserves, restores and displays a part of America’s aviation history right here in our region! 

  1. Merced County Courthouse Museum

Located in one of the oldest buildings in California, the Merced County Courthouse Museum has showcased over 50 exhibits since 2003. Check out current exhibits here.

 Mariposa County

  1. California State Mining and Mineral Museum

During the Gold Rush in the mid-1800’s people flocked to the Wild West. This museum houses over 13,000 objects. How you ask? Well, the collection started back in 1880! Come check it out for yourself.

  1. Coulterville Museum (a.k.a The Northern Mariposa County History Center)

Mariposa County is rich with Gold Rush history! Visit and learn about life in California in the early 1800’s. They have six permanent exhibits and an array of artifacts that will leave you stunned!

  1. Mariposa Museum & History Center

With over 90 displays depicting the rich history in Mariposa County we’re sure you’ll find any one of them fascinating. From the Origins of Gold in The Daulton Room to the Miwuk and American Indian Life in The Coakley Room. Click here for a full list of displays.

Sign at the Mariposa Museum & History Center. Photo credit: Mariposa Museum & History Center Facebook

  1. Mariposa Museum & World Culture Center

For the last 17 years this museum has welcomed visitors of all ages with unique artifacts from around the world. You’ll love their interactive exhibit, resource library/ workshop space, “hands-on” costumes and musical instrument collection. 

Madera County  

  1. Fossil Discovery Center

Did you know Pleistocene fossils were found at the Fairmead Landfill in Madera County? No? See for yourself with a visit the Fossil Discovery Center which houses exhibits documenting prehistoric life in the San Joaquin Valley during the last Ice Age!

Inside the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County. Photo credit:

  1. Madera County Museum

Located in the original Madera County Courthouse, the Madera County Museums houses a historical collection of Madera county.

Fresno County

  1. African American Museum

The African American Museum is the cultural center to celebrate and learn about the African- American contributions made in our Valley. It was founded by the first African-American Sergeant in the Fresno Police Department, Jack Kelley and his wife Rosa Kelley.

  1. Armenian Heritage Museum

With rotating galleries and exhibits of Armenian culture, The Armenian Heritage Museum showcases work from Armenian artist in California and the Central Valley. They also have a permanent gallery of William Saroyan’s artwork.

  1. Arté Americas

Founded in 1987, Arté Americas is the Central Valley’s largest non-profit Latino cultural center with 10,000+ square feet of gallery, performance, meeting and classroom spaces. Check out current events here and exhibits here

  1. The Big Fresno Fair Museum

There is 136 years of Fresno fair history housed at the Big Fresno Fair Museum. Don’t want to wait until October during The Big Fresno Fair to marvel at the 4,600 items on display? No problem. Schedule a tour today!

  1. Central Sierra Historical Society and Museum

With 11,000 annual visitors, the Central Sierra Historical Society Museum near Shaver Lake, California artifacts, 2,000 to be exact and 5 outdoor exhibits. 

Restored SJ&E Caboose displayed at the Central Sierra Historical Society and Museum.
Photo credit:

  1. Clovis Big Dry Creek Museum

A home to Clovis, California artifacts and photographs that showcase Clovis M. Cole and Marcus Pollasky along with Clovis memorabilia, located in the historical 1912 First State Bank Building. 

  1. The Discovery Center of Fresno

This one is for the kids and those that are kids at heart! Get a hands-on science experience with exhibits on space, botany, geology, indigenous people and live animals. 

  1. Eastern Fresno County Historical Society

Learn about life in Eastern Fresno County from 1850 through 2018! You’ll see history through photographs, exhibits and written descriptions of the past and present.

  1. Fresno Art Museum

If you’re interested in modern and contemporary artworks then the Fresno Art Museum might be for you! Check out their permanent exhibits here and current exhibits here.

Exhibit inside Fresno Art Museum in February 2019, “BIG: Oversized Works from the Permanent Collection.”
Photo Credit: Fresno Art Museum Facebook

  1. Kearney Mansion Museum

Built by the Prince of Fresno, self-made man and agriculture pioneer, M. Theodore Kearney this 115-year-old mansion served as the headquarters for Kearney’s 5,000- acre Fruit Vale estate.   

  1. Meux Home Museum

Built in 1888, Dr. Thomas Richard Meux and his wife Mary Esther Davis moved to Fresno in 1887 and built his 16-room Victorian mansion where he set up is physician practice and worked there until he passed in 1929. 

  1. Veterans Memorial Museum

Take a trip to Downtown Fresno and visit the Veterans Memorial Museum, “Home of the Legion of Valor.” There are countless photographs, exhibits, framed citations that share the story of those who have served.

  1. The William Saroyan House Museum

Fresno native and Pulitzer Prize, Oscar Prize Oscar-winning writer William Saroyan was a literary mastermind! Saroyan wrote a variety of outlets including, magazines, plays, short stories, musicals, songs, opera and novels within in his lifetime.


  1. Children’s Storybook Garden & Museum

Located in Downtown Hanford, California this museum encourages families to develop an interest in a healthy lifestyle, gardening farm history, literacy, nature and arts. Take a look at their upcoming events here and summer camps here.

  1. Hanford Carnegie Museum

Formerly the Hanford Carnegie Library, the Hanford Carnegie Museum is committed to the preservation

of Kings County heritage with their displays, artifacts, mementos and educational programs. 

  1. Sarah A. Mooney Memorial Museum

Another Victorian style home to add to your touring list! Take a trip to Lemoore, California to visit the Mooney Museum which is fully furnished with items from the late 1800’s donated by both the Mooney family and local Lemoore families.

  1. Taoist Temple Museum

Visit the ‘City within a City’ located in China Alley in Hanford, California featuring eleven historic buildings with an obvious Chinese influence.

Outside of Taoist Temple in Hanford, California. Photo credit: Taoist Temple Facebook 


  1. Tulare County Museum

The Tulare County Museum tells the history of Tulare County through its many collections of artifacts including one of the largest Native American basket collections in California!

Schoolhouse built in 1908 available to tour in Tulare, California. Photo credit:

  1. Tulare Historical Museum

Visit the Tulare Historical Museum and take a trip down Tulare’s memory lane artifacts from the native Yokuts Indians, the railroads and even Olympic collections, plus so much more!


Did we miss any museums? Let us know and we’ll be more than happy to add to our list! Please contact Community Engagement Associate, Laura Ramos at