Here at the Sharpsteen much work and attention has gone into making this a must-see destination museum. The natural flow of the museum moves adults and children alike through the history of Calistoga and northern Napa Valley.
This special exhibit is a joint effort between Gail Sharpsteen, author of this article, and her cousins Catherine and Lorraine Sharpsteen.From the vantage point of today’s fast-paced world, we would like to pause, and reflect on what it might have been like to be a child...
Imagine the thrill of riding in the fully restored Calistoga stagecoach used in the late 1800s and early 1900s to take visitors to and from Lake County and The Geysers. Read about the white-knuckle rides as written in the 1871 “Handbook of Calistoga Springs” available in our bookstore.
Authentic Wappo Artifacts
See authentic Native American basketry, grinding stones, arrowheads and much more in the Wappo artifact display case. The Wappo were the areas first inhabitants dating back 14,000 years. Once counted in the 1,000, only about 500 survive today. Their exquisite basketry were known to be so tightly woven, they could hold water.
Donner Party Artifacts
Lovina Graves-Cyrus was a survivor of the ill-fated Donner-Reed Party of 1846. She and many of her family members settled in Calistoga. She married John Cyrus whose family were members of the same wagon train but had taken a different route over the Sierras to California. The books, glasses, and wooden bookcase were brought by John. The cast-iron cooking pot belonged to the Graves family, was used while stranded in the Sierras, being donated to the museum by direct descendants.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist and poet of the 19th century, and his wife Fanny, spent their honeymoon of 1880 in Calistoga. First staying at Brannans Hot Springs Resort, then moving up to Mt. St. Helena where they took lodging at the abandoned Silverado Mine, his experiences of this journey became the book "Silverado Squatters".
Pull out steps!
Part of the magic of the Sharpsteen Museum is its kid-friendly displays and exhibits. Children were always a priority to Ben Sharpsteen. When Ben and his team were creating the museum, much thought was put into making history fun as well as educational.
WHAT OUR VISITORS ARE SAYING...
Amazing Specialty Museum - TripAdvisor, April 17, 2018
This museum that details the history of Calistoga, California is excellent. While laid out in a linear time line, it takes you from the first settlers up to the early 1900s. Beautiful dioramas show several phases of the growth of the area. Recreations of local artifacts, if not the real items themselves, are fascinating to study. The staff is wonderful, willing to answer any questions that one might have. Worth the trip.
—James H., Liberty, MO