University District Museums
The University District Museums boasts 12 diverse museums, galleries and attractions dedicated to furthering the cultural education of Northern Nevada. From flora and fauna to gears and paint to rocks and meteorites, we have something for anyone of any age.
A priceless silver collection, a meteorite from outer space, a collection of insects, animals and plants from around the Great Basin and the world, medical artifacts, and extensive art exhibitions greet families and visitors to the dozen venues featured in and around the University of Nevada, Reno.
A self-guided tour can begin at any of the attractions scattered around the campus, which is a designated arboretum and recognized by Tree Campus USA with collections of trees and shrubs.
Museums, galleries and attractions
University Galleries supports campus, regional and global viewers in an exploration of today's world through intellectual and creative inquiry. This mission is informed by values articulated by the Department of Art and the University Galleries board of advisors who believe that our human community stands to gain from the development of cognitive, behavioral and affective arts learning that leads to informed and intentioned living. Committed to extend the excellence of the University of Nevada, Reno, University Galleries collects, conserves, exhibits and shares art research with the understanding that both our cultural heritage and our future belong to the publics we serve.
The Museum of Natural History, located on the third floor of the Fleischmann Agriculture Building, is a working museum open to the public. We house research and teaching collections of plants, local and tropical insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, including some of the oldest collections in Nevada, dating back as far as the 1850s. The collections provide a comprehensive look at the rich history of the Great Basin's desert ecosystem with more than 10,000 preserved animals, 500,000 insects and plant life. We have a dedicated display area open to the public, offer behind the scenes tours highlighting the biology and conservation of local plants and animals.
Fleischmann Planetarium opened in 1963 as the world's first atmospherium: a public center for atmospheric studies of the Desert Research Institute. Since then, the planetarium has evolved to served millions of visitors to the University of Nevada, Reno campus as a community resource for education in astronomy and earth and space science. Open daily, the historic space-age building contains a 60-seat immersive digital star theater, a hands-on exhibit hall and a store showcasing cutting-edge discoveries. The Planetarium features exciting programs for visitors of all ages and field trip groups, and free on-campus parking. Don't forget to check out the Science Store.
The University of Nevada, Reno was designated a state arboretum by the 1985 Nevada Legislature. The campus is a living collection of plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, ornamentals and native flora with many designated areas on campus open to the public for enjoyment and educational pursuits. The wide variety of trees represents more than 60 genera and about 200 species, many with several cultivars present. Thirty-six stately elms line the Main Quad, located just north of Morrill Hall, the oldest building on campus. Featured areas of interest include the Cherry Blossom Garden, the Benson Gardens, Albert E. Hilliard Foliage Quad, the Merriam A. Brown Rose Garden and Manzanita Lake.
Special Collections and University Archives, a department of the University Libraries on the third floor of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, preserves and provides access to rare items and important subject collections. It primarily supports research on Nevada and the Great Basin, university history and printing. Special Collections houses items that cannot be shelved with the library's general collections because of their value, fragility, format or because they are part of a specialized collection. These include rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, architectural drawings, multimedia and artists' books. The staff curates on-site and online exhibits and digital collections.
The W. M. Keck Museum is located at the Mackay School of Mines building at the University of Nevada, Reno. The Keck has been collecting and exhibiting Nevada's geology, paleontology and mining history for more than 100 years. The museum still is using cases built specifically for the museum in 1908 and 1929. The museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It it the state's second oldest museum and has a special emphasis on early Nevada mining history with samples from famous mineral districts such as the Comstock Lode, Tonopah, and Goldfield. The Keck is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and on the first Saturday of the month from noon to 4 p.m.
The Black Rock Press is committed to advancing the art of the book while educating students about the book arts as both a historical and contemporary medium. It is a classroom where courses are taught in book arts and graphic arts, and it features a gallery space highlighting artists' books and printed ephemera. Located within the Department of Art, the Black Rock Press is a working museum housing printing presses that span the centuries. Cases of metal and wood type live alongside digital media tools used in teaching, publishing and outreach programs. The Press also functions as a publishing entity focusing on the book as art, craft and concept. Come learn more about our printed history.
In 1989, the University of Nevada School of Medicine's pathology department established the Great Basin History of Medicine program to research and preserve the history of health sciences in Nevada. The program is composed of an oral history program, research, student essays and has published several books. The program, in conjunction with the Washoe County Medical Society, has a museum displaying medical artifacts and a library in the Pennington Medical Education building at the University of Nevada, Reno. The program also features a 7,000 photo collection that documents more than 100 years of health care for Nevada's citizens.
The K-12 Engineering Lab is the College of Engineering's first on-campus lab dedicated to sharing and exploring engineering with kids. The lab offers four lessons designed for small groups to explore and learn about engineering in an engaging environment. The lessons can be booked by appointment only, and generally include one hour of class time and one hour of tours. Lessons offer include renewable energy, electrical engineering, civil engineering and aerospace engineering. Students will experiment with solar and wind power, learn about how electricity is made, create towers for a mini shake table and explore principles of flight.
The Anthropology Research Museum is a teaching and research facility that houses archaeological artifacts and donated items from across the Great Basin. Collections range from the earliest peoples in the region to historic artifacts from early Nevada mining towns. A goal of the museum is to provide a space for students to learn and gain experience working in a museum setting. Graduate and undergraduate students have the opportunity to manage and curate exhibits, work with collections, and complete collections based research. Additionally, exhibits and collections are available for the public to view.
For more than 10,000 years, people have carved a life here out of the hard, rugged Nevada terrain. From boom to bust, their stories are preserved at the Nevada Historical Society in Reno. Visitors will learn about the silver state's history from the earliest times to the present at Nevada's oldest cultural institution. And history is at your fingertips in the Nevada Historical Society's research library, which offers one of the most extensive photography and research collections in the West. The library is a major repository of books, manuscripts, pamphlets, newspapers, serials, films and ephemera that document the Silver State's rich history.
The Wilbur D. May Center is a year-round destination for people of all ages. It contains a museum, arboretum and botanical garden and is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Wilbur May - a Reno rancher, world traveler and philanthropist. The museum contains an extensive collection of rare and exotic artifacts and animals from around the world. The more than 20-acre arboretum and botanical garden features beautiful plants, trees, and flowers, along with hidden groves, ponds, waterfalls and a meditation labyrinth. The arboretum outdoor horticulture guided station tours are a wonderful way to teach children about the natural world.