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Captivating museums around the Sierra.

By Jen Peng

There are plenty of interactive museums in the Reno/Tahoe area, so there’s no reason to stop exploring just because the temperature dips. Here are some of our favorites in the region.

Speed on

One of the top-rated automotive museums in the country, The National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection) features a collection of more than 200 historic and one-of-a-kind vehicles. Cruise the streets lined with classics, including some featured on television and in movies, or owned by celebrities such as JFK, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. The museum also hosts special, interactive exhibits, like Be the Astronaut, where you can fly a spaceship or drive a surface rover in simulated space missions; or Speed!, featuring several record-setting vehicles and photos of European racing from the beginning of the 20th century. automuseum.org

The Discovery Museum
The Discovery Museum (Matt Morning)

Expand your mind

The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, aka The Discovery, is Nevada’s largest hands-on science center, with 67,000 square feet of exhibits focused on science, technology, engineering, invention, art and history. Learn about the human body in Inside Out: an Anatomy Experience, or be an inventor and conduct experiments in Da Vinci’s Corner and Spark! Lab Smithsonian, just a few of the many permanent exhibits at the museum. Through March 2020, test your skills in the museum’s featured exhibition, Mindbender Mansion, with more than 40 individual and group puzzles, brainteasers and interactive challenges. nvdm.org

Fine art finds

In addition to its permanent collection, the Nevada Museum of Art is featuring three special exhibits this winter: Wallsprawl #4 (Las Vegas, Next to Nellis Air Force Base) by Andrea Zittel, an artistic transformation of an aerial image into a custom-designed wallpaper; the mural Always Was Always Will Be by Australian Aboriginal artist Reko Rennie, which furthers the discussion on indigenous culture and identity in modern urban environments; and Work Ethic in American Art: The Legacy of E. L. Wiegand, a collection of art depicting the tireless pursuit of work over the last century. nevadaart.org

The Discovery Museum
The Discovery Museum

All about animation

From Feb. 15 – May 10, the Wilbur D. May Museum will host the fun and interactive The Animation Academy. Learn all about how your favorite animated movies and shows are made, watch classic cartoons, see the tools of the trade, and try your hand at animating. There will be plenty of photo ops, hands-on art stations, as well as the world’s largest 3D zoetrope. That’s all in addition to the museum’s permanent collection of unique ethnographic items from around the world, including Egyptian tomb items, African tribal masks, American Western artworks, and exotic taxidermy. washoecounty.us

Minting Nevada history

Learn all about Nevada’s natural and cultural history at the Nevada State Museum. The museum also offers special programs, including the Frances Humphrey Lecture Series, Family Fun Saturdays, and Behind the Scenes Tours on the fourth Thursday, second Saturday and last Friday of the month. Throughout 2020, the museum will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Carson City Mint’s opening with programs and special events, including demonstrations of the historic Coin Press No. 1 every Friday and Saturday, and a special celebration for the sesquicentennial of the first coin issuance on Feb. 4. carsonnvmuseum.org

Whatever your interest, stay curious and check out some of the fascinating exhibits at area museums this winter!