Interest in preserving the history of Churchill County began in 1964, Nevada’s centennial. In Fallon, festivities celebrating the state’s 100th birthday included decorating the windows of Maine Street businesses with artifacts from the area’s past. After the 1964 festivities had ended, community volunteers were determined to establish a permanent repository for local history.
They did not have to wait very long. In 1967, benefactors Margaret and Alex Oser purchased the old Safeway building for Churchill County. Originally the plan was to turn it into a new library. However, the library board had already received funding to create a facility at 553 S. Maine, which the Churchill County Library uses to this day. Community volunteers, now officially organized as the non-profit Churchill County Museum Association (CCMA), lobbied the County Commissioners to instead turn the old Safeway into a museum.
The volunteers’ hard work paid off and the Churchill County Museum opened its doors on July 4, 1968. Since that time, visitors have marveled at the generous contributions from area residents that comprise the displays, filling over 10,000 square feet of exhibit space. The Museum’s West Annex building, opened in 2000, adds another 4,000 square feet.
The building is owned by Churchill County, which also pays staff salaries. The artifacts are owned by the CCMA, which also funds the exhibits and public programs that are offered to community members and out-of-town visitors.