The Top 10 Must-See Museums in California


(NewMediaWire) – October 08, 2021 – LOS ANGELES, CA – There are hundreds upon thousands of extraordinary museums across the globe. From the Louvre in Paris to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. These are specular facilities that bring in millions upon millions of visitors throughout the year. Famous as they may be, there are some museums that may make such an impression on you that you can’t get them out of your mind. Museums like the Mob Museum, the Relics Museum, or the Martial Arts History Museum that you find more unique and insightful. Granted, they don’t have an unending supply of donors like the huge, famous museums, but they provide an insight into things that everyone can relate to and even bring back old memories.

In this article, we look at museums that you must put on your “bucket list.” Small, mom and pop facilities that put in their last dime so that they can share the history they love and remember with a new generation. We present a look at the wonderful museums across California with a little spill-over into Nevada. Enjoy our presentation of the “Top 10 Must-See Museums of California.”

Although just on the edge of California, making the top of the list is the newly created museum of gangsters, the Mob Museum.

1. The Mob Museum in Las Vegas

Topping the list is the Mob Museum seated on the outskirts of Las Vegas. This 3-story building is filled with everything you ever wanted to know about the mob, from the bootlegging days of prohibition to its current reach into politics. You will enjoy an actual courtroom, weapons used by your favorite gangsters, and so much more. Plan to spend at least two hours enjoying the entire museum. Be sure you pay at the front; you don’t want the mob chasing after you.


2. The Martial Arts History Museum

There’s nothing like this in the world, the first and only Martial Arts History Museum. Today, martial arts is part of every action film, and nearly every kid in America has dabbled into the arts, but few people know about the origins of the arts, where it came from, and its impact on society. From Samurai swords to ninja items to the actual headband from the Karate Kid movie, the museum also offers workshops and seminars every month. They even host a year “comic-con style” event called Dragonfest. As they say, “It is a place where history will knock you out!”


3. Nevada State Mint Museum in Carson City

Nestled in the plains of Carson City, a place where the Cartwrights of Bonanza used to visit, stands one of the most awesomely designed museums in the West. A state-of-the-art facility with some of the best docents you could ask for, a facility that was actually one of the U.S. Mint buildings. Although it covers many aspects of Nevada, its primary feature is how coins were made. You’ll walk through an actual mine, stroll down old town and even see how gold was transformed into everyday coins.


4. Valley Relics Museum

There’s no place like the San Fernando Valley back in the 1960s and 1970s. It was Wednesday, drag night on Van Nuys Blvd. It was a stop into Bob’s Big Boy and riding on your stingray bicycle. It’s those excellent neon signs of Pioneer Chicken and the famous Palomino. It’s all that and more at the Valley Relics Museum located in where else, Van Nuys, CA.


5. Nethercutt Museum in San Fernando

Is it possible to house every major car for every year since automobiles began? Yes, it is, at the Nethercutt Museum. It’s like a billion cars all lined up in mint condition. From the Model T to the Rolls Royce, if you love cars, this is the place for you. Best of all, it’s free to the public to enjoy.


6. Museum of Jurassic Technology

It’s an oddity, to say the least, but it is one of the most intriguing museums you will ever come across and it must be experienced at least once. I thought it was about dinosaurs, but it is not, it is about old technology, about old ways of thinking. (A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush with a picture of a bird in a hand). It is an unusual place and you may wonder what the whole place is about, but it’s worth the trip to look at all the interesting things. 


7. The Hollywood Museum by Max Factor

If you love old Hollywood, then this has to be one of your stops along the way. A property purchased by Max Factor, the pioneer of film makeup, is now a unique museum with a tower of excitement. It is a wonderful collection of memorabilia from the history of American motion pictures and television. It is filled with props galore from some of the most iconic films and tv shows. You will see Marlyn Monroe’s coat and even the wardrobe worn by the members of the OSI. If you ever wondered what happened to Fonzi’s jacket, it’s probably there.


8. Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum

If you are a veteran or one of your family members served to protect this great country, then put the Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum on your list of must-see places in the West. This small museum is packed with a variety of authentic historical military exhibits. From the actual firearms, uniforms probably going all the way back to WWI, it’s a beautiful collection for all to enjoy, and you will love the huge tank that guards the place.


9. Museum of Making Music

This is “the” place for music lovers and future music lovers. Recently revamped, the Museum of Making Music has been beautifully designed to introduce the visitor to nearly every type of musical instrument. It not only explains where it came from, it provides a transformation of the instruments of yesterday and today. It even has a particular room so that you can actually play one of the instruments. From unique artifacts to wonderful displays, the Museum of Making Music is a fun place to visit.


10. The Printing Museum

This place is a heaven for printmakers. A huge storeroom filled with some of the most iconic printing machines in history. Displays range from Augustin Zamorano’s printing press to the linotype machine. This is a “hands-on” experience, so you definitely want to bring the kids to enjoy. The staff is exceptionally knowledgeable and you might come away with a printed goodie or two. Wear very casual clothing; this is a print facility, so you may brush up against some ink. The Printing Museum even hosts a mini-convention at the facility each year.


Honorable Mention

Estrella Warbird Air Museum

If you love historic planes used to defend this great country, then you will faint when you see the collection at the Estrella Warbird Air Museum. Founded by a couple of guys with only two airplanes, they have built an aviation empire in the city of Paso Robles, CA. From bombers to jets, this place has got them all for you to enjoy.


Museums are a place to keep our history alive, and without these small museums, so much of our history will be lost forever. Please make it a point to not only visit these places but make a donation as well. It is these small museums that have more heart and soul than the famous ones.