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Home > Education > Museums > Fresno County Historical Museum
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Fresno County Historical Museum

In 2015, the award-winning Fresno County Historical Museum debuted making it the only museum of its kind to showcase the vast history of Fresno County. One of the biggest capital improvement projects in the last decade at the Fairgrounds, the $3.2 million, 14,000 sq. ft. two-story building provides a place where visitors can learn about historic events and places, cultures and contributions, plus enjoy incredible artifacts and photos – providing visitors with a window to Fresno County’s path.




HOURS & TOURS

Open year-round by appointment; just fill out this form.

During the annual Big Fresno Fair, Museum is open daily until 8 p.m. with the exception of the 2nd floor, which closes at 5:30 p.m.

We offer handheld, voice-activated tours of The Big Fresno Fair Museum. Special docent-led tours may also be reserved year-round. Tour reservations require a $20 refundable deposit.


NEW for 2022! There are now online video tours of each of the Museum exhibits– including an in-depth look at the Italian Heritage Museum Exhibit. Watch them all here.

exhibit videos


FEATURED EXHIBITS


Interactive Italian Heritage Museum Exhibit
Located inside the 14,000 sq. ft. Museum is the Community Cultural Center, which is where you will find the Italian Heritage Museum Exhibit - one of the most comprehensive exhibits on Italian culture in the Western United States. Phase One of this exhibit debuted in 2021, featuring a replica of Tuscan architecture, the exhibit focuses on the four interactive touch screen displays in which you can explore the rich history of Italian traditions, culture and achievements beneath a beautiful rendition of the Creation of Adam originally painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican in Rome. NEW – we’re bringing this exhibit to you! View the new online video tours that showcase all that this exhibit features.



Heritage Talks Documentary - Volumes II & III – Fresno County’s Leaders
The Fresno County Historical Museum is focused on telling the rich history of Fresno County. Part of that rich history is the people that call Fresno County home. As such, Heritage Talks Volumes II & III, tell the history of some of Fresno County’s leaders and recounts their memories of how the region has changed. These documentary-style videos are displayed on the 2nd floor next to the Cosmopolitan Bar, but can also be viewed here.



1870s General Store Replica
This replica of a general store from the late 1870s offers a rare glimpse into a general store from the 19th century and how many services would be bundled together under one roof to serve the public’s needs. It features a mail station, laundry station, shoes, chewing tobacco, cleaning supplies, home appliances and much more, including a late 1800s pharmacy section donated by Dr. & Mrs. Jack Rustigan with original posters on display, plus a vast collection of medicines from that period. You will also see a section dedicated to the fashion and lives of women during this period.



Fresno Courthouse Display
Featuring the complete original furnishing of the California Superior Court 1 of Fresno that is over 100 years old, this exhibit showcases the history of the Fresno Courthouse, from its origins in Millerton to where it stands today in downtown Fresno. Everything from the front railing to the furnishings on the back wall is the original furniture, arranged as it would have been seen at the historic courthouse. Even the flags, clock, and door are all originals from the courthouse! On the left, you will see a timeline of photos depicting the progression of the courthouse as it changed locations from Millerton to Fresno, the removal of the Cupola, and the controversial demolition of the historic courthouse in 1966 due to changes in building code. Also featured is the iconic original 1895 Boy with the Leaky Boot fountain, which originally stood in front of the Fresno Courthouse, as well as two of the original goddesses of justice from the historic Fresno courthouse.



Iconic Sign Collection
As part of the Fair’s overall efforts to preserve history, it has acquired, refurbished and displayed iconic signs that are proudly on display around the perimeter of the Paul Paul Theater. Some of those signs include: Mar’s Drive-In, Fresno Motel, Old Hacienda Sign, Louie Kee Market, Eddie’s Speed Shop and more. Also featured is the beautifully restored Courthouse Cupola. Learn more about the Cupola and the story of its relocation to the Fair here.



DONATIONS & SPONSORSHIPS

The Fresno County Historical Museum will only be as good as the community wants it to be, so we need your continued help.
- John C. Alkire, CEO, Friends of the Big Fresno Fair

The Fresno County Historical Museum is free to the public, but donations to support its operation are welcomed and strongly encouraged. Your donation supports the preservation and continued expansion of exhibits at the Fresno County Historical Museum. If you're interested in donating or sponsoring, please email admin@fresnofof.org.
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