The Grass Valley Museum

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Me and my floppy hat go to Grass Valley

I don’t think I have to tell California readers that Grass Valley is a beautiful place to visit. Gold Rush history, the homes of Lola Montez and Lotta Crabtree, the historic Holbrooke Hotel, a handsome and well-preserved downtown, a grand old Carnegie library, great shopping, and a used book paradise, all go into making this a great day or weekend trip. Add to that Empire Mine State Historic Park and the North Star Mining Museum and you have more than you can take in on one day.

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I do like a Carnegie Library (1916) that is still being used as a library.


But not many people visit the Grass Valley Museum, and that’s too bad, because it is another wonderful step back in time.

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The museum is on the second floor of a building that was once Mount St. Mary’s Convent and Academy, run by the Sisters of Mercy. Today the museum holds mementos of its years as a convent and girls’ school, as well as artifacts from Grass Valley’s gold rush history — Victorian furniture, knick-knacks, and musical instruments, vintage costumes and christening gowns, paintings and china.


A red velvet wedding dress

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A buckskin suit that belonged to Simon Storms

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The bathtub that Lola Montez used to provide water for her pet bear


And be sure to have a Cornish pasty at Marshall’s Pasties. That’s a taste treat you just can’t get anywhere else.

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About nancyleek

Nancy is a retired librarian who lives in Chico, California. She is the author of John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.
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