Have you enjoyed this short video? Visit out Youtube page to see full length versions of all of our annual Police Memorial Week Parades as well as our very special production, Every 53 Hours. YOUTUBE CHANNEL HERE
The Silver State National Peace Officers Museum was established in 2009 in historic Virginia City, Nevada. Only minutes from Reno, Carson City, and Lake Tahoe, Virginia City offers a step back into the 1800s in this mining town made so well known by the television series Bonanza.
The museum features one of, if not the largest and finest private national law enforcement historical collections. With a collection spanning 300 years of our history, there is no other like it, anywhere. Our collections provide a walk through the history of preserving the peace throughout our time since the colonial days of this land. Guests are treated to historical badges, documents, and photographs, along with uniforms, antique firearms, restraints and other historic tools of the profession.
THE GIST COLLECTION
The museum’s primary collection is the Gist Collection. Walt Gist, having served as Chief of Police in Kensington, California, began his quest for law enforcement history in 1954 when he found a sterling silver badge on a table at a flea market. He purchased that badge, knowing some proud officer wore it, and that began his lifelong passion for the law enforcement profession and her history. The collection includes documents issued by the High Sheriff from the Colonies in 1914 to many first issue law enforcement badges from the major cities of the United States. Thousands of antique photographs of law enforcement officers dating back to the Civil War days offer guests a glimpse back in our past as they walk through the days bringing us to modern policing here. The museum collection includes just so much of our national law enforcement history that it cannot be described here. You will have to see for yourself.
1876 STOREY COUNTY JAIL
The museum is set in the 1876 Storey County Jail, a wonderful and very appropriate site for the museum. With two tiers and ten steel cells, it was once the largest jail in the State of Nevada when built. But then again, Virginia City was the largest city in the state as well. Storey County used this facility as their jail or 110 years, from 1877 unti 1987. It was our good fortune that local government leaders had always wanted a museum within the jail.
VISITING OFFICERS BOARD
Past and present peace officers from around the globe leave their written comments and signatures on our Visiting Officer Board. Enjoy looking for names you may know from your own agency. It happens all the time!
OLD TIME UNIFORM PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES
Last but not least, our visitors have a great opportunity to dress up in 1800s period uniforms and stand in front of an old patrol wagon backdrop for a step back into time photo shoot. No cost involved because you use your own camera!
On the way out, visit the museum store. It is filled with law enforcement and museum related items so there is something for everyone.
POLICE MEMORIAL WEEK PARADE
The Silver State National Peace Officers Museum recognizes Police Memorial Week each May by hosting the annual Police Memorial Week Parade here in Virginia City. It is a celebration of the law enforcement profession while taking the time to recognize and remember our fallen officers from the current year as well as back though history. All agencies are invited to participate and those participants include vintage police vehicles, motors, modern vehicles, bagpipers, drummers, color guards and honor guards, mounted officers, and K-9 officers to name just a few.
The museum frequently brings new or updated exhibits to our visitors. We have just identified two different officers that out first issue Oakland, California badge had been assigned to in the early 1800s. Learn more about this great new exhibit on our NEW EXHIBITS PAGE.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
This museum operated privately and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit museum operated through volunteer labor as well as part time docents who work seasonally. We are in need of support from associations and businesses if to continue to operate into the future. We cannot do it on door admissions alone. If you know how to help us reach that goal of financial security, please lend a hand. Thank you for visiting our site.
The musuem is open daily from 11:00 to 5:00 from May 1st until November 1st. It is located at 26 South B Street inside the county courthouse.
MUSEUM PAGE LINKS
Along with visiting those pages listed at the top of this page, perhaps you would also like to tour these pages:
The museum, with support from the Nevada Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and James D. Hoff Peace Officers Memorial, has been producing a very moving production on line of duty deaths and the incredible impacts upon survivors. EVERY 53 HOURS has now been completed after more than a year of work. We hope you will find it informative to say the least. Please follow the link to watch Every 53 Hours.
"There is no higher calling than that of a policeman. I would rather be a policeman than President." - August Vollmer
There is not a more honorable and necessary profession than law enforcement. The "peace keepers" across our great nation perform a duty that few could or would do for a living. It is dangerous, difficult, and certainly very unpopular with many. It demands greatly but rewards just as well with the satisfaction an officer feels every time that he or she makes a difference somehow, be it saving a life, solving a crime, or having a positive impact on a citizen in some way. No person can adequately profess to know what the law enforcement profession's impacts and demands are unless that person has done the job, period. The museum experience provides a step into the lives of officers from the streets of America.
MUSEUM MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the Silver State National Peace Officers Museum is to provide our visitors with an education of the law enforcement profession; facilitate the preservation of the rich history of law enforcement in the development of the Great State of Nevada, and the United States of America; and to showcase those who have maintained the peace throughout history of this great land with sacrifice in service while wearing the symbols of law enforcement and while supporting the codes of the law enforcement profession.
The Silver State National Peace Officers Museum is a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations are deductible to the full extent permitted by law.
CONTACT US: email@example.com
PARANORMAL INVESTIGATIONSMany of our visitors have experienced unusual occurances and several paranormal investigative groups have spent the night locked up in the 1876 jail to conduct their searches. Contact us to arrange for your own group investigative session. Learn more about the process by clicking here.