The Placer County Museum is located on the first floor of Auburn’s Historic Courthouse. The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1894 and the courthouse was completed in 1898. History took its toll on the building and by the 1980s, its future was uncertain. Fortunately, the community rallied behind the courthouse and raised over six million dollars to restore it. On July 4, 1994, Auburn’s Courthouse once again opened to the public. The first floor includes the Placer County Museum Gallery, foyer displays of the Pate Collection of American Indian artifacts, a restored Sheriff’s Office, and the Treasury, where the museum’s gold collection is on permanent display. Outside the Courthouse beneath the stairs is the restored women’s jail.
In the gallery, exhibits highlight the Pleistocene fauna that roamed the area over 10,000 years ago, the Nisenan Maidu, the Gold Rush, the development of towns and communities, early newspapers and modes of communication, agriculture, recreation, roads and highways, and the Transcontinental Railroad. A life-sized diorama of a Nisenan Maidu family, a restored 19th century mud wagon, and a film on the evolution of early trails into modern highways are key features in the museum. Children of all ages enjoy learning about the past through interactive telegraph machines and vintage phones.
The beautifully restored Courthouse, which echoes many of the design elements in the state capital building, serves as a beacon to those traveling east or west on Interstate 80.
The Placer County Museum is located at 101 Maple Street in Auburn, California.
Driving Directions: From eastbound I-80, take the Maple Street exit in Auburn and stay straight. Maple Street will curve around the historic Courthouse. The entrance to the courthouse will be on your right just before the stoplight.
From westbound I-80, take the Hwy 49, Grass Valley/Placerville exit in Auburn. Turn right onto Highway 49, turn right onto Lincoln Way and then go through the next stoplight. The entrance to the historic Courthouse will be on your immediate right.