I recently had a chance to visit the Nevada Museum of Art’s Lake Tahoe exhibit and I have to say, I was blown away by the number of historical art pieces the museum had on display depicting Lake Tahoe during a time that few people today can remember. The museum suggests guests start off on the third floor in order to begin with the earliest paintings working your way towards the present time. I highly suggest taking the museum up on this suggestion as it allows you to view the changes that have taken place in the Lake Tahoe Basin since the late 1800’s. While the art on display does not go back much further than the 1800’s, most changes in that area did not really occur until the twentieth century and thus it does not take away from the historical representation of the changes that have occurred in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Starting on the third floor guests are introduced to some of the early paintings depicting the beauty of Lake Tahoe. Artists on this floor include Thomas Hill, John C. Fremont, Mark Twain, John Muir and many more. Not only does the gallery give you a visual representation through the paintings of these artists, but the museum has explanations of what was going on in the painting, as well as, during that particular time period. These explanations present a logical flow to the exhibit which, if you take the suggested route, allows the visitor to fully understand the changes that took place around our beloved lake. Another great representation on the third floor is that of the Washoe Indians basketry which showed amazing woven baskets from the early Nevada years. The detail in some of the baskets is remarkable and they have held up to the test of time as they still look as though they are in excellent condition.
The second floor introduces guests to the time that the museum has dubbed as the rise of the resort. This level depicts the vast changes that Lake Tahoe underwent during the twentieth century, and even includes a thirty minute documentary explaining what went on during this period. Artists on this level include Frank Lloyd Wright, Maynard Dixon, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, as well as others. It still amazes me that structures built during this period can still be visited today and that these structures have remained despite the harsh winters that often occur in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The first floor of the museum has a few of the items depicted in the exhibit for sale in the gift shop where if you really would like to take the exhibit home with you, you can purchase a few of the Washoe Indian baskets to bring the past home with you. This exhibit has been executed very well and I will definitely be returning one more time, at least, before the exhibit changes in mid January.