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Winnemucca, Nevada

Humboldt Museum

Local history museum with skulls of red-haired giants 

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Local legends passed down by the Paiute Indians tell of a race of giants who were exterminated by the tribe. It is said this was done by trapping the giants in a cave, shooting arrows at them, and then starting a large fire at the mouth of the cave. When the Lovelock Cave was later mined, many giant skeletons and artifacts were found in the area; there was also a large quantity of arrowheads found in the cave. Many of the artifacts were lost in a fire, but some of the skulls and artifacts are located at this museum.

You'll find a small, barely marked collection of the artifacts (arrowheads, etc.) on the second floor, in the display case by the window. The skulls themselves are kept in a back room, where the curator stores them out of view so as "not to offend the Indians." Ask her about the legend and she'll lead you downstairs to her office, where she keeps them unceremoniously lined up in a cabinet.

The majority of materials contained in the Humboldt Museum pertain to local Winnemucca history and include: antique cars, period clothing, furniture and valuables passed down by successful families. Most prominently displayed is the skeletal remains of a wooly mammoth found nearby.

Know Before You Go

After passing over the highway, look for a small road on your left and an old white church (the museum itself is the brick building in back).

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