The quickest way to get an understanding of the place you are vacationing is by studying their past, and the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum, located at 800-B Green Way Drive in Big Bear, is an interesting place to discover the history of our fascinating town. The glimpse of life during the Gold Rush and the Wild West days will engage and entertain even the youngest members of your family in this Big Bear history museum!
The building it is housed in hasn’t always sat on the spot it is located now. Originally scheduled to be destroyed in 1976, what was once a store constructed in 1929 was obtained by the Big Bear Historical Society and then moved to the spot it rests at now. The log cabin that is also on the grounds of the Big Bear museum was moved from the north shore of Big Bear Lake in 1978 to its present location as well.
Travel back in time to the formation of Big Bear when you visit the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum or Eleanor Abbott Museum! With a storied history rooted in America’s transition from the Golden Age of the 1920’s to the Great Depression, Big Bear’s history comes to life at this intriguing, informative museum.
Discover the People Who Made Big Bear What It Is Today
Our story didn’t start with the Gold Rush or the Wild West. Rather, it started with the Native Americans who we believe migrated here over 3000 years ago, living in early versions of the teepee, eating nuts, seeds, and meat they captured themselves, and creating beautiful works of pottery art. The “official” discovery of Big Bear Lake didn’t occur, however, until 1845, when Don Benito Wilson discovered and named it while capturing the big black bears that could be found everywhere.
Soon after, the first vein of gold was discovered, and the Gold Rush began, and ended, and began again many times over the next 100 years. The Big Bear Valley Historical Museum has the story of our favorite town from its humble beginnings till present day. If you happen to be in the area during the days it is open to the public, you must stop by!
What to Know Before You Go
Also known as the Eleanor Abbott Museum, the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum has a variety of exhibits spread throughout nine antique buildings all of which showcase the evolution of Big Bear from a quaint alpine town to the charming mountain ski town that welcomes countless visitors each season.
Dedicated in name to the late leader of the Big Bear Valley Historical Society who served from 1976 to 1978, the purchase of the property where the Eleanor Abbott Museum now sits was only made possible by the concerted efforts of Eleanor Abbott.
Within the museum, you can expect to find detailed accounts of the work put into the town by D.P. Terry of Beverly Hills and the Peter Pan Woodland Club, the first town store’s establishment during the year 1929, the museum’s dedication in 1982, and the bevy of restorations and additions of authentic vintage local buildings that help preserve the town’s image and history. Artifacts from these formative eras, such as old-fashioned wagons, and historical demonstrations such as blacksmithing and golf panning, are also on display.
The Big Bear Valley Historical Museum is open from Memorial Day weekend each may through the second weekend of October each year. During the season, the museum is open on Monday holidays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, between 10:00am and 4:00pm.
As a non-profit organization, the Big Bear Valley Historical Society that operates the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum charges a nominal admission fee for upkeep of their facilities, mostly operating off of donations and memberships. Tax-deductible memberships for the society, which are available regardless of whether you are a visitor or resident, are priced at for $25 for a single membership, $45 for a family membership, and $300 for a lifetime membership.
Escape to Big Bear, Southern California’s Hidden Gem
Contact our reservations team and find out more information on the wonders that Southern California’s only ski-resort town has in-store for you when you reserve your stay in one of the picturesque vacation cabin rentals that Big Bear Vacations has available for your trip accommodations today!