The Lost City Museum is located in Overton, NV and offers locals and visitors a glimpse into the history of the Moapa Valley Area. It is one of seven museums managed by the Division of Museums and History, an agency of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.
The Lost City Museum presents the history of Moapa Valley with a focus on the Native American inhabitants. Due to the museum’s own history the emphasis of the collections is on Ancestral Puebloans (previously called Anasazi) material culture, though the museum also holds and displays objects made locally by the ancestors of both the Southern Paiutes and European Settlers, who are the current inhabitants of the valley.
Ancestral Puebloans lived in the Moapa Valley approximately from 300 CE to 1200CE. During that period they were able to adapt to the conditions of the area, even moving households, while retaining their cultural aspects. The Ancestral Puebloans of the Moapa Valley are recognized as related to the Puebloan communities in the rest of the southwest due to their similar ways of life and long term and ongoing trade relations. They share architectural styles (pithouses and pueblos), objects and tools (ceramic styles and projectile points), and agriculture (corns, beans and squash). It is unknown, however, if they spoke the same languages or if they would have considered themselves kin. Arizona’s Hopi Culture claims these people as their ancestors, and the Hopi refer to them as Hisatsinom, meaning ‘ancient ones’.
Pueblo Grande de Nevada (Nevada’s Lost City) is made up of a portion of the Puebloan communities that once thrived in the Moapa Valley. The remains were brought to the attention of the wider public when two local brothers, John and Fay Perkins, learned that the current Governor, James Scrugham, was looking for sites like this to promote and develop tourism in Nevada.
Governor Scrugham commissioned Archeologist Mark Raymond Harrington in the mid 1920’s to begin excavation of the site. The Civilian Conservation Corps later assisted the archeologists when it became urgent to finish the job before the area was covered by Lake Mead with the completion of the Hoover (Boulder) Dam in 1938. Originally, the museum built to house the artifacts was named the Boulder Dam Park Museum. When the museum became an agency of the State of Nevada, the name was changed to the Lost City Museum.
TODAY: The Lost City Museum shares its location with an actual prehistoric site of the Puebloan Indians. In 1981 an extension of the museum was built incorporating some ruins in order to protect them and share them with the public. The museum has displays depicting the excavations of the sites, incredible artifacts unearthed during the project, pictures of the historical excavations, an excavated pithouse and reconstructions of the Puebloan houses. Pottery, shells, jewelry and many other examples that showcase the history of the early inhabitants are on display at this unique museum.
The museum also houses a gift shop filled with books, toys, jewelry and other souvenirs.The Museum offers many Special Events throughout the year including Native American Day, Kids Days, workshops, and many other events including exhibits by local artists.
Open 8:30-4:30 7 days a week