Arts + Culture

Our Favorite Museums in Mendocino

There's so much of California's natural beauty to explore when visiting Mendocino—we love to hike in the redwoods, kayak along the shoreline, and walk along the Mendocino Headlands. In between taking in all the sights, many of our guests to our boutique Mendocino hotels are interested in learning more about the history of Northern California. These three museums in Mendocino will shed some light on how Mendocino came to be, its inhabitants, and the industries that drive its development. Here are our recommendations for three museums in Mendocino that offer a deeper understanding of this special seaside town.

Ford House Museum | 45035 Main St, Mendocino | (707) 937-5397

This museum in Mendocino also doubles as the Mendocino State Park visitors' center, so it's a great first stop. Find information about area sights and ask the staff for recommendations on the best hikes, restaurants, and wineries in the area. The house was to home Jerome Ford, a salvager, and lumber mill manager, and his wife Martha in the mid-1800s and has many exhibits about Mendocino's early industries like logging. Other exhibits on whales, local art, and history encapsulate Mendocino's attractions.

Kelley House Museum |45007 Albion St, Mendocino | (707) 937-5791

Guided tours of this restored historic home in downtown Mendocino are available on weekends—learn about the generations of the Kelley Family and the history of Mendocino through an extensive collection of photographs and artifacts. Rotating exhibits cover everything from rum running and shipwrecks to Native Americans and town history.

The Temple of Kwan Tai | 45160 Albion St, Mendocino

This National Historic Landmark is dedicated to the history of the Chinese population in Mendocino. Chinese immigrants first came to the area during the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s and worked in the camps for the gold and lumber industries. This Taoist temple was built in 1867 and is now run by a nonprofit dedicated to education and the preservation of the area's Chinese history.