Mill Valley has many places of historical significance, including museums and old buildings. Since it is a small city, some of the museums are located in nearby towns just a short drive from Mill Valley. If you are planning a trip to Mill Valley, looking into some of its local museums will tell you a lot about the history of Mill Valley.
The Marin History Museum
The Marin History Museum was founded in 1935 and captures the long-standing traditions of innovation and creativity of the people of Marin County for new generations to enjoy. Exhibitions and educational programs showcase the achievements of the past, foster an understanding of the present, and imagine what the future could be. The Museum is located on the former Boyd Estate in San Rafael, former home of Arctic Explorer and adventurer Louise Arner Boyd. The Marin History Museum is located 4.8 miles from the center of Mill Valley
The Marian Eakins Archaelogical Collection, Golden Gate Baptist Seminary
The Marian Eakins Archaeological Collection preserves and displays antiquities from the history of Christianity and focuses on its origins in the ancient Near East. The Collection is located in the library building at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Guided tours are available by appointment. The Marian Eakins Archaeological Collection is 0.7 miles from the center of Mill Valley.
The museum has Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern coins from biblical times, pottery representing more than 3,000 years of Near Eastern culture, and glassware from the Roman period. The Collection also includes a variety of recent items such as Aztec pottery; Native American mortars, pestles, and arrowheads; and proprietary medicine bottles from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The Mill Valley Air Force Station
When the Mill Valley Air Force Station was active, it operated as a Cold War-era air defense radar station. The station sat atop Mount Tamalpais and commanded a 360º visual coverage of the surrounding area. This area was the site for Homing Beacon 4H (also known as “Homer Site 4H”) and Forward Relay Site 4M, as well as radar during World War II.
In 1980 when the 666th Radar Squadron was deactivated, Mill Valley Air Force Station was transferred to the National Park Service and the FFA in 1983 under the provisions of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Act and other Federal laws and regulations. In June 2005, the leases with the Marin Municipal Water District expired and the land was returned to their control.
The Bolinas Museum was founded by David Van Dusen and Craig Ayliffe in 1983. Both men had owned historical Bolinas buildings and personally knew families whose were descendants of the first Bolinas settlers. Bolinas Museum was their way of preserving and sharing this rich history. Much of the museum’s exhibits were contributed by the people of Bolinas. This charming museum gives visitors a glimpse of the evolution of homes in the Bolinas area from humble beginnings to architectural showcases. The Bolinas Museum is located 7.7 miles from the center of Mill Valley.
The Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum is all about Walt Disney, the man, as seen by himself and others who knew him well. The Museum is located in the Presidio of San Francisco, a former U.S. Army base which is now a National Park. The three buildings that house the Museum are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The permanent galleries of the Museum are located at 104 Montgomery Street, one of the five identical barracks built in the 1890s on the Main Post. A state-of-the-art digital theater is located on the lower level adjacent to an education center with two studios for teaching digital animation as well as traditional art techniques.
Golden State Model Railroad Museum
Golden State Model Railroad Museum is a 10,000-square-foot complex with operating model trains. It is a fun and inexpensive experience for train lovers young and young at heart. It is common to see children run after their trains along a 200-feet long walkway.
The model train layouts feature typical Northern and Central California scenery. There are freight and passenger trains including puffer bellies and modern diesel engines.
The museum is open Sundays, April-December from 12 p.m.-5 p.m and is a half hour drive from Mill Valley.