The museum’s Collection at TMC features historic watercraft, engines, water-sports gear, ephemera, and archival materials that each speaks to an important piece of Lake Tahoe’s culture and development. Through exploring our interpretive displays and rich artifacts, guests and researchers alike will gain a better understanding of Tahoe’s past and present. To read more about a few selected pieces from our Watercraft and Engine Collections, click on the link below.
The museum’s Watercraft Collection rivals those of many maritime museums around the nation. Currently there are over 30 vessels ranging from a salvaged 1890s steam launch to luxurious 1960s powerboats. The combination of work, race, and leisure boats in the museum’s collection help us tell the diverse stories of Lake Tahoe’s past. A representation of historic boats from California builders like Besotes, and the nationally significant factories of Dodge, Gar Wood, and Chris-Craft also allow us to present the history of boating on a broader scope.
- Shanghai: 1890s steam launch salvaged from the bottom of the Lake
- C-Car: 1969 20′ Philbrick Custom Runabout
- Miss Tahoe: 1939 28′ Gar Wood Runabout
- Miss Lakeside: 1925 27′ Hickman Sea Sled
- Godfather: 1922 26′ Chris-Craft Runabout; Hull #6
Gathered through large donations and small “barn” finds, the museum boasts a diverse compilation of marine power plants. The Engine Collection includes inboard and outboard models of all shapes and sizes, featuring examples of steam engines, factory-line motors, and high performance racing engines.
- Waterman Porto Motor – first produced in 1907, our model dates from the mid-1920s.
- Caille Liberty Single – notable for its long straight shaft, this 1920s design has evolved for current application in the rice paddies of Southeast Asia.
- Indian Silver Arrow – manufactured by the Indian Motorcycle Company for a single year in 1931. This 20 cubic inch, 12 horsepower motor is noted for its motorcycle heritage and the art-deco styling of its metal castings.
- Evinrude C Service Racer – outboard racing engines based on Evinrude blocks. These motors were highly customized with readily available parts and provided a low-cost entry level for “everyman” outboard racing from the 1930s until the 1960s.
Small Object & Archival Collection
The museum’s Small Object & Archival Collection includes vintage boat parts, racing trophies, early boating publications, manufacturer manuals, and historic Tahoe photographs. When combined with the museum’s larger artifacts, these objects provide a lens to view the lesser known stories and expand the understanding of Lake Tahoe’s history and the development of the national boating culture and industry.
- Antique Boat Flags and Burgees
- Water Skates
- Early Tahoe Yacht Club Records
- Vintage Water Skis
- 50’s Racing Photos
- Tahoe Miss Photographs and Ephemeral Materials