Merced County Historical Society Museum

photo by adam blauert

photo by adam blauert

Merced County Historical Society Museum

Merced County’s history comes to life in the museum operated by the Merced County Historical Society.  Housed in the 1875 Italianate-style courthouse, over 8,500 square feet of permanent and rotating exhibits tell of the history and development of the county.

One of the oldest and best-preserved buildings in the region, the old courthouse was designed by the state capitol architect Albert A. Bennett.

It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.


The museum’s displays cover the history of the county from ancient times to the present day including:

  • Yokut Indian artifacts
  • Displays of early ranching and farming, including a blacksmith shop
  • Artifacts from Merced’s Chinatown
  • A display of Merced County schools and a turn-of-the century classroom
  • “Old Betsy” – Merced’s first fire engine, built in 1859
  • The restored 1875 courtroom
  • Displays of home life in the later 1800’s through early 1900’s

Hours and Admission

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1-4.  Admission is free and knowledgeable docents are available to provide tours.  The building is wheelchair accessible.


 21st and N Streets, Merced

Gift Shop

The gift shop sells a wide variety of books about local history, along with gifts and souvenirs.


The Merced County Historical Society hosts a wide range of history-themed events throughout the year.  Check the website for a current schedule.


The museum holds a large collection of county records.  Appointments to access the collection can be made by contacting the museum’s office.

Contact Information

 (209) 723-2401/