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Judge Clark J. Guild
Museum Founder and Benefactor
1887-1971


Without the efforts of Judge Clark J. Guild and his supporters, the Nevada State Museum would not exist today. Guild founded the museum in 1939 and served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and benefactor until his passing in 1971.


Native Nevadan Clark J. Guild enjoyed a long and distinguished life. He grew up in Dayton and worked in mining and railroading as a young man. After an industrial accident, Guild studied to become a lawyer and District Attorney of Lyon County. He served many years as a distinguished judge on the District Court bench. Upon his retirement, Guild devoted substantial time to his great love – the museum.


After a Sunday morning walk to the post office in downtown Carson City, Judge Guild was surprised to discover a “For Sale” sign on the historic Carson City U.S. Mint building. This inspired his campaign to acquire the mint building, resulting in its purchase from the federal government by the State of Nevada for $5,000. After extensive remodeling, the museum opened to the public on Nevada Day, October 31, 1941.

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The Nevada State Museum’s Board of Trustees honored Judge Guild for his many years of dedicated service and commitment to the museum by designating a new addition, the Clark J. Guild Wing in 1959. The Nevada Artists’ Association selected artist Ralph Rathbone Preston to sculpt this bust, presented to the museum for display during the dedication of the new wing.

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The Nevada State Museum has grown into one of the finest museums in the American West. Clark J. Guild’s clear vision provided a guiding blueprint for the future development of the museum. His dream of providing the public with quality, educational exhibits and programs celebrating Nevada’s natural and cultural heritage continues today – over 70 years since his historic Sunday morning walk.

Nevada State Museum Mission

The Nevada State Museum engages diverse audiences in understanding and celebrating Nevada’s natural and cultural heritage.

  • The museum preserves heritage for long-term public benefit.

  •  The museum presents heritage through unique and authentic educational experiences, enhanced by an environment of comfort, interaction, and inspiration.

  •  Audiences learn what makes Nevada special. They gain stronger identity, connection, and validation. They develop a broader point of view and a sense of responsibility.

  •  The museum extends benefits to the greatest audience, provides leadership in heritage education, and adheres to the highest standards of public-trust stewardship.

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