The Lost City Museum is located in Overton, NV and offers locals and visitors a glimpse into the history of the Moapa Valley Area. It is one of seven museums managed by the Division of Museums and History, an agency of the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.
HISTORY: The Lost City Museum was built by the National Park Service to exhibit artifacts that were being excavated from Pueblo Grande de Nevada. These Anasazi Indian sites were being threatened by the waters of Lake Mead as it backed up behind the newly built Hoover Dam. Eventually, when the lake was filled to capacity, about five miles of sites had been inundated or undercut by the water.
A native Culture developed and survived for over 1000 years in the Moapa Valley beginning around 300 B.C. The development of this culture was similar to the Puebloan cultures of the Southwest. This culture shared technology and agricultural lifestyle similarities with the Puebloans, but ti’s not sure if they shared language and kinship. Arizona’s Hopi Culture claims these people as their ancestors, and the Hopi refer to them as Hisatsinom, meaning ‘ancient ones’. Archeologists identified them as Anasazi.
The Anasazi inhabited the Moapa Valley area beginning with their achaic and basketmaker beginnings, through the Pueblo periods, up until they abandoned the area.They were able to adapt to the conditions of the area, even moving households and communities, while retaining their cultural aspects, until sometime in the mid 12th century.
Pueblo Grande de Nevada (Nevada’s Lost City) is made up of the remains of these sites, which were brought to the attention by two local brothers, John and Fay Perkins, who learned that the current Governor James Scrugham was looking for sites like this to promote and develop tourism in Nevada.
Governor Scrugham commissioned Archaeologist Mark Raymond Harrington in the mid 1920’s to begin excavation of the site. The Civilian Conservation Corps later assisted the archaeologists when it became urgent to finish the job before the area was covered by Lake Mead with the building of the Hoover Dam in 1938. Originally, the museum built to house the artifacts was named the Boulder Dam Park Museum. When the museum became an agency of the State of Nevada, the name was changed to the Lost City Museum.
TODAY: The Lost City Museum is located on an actual prehistoric site of the Puebloan Indians.An extension was actually built on TOP of some ruins in order to protect them. It has displays depicting the excavations of the sites, incredible artifacts unearthed during the project, pictures of the historical excavations, an excavated pit house and reconstructions of the Puebloan houses. Pottery, shells, jewelry and many other examples that showcase the history of the early inhabitants are on display at this unique museum.
The museum also houses a gift shop filled with books, toys, jewelry and other souvenirs.
The Museum offers many Special Events throughout the year including Native American Days, Kids Day, Art on the Rocks, and many other events including local artist exhibits.