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Visitors’ Guide to Danville’s Blackhawk Museum

A Visitors’ Guide to Danville’s Blackhawk Museum

There are many things to do and see in the Blackhawk area, including fantastic shops and incredible food spots. One of the best venues in Blackhawk is Danville’s Blackhawk museum. This museum has several excellent exhibitions held monthly. Here is some information about the must-see galleries.

Blackhawk Museum

  • Automotive Gallery

The Blackhawk Museum is known for many things, but the main one is the “Automotive Gallery,” which houses over 90 classic cars. The museum itself is a not-for-profit 501(C)3 private operating foundation. Kenneth Behring originally opened it as “The Behring Auto Museum” in 1988, showcasing his collection of vintage cars. He added the Art, Science, Culture, and History building in 1991. Consequently, the museum holds a variety of exhibits across five galleries.

The “Automotive Gallery” remains the central piece of the museum, displaying around 40 cars chosen from a rotating collection of 90 classic cars. A dramatically lit, cavernous room flaunts these incredible historical and one-of-a-kind vehicles. Each one is sure to conjure up fantasies of taking to the open road. Just imagine what it would be like to pull up to the Blackhawk Country Club driving one of these “bad boys”!

Class cars, cars from movies, sports cars, cars that belonged to celebrities, military vehicles, custom cars, and even farming vehicles grace the exhibit. There is always something new to see when you visit the museum with regular club shows and rotating presentations.

Spirit of the Old West Gallery

This exhibit celebrates the American Old West. It explores the challenges, successes, failures, and overall way of life for those who lived in the American West. There is also a Native American display that showcases the life of Plains Indians. This stunning exhibition explores the life, myths, beliefs, spirituality, ceremony, dance, and leadership traditions of the tribe.

The “American Settlers” portion depicts pioneers who ventured west, developed, and created a new culture in the early 19th century. 

Be sure to check out the western movie gallery. The Blackhawk Museum houses most western movies ever produced. There is also plenty of other Old West media to explore, including comics, books, television, and radio shows. A plethora of country-western music is also on display. The exhibit’s centerpiece is a massive diorama that depicts the different stages of western development across history.

Art of Africa Gallery

The “Art of Africa Gallery” explores the art and music of Sub-Saharan Africa. The sculptures on display are incredible, in particular the sculptures of human faces. Uniquely adorned tools, jewelry, weapons, ceremonial objects, and masks of the African people represent folklore, age, gender, tribe, and nature. Wander through the gallery and enjoy music made by the tribes represented throughout the exhibit. The instruments used to make the music are even on display. The “Tree of Life” carvings, in particular, are fantastic. Symbolic wood carvings show links between families and generations.

Natural History Gallery

The “Natural History Gallery,” located on the second floor, showcases various species from the Western United States. Information panels detail the daily life and habits of each animal. You can even see what animals may have lived in the area that is now the Blackhawk golf course!

Into China Gallery

“Into China” is the latest and greatest addition to the museum. Modern replicas of famous pieces are displayed here. Most of these exhibits have only been in China. Some wonders include the famous Terracotta Warriors and Chariots and Bells from the Tomb of Marquis Yi. There are only three reproductions of these bells, and this set is the only one currently on display in the United States.

A 24-foot-long Imperial Dragon is a stunning feature of this exhibit. The power and majesty of dragons are exemplified in this single piece of wood, representing the dragon’s cultural significance for Chinese people. They are symbols of strength, fortune, and transformation. The Chinese culture had a significant role in shaping the Bay Area. Anyone with an inkling of interest in Chinese culture and history owes it to themselves to visit the “Into China” gallery.

Other Things to Know

The Blackhawk Museum hosts several traveling exhibits and entertainment programs as well. There are monthly car shows, dinners that rival the best restaurants in Blackhawk, and visits from speakers and artists. A research library for people to explore is a fun feature of the museum. The gift shop allows people to support the museum and take a piece of history home with them. Located on the upper east end of Blackhawk Plaza near Crunch Fitness, the museum is accessible to all with opening hours between 10 AM and 5 PM. Tickets purchased in advance are requiredso call (925) 736-2280, email info@blackhawkmuseum.org, or visit blackhawkmuseum.org to plan your tour.

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