Model trains, sea glass, tattoo culture, and more.
We take great pride in our unique art scene, and a museum tour of Fort Bragg is unlike any other. The best part? It’s almost entirely walkable! Start your tour by parking downtown near West Laurel and North Main and hitting the Mendocino Coast Model Railroad & Historical Society at 150 W. Laurel St., located right behind the Skunk Train Depot. This museum brings the history of logging to life through model trains and features over 1,300 feet of track (scaling, that’s the equivalent of six miles).
After the Historical Society, take a quick jaunt around the corner to the Depot Mall & Museum, which features more train history and exhibits, as well as stunning handblown glass gifts and jewelry.
Next up is the Guest House Museum, 343 N. Main St. This beautiful redwood home was originally built in 1892 and today exhibits artifacts and photographs from Fort Bragg’s history as a lumber mill town.
Just across the street, located upstairs at 356 B N. Main St., don’t miss the Triangle Tattoo & Museum, one of the only museums in the world dedicated to tattoo culture. Whether you’re looking for new ink or you’re just fascinated by the rich and colorful history of tattoo culture, Triangle is a must-visit. Of particular delight are the “women’s wall” exhibit and the Japanese antique tattoo handtools. There’s nothing quite like it.
A few doors down, you’ll find the Noyo Center For Marine Science Downtown at 338 N. Main St. With colorful, educational exhibits and larger-than-life mammal skeletons, it’s perfect for children. Inside, you’ll find fascinating exhibits, like the world’s largest killer whale skeleton, and a retail shop with marine-themed gifts and apparel.
Finally, head toward Redwood Ave, turn left, and stroll up the block to the Larry Spring Museum of Common Sense Physics, 225 E. Redwood Ave. Intrigued by the name? The museum is even more interesting than it sounds—it preserves and showcases the work of the late Larry Spring, a local freethinker, outsider artist and curator, and self-described experimenter who used found objects and repurposed artifacts to express his heady explorations of the physical and metaphysical realms.
This concludes the walking portion of your museum journey. Your next and last stop: the Sea Glass Museum, 17801 N. Hwy 1, which boasts the world largest permanent sea glass exhibit. For those fascinated by Fort Bragg’s famous Glass Beach, this museum is a must. While the beach’s sea glass has dwindled over the years, the museum features over 3,000 pieces, some of which are for sale.
While you’re planning your museum trip, consider timing it to align with Fort Bragg’s monthly First Friday celebration, during which time local museums, galleries, and shops keep extended hours (5 p.m.–8 p.m.) and feature wine, hors d’oeuvres and a great opportunity to mingle with locals while admiring the art and artifacts.