Big Bear Valley Historical Museum

Written by’s Local Expert


If you’re looking for some interesting artifacts and cool stories, the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum is a great way to learn all about the history of Big Bear Valley! Located in Big Bear City, California, this museum offers an extensive collection of artifacts that tell the story of the area's past. 

Also known as the Eleanor Abbott Museum, this incredible museum features nine antique buildings with a variety of exhibits for you to enjoy.

Explore the many displays of interesting items, from gold mining, logging, ranching, and more—or take a peek at historical photographs and documents and delve into the lives of those who lived in Big Bear Valley during its formative years. 

And if tours are your thing, you can also take part in a variety of historical tours with featured speakers who happily share their knowledge about the area's past. The entrance fee for adults is $3 and it is well worth it! 

The Big Bear Valley Historical Museum is open year-round so no matter what season you visit there will always be something new to explore! Whether you're interested in learning more about local history or just want to spend some time admiring beautiful antiques, this museum has something for everyone. 

Big Bear Valley Historical Museum is a great way to learn about local history while having fun at the same time—it’s a must-visit!

Interesting Facts 

If you know anything about Eleanor Abbott, you’ll know she was an amazing woman on a mission! Not only was she a local historian and author, but she also started the Big Bear Historical Society in 1971. 

Fast forward a little over a decade to 1982, and she helps build the Big Bear Valley Historical Museum. Here you can find all kinds of amazing artifacts not only from the gold mining era—but from the indigenous community that once lived there.

It was important to Eleanor that the peaceful legacy of the native culture be preserved. 

Today this incredible museum is operated by Eleanor’s legacy, the non-profit Big Bear Historical Society, and is staffed almost exclusively by volunteers. 

Getting There

Of course, nothing is better than your smartphone maps, but if cell service escapes you we put together some easy steps and the best way to get to Big Bear Valley Historical Museum.  

  1. Take Highway 18 and turn onto Greenway Drive. Depending on which direction you are traveling on Highway 18 you will make a left or right at Greenway Drive. 
  2. Next follow Greenway Drive until you come to Mill Creek Road. Turn left onto Mill Creek Road and continue for about 1 mile. 
  3. At the intersection of Mill Creek Road and Division Drive, turn right onto Division Drive. 

The museum is on the corner of Division Drive and Pine Knot Avenue, just one block from the intersection of Mill Creek Road and Division Drive.

Local Tips

  • Photographers bring you cameras! Not only are there incredible outdoor exhibits, but the views of Big Bear Lake are stunning from this vantage point.
  • Sundays are a great day to visit, as the museum hosts free lectures and special events.
  • The museum is also home to a gift shop where visitors can purchase unique souvenirs to remember their experiences.
  • Be sure to visit Eleanor Abbott's original homestead, located just across the street from the museum.


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