The Porterville Historical Museum was opened in 1965 as a direct result of the interest spurred by Porterville's Centennial Committee. Through diligent efforts of residents, Southern Pacific Railroad gave the city permission to operate a museum on the site of the now 1913 passenger station, and we've been open to the public ever since.
Back of Museum Before Train Tracks Were Removed
This is Now the Free Parking Area for Museum Guests
Our Staff and Docents
Sheila Pickrell, Curator and Docent
Bill Horst, Volunteer Lecturer and Docent
Doris Hosfeldt, Volunteer Appraiser and Docent
John McWilliams, Volunteer Archivist and Docent
To our dedicated cadre of volunteers who contribute countless hours and financial support to help make our city's Museum successful, educational and popular, we say: "Thank You!"
If you would like to volunteer at the Museum, please contact Sheila Pickrell at 559-784-2053 or email her at or stop by the Museum to arrange for an interview.
Why Visit Porterville Museum?
If you visit the pages on this website you will know why you, your family and friends should make the Porterville Historical Museum a "must see" experience. We've been collecting and displaying the history of Porterville and surrounding communities for over 50 years--one relic at a time. Here's a sample of what you will find at the Museum:
Our Outdoor Exhibits Include:
Tour our grounds and see vintage fire trucks, wagons, farm equipment and other tools and machinery from decades past, as well as a variety of native plants and flowers. Explore significant events in history as marked on the rings of a Giant Sequoia cross-section--and more.
Our Indoor Exhibits Include:
The Frank "Buck" Shaffer Display, which has a brief timeline of his achievements while in Porterville as well as videos and memorabilia from his life here including a Letter from Walt Disney.
Native American Artifacts and Woven Baskets--an extraordinary collection celebrating the unique craftsmanship and intricate designs of local Native Americans.
The story of Porterville's Pioneers told in portraits, photographs, news articles and everyday objects including vintage dolls and toys, clothing, furniture, firearms and currency.
A Salute to our Military Veterans includes examples of war time posters, ration books, uniforms, helmets and gear--and their stories such as the local Army serviceman who spent a day escorting Marilyn Monroe in Korea.
Native Wildlife displays show us the amazing wingspan of area raptors, the fierce mountain lion and many other animals you might encounter in our area--and look out for "The Bear!"
See our collection of cameras, typewriters, telephone equipment, medical, dental and pharmaceutical items, and beauty parlor curling irons that will curl your hair just looking at them.
Our entrance hall was the lobby of the original Southern Pacific Railroad Passenger Station and still has the 1913 timber beamed ceiling with arts and crafts style light fixtures. While you're there, take a seat on one of the original waiting room benches and enjoy a video slideshow of Porterville's history.
Local school displays
Household items from days gone by
Vintage commercial signs and department store communication systems
Special Events and Exhibits Scheduled Throughout the Year