The May Collection
In order to support efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and for the protection of visitors and staff, the May Museum will be closed to the public until April 6.
The Wilbur D. May Museum opened in 1985 to preserve the legacy of Reno resident Wilbur D. May. The permanent collection highlights his world travels, ranching business, and adventurous life. Thousands of the priceless artifacts that Mr. May gathered in exotic places are all on display here.
The museum is a ranch-style building designed to resemble Wilbur May's residence in South Reno. Four rooms are re-creations of his 2,600-acre Double Diamond Ranch, named for the brand that was created from stacking his "W" and "M" initials.
The living room chronicles his life as a military servicemember, businessman, composer, aviator, and philanthropist. The tack room showcases Wilbur's life as a rancher. And the trophy room provides a glimpse at his big game hunting years of the 1930s and 40s.
The museum gallery, a collection from more than 40 trips around the world, includes many exotic and interesting treasures. Here you'll find a very rare collection of Tang Dynasty pottery from China, a shrunken head from South America, African artwork and instruments, Eskimo scrimshaws, Egyptian scarabs, Greek icons, and Italian amulets that pre-date the birth of Jesus.
As you travel around the world and explore Wilbur's collection, you'll also see beautiful dioramas of animals including a polar bear, an aardvark, and a Bengal tiger. Keep your eyes out for the giraffe and the monkey who watch over you from above!
The Museum houses a large archive containing thousands of photographs, documents, and other ephemera on a wide-range of topics. The archive primarily contains materials dated between the 1910s and 1970s. Themes include:
- World War I
- World War II
- Safari and big game hunting
- Reno & Nevada
- Africa travel
- India travel
- Asia travel
Contact us for information on accessing the archive for scholarly research.
1595 N. Sierra Street
Inside Rancho San Rafael Regional Park
Reno, Nevada 89503