Mission and History

Mission: Napa Valley Museum (NVM) is dedicated to providing unique experiences that enrich the cultural fabric of our community through exhibitions and educational outreach. The Museum places the Napa Valley in a worldwide context by inspiring residents and visitors to learn about art, history and the environment. NVM enriches the community by collecting, preserving, and displaying art and artifacts.


Napa Valley Museum was founded in 1972 by individuals concerned with preserving Vintage Hall in St. Helena. This dedicated group of citizens realized that Napa was one of the few counties in the state lacking a museum focused on its regional heritage, and so a museum was created which would celebrate Napa Valley’s history, environment and culture. Napa Valley Museum is a 501 (c) 3 organization funded by donations, grants and membership dues.

In 1998, the Museum moved from St. Helena to Yountville to land leased from the California State Veterans Home. The Museum has a lease with the State. In 1990, the architectural firm of Fernau and Hartmann entered a competition to design Napa Valley Museum. After narrowing down the potential firms, the Museum’s selection committee awarded the Berkley-based architects the job. The committee wanted to make a definite architectural statement using bold colors, forms and materials. The building is a tribute to the agricultural roots of our county while employing a modern, bold design.

The Museum houses three galleries dedicated to local history, world-class art exhibitions and a showcase space for local artists.

  • Learn about the unique geological make-up of the Valley which has made it one of the premier wine-growing regions in the world.
  • Discover the Valley’s rich and dynamic history, from the original Native American culture and wine industry personalities to the lives and contributions of Chinese workers, German and Italian immigrants, migrant laborers and more.
  • Enjoy exhibitions of local and regional artists including painting, sculpture, photography, print-making, film, video and crafts.