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Marion Steinbach Indian Basket Museum

The Marion Steinbach Indian Basket Museum, co-located with the Gatekeeper’s Museum, 130 West Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, California, was added to the Gatekeeper’s Museum in 1992. After passing away in 1991, Marion Steinbach donated her entire personal collection to the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society. The Society and her husband, Hank Steinbach worked together to build the additional museum that now houses the collection.

The museum is home to a world-class collection of over 800 utilitarian and fine baskets from 85 tribes throughout California and western North America. In addition to baskets, the collection also includes Native clothing, jewelry, tools and pottery. Dat-so-la-lee, Maria Martinez, Maggie Mayo James and many other famous Washoe weavers work also feature in the collection.

The museum’s impressive collection is the result of one woman’s passion, Marion Schlichtmann Steinbach (of no relation to John Steinbeck). Marion purchased her first basket from a weaver in Lee Vining, California, in the eastern part of the state, when she was just 16 years old. By the time she was in her 40s, living in Palo Alto, Steinbach had become a collector, dealer, and expert in Northern California baskets. She traveled all over the western United States specifically to purchase baskets, all of which are now part of the collection on display at the museum.

Steinbach died in 1991 and requested that her baskets remain together as a single collection. Her husband, Hank Steinbach, worked with the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society to build the museum that now houses the collection.