Inspiring curiosity, appreciation, understanding, and stewardship of Lake Tahoe’s art, history, and environment through preservation, education, and conservation. Thunderbird Lake Tahoe offers a multi-disciplinary array of programs and receives no government support for operations. We are funded entirely by contributions from families, businesses, and foundations.
Thunderbird spends more than 80% of its revenue, expertise, energy, and human capital on preservation projects, operating and maintaining Thunderbird Lodge and Yacht, and caring for its Lake Tahoe Art and History Collection. The public observes preservation-in-progress including architecture, stone masonry, shipwrighting, archiving and more. Thunderbird is always seeking skilled volunteers to help with preservation and restoration projects.
Thunderbird safeguards more than 25,000 items in its extensive collection of Lake Tahoe maps, paintings, photography, drawings, artwork, documents, films, and 3D artifacts. Presently campaigning for funds to become one of America’s first digital museums, Thunderbird is developing the facilities and systems necessary to make its entire collection available on-line to researchers and the public at-large.
During off-peak times, qualified public charities and government agencies utilize the Whittell Estate for board and staff retreats, public meetings, and program activities. Past beneficiaries include the Nevada Commission for Cultural Centers and Historic Preservation, Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe, Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation, U.C. Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, Nevada Museum of Art, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Tahoe Maritime Museum, and many more.
Guided public tours of the George Whittell Estate and Thunderbird Lodge are offered Tuesday – Saturday from May through October.Private and group tours, including visits with wine tasting and hors-d’oeuvres, are available year-round.
Grants give local artisans unprecedented access to create and sell art at Thunderbird Lodge, Nevada’s only cultural heritage center at Lake Tahoe.
Staff and volunteers are available to groups, schools, clubs, and service organizations to speak about a wide range of Lake Tahoe art, history, and science topics.
A framework for teachers to develop and implement unique curriculums in a historic setting. In peak years, more than 2,000 students engage in Thunderbird’s K-12 educational programs.