Support Great Basin Institute in Serving Public Lands in the West


In Partnership with the US Forest Service, The Great Basin Institute offers interpretive programs and special events from May to October. Availability depends on staffing, and schedules may vary from year to year. Learn more about some of our popular programs below! All proceeds directly support historic interpretation and preservation. Visit our ticketing website to reserve a spot on one of our tours, programs or at a special event!


Pope House

Thur - sun: 11am & 2pm

Tickets: $16/ADULt | $8/CHILD

Built in 1894, the Pope House is among the oldest standing structures in the Tahoe Basin. Once a private residence for the most affluent of San Francisco’s elite, today the house is part of our national public lands heritage. 

This docent-guided tour traverses the entire 5,000sq ft. house, plus the servant’s kitchen and dining area. Learn about the people behind the opulence, about Lake Tahoe’s history and development, and about the oral legends of the Tallac Historic Site. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and construction methods, there is only one house like it. 


Fri - Sun: 10am & 12PM


Join us for a 45-minute interpretative tour through the Pope Estate boathouse! See how the affluent arrived in style to Tallac, and perhaps get a glimpse inside the Tahoe-infamous Quic Chakidn.



Tickets: $20/ADULT

Step back to the 1920s, and join the Pope Estate servants on a tour of the less visited cabins, and across the estates. From the Tallac Museum. the head maid and butler guide visitors through the first floor of the Pope House, the Pacheco and Honeymoon Cabins, as well as a visit to the laundry. 

Group tours

Variable through October

In addition to public tours, the Great Basin Institute welcomes private groups. Group tours have the flexibility to be specially designed according to the group’s interests and size. If you would like to make a group tour reservation, please notify us at least two days in advance. Call the museum at 530-541-5227 or book online!


Kitchen Kids

Two volunteers at Tallac Historic Site stand in front of the doorway at Pope House in chef uniforms for the Kitchen Kids event
One of Tallac Historic Site’s longest-running programs! Children ages 6-12 learn to bake 1920s recipes in an authentic 1920s kitchen at the Pope Estate. From scones to ginger snaps, kids learn about the kitchen tools of the time, how to measure, and more.

Tallac After Dark

Silhouette of pine trees against a starry blue night sky

Launched in 2022, Tallac After Dark is an interpretative “spooky” program. Visitors tour the grounds and Pope House at night, discovering the significance of the spiritualism movement and its impacts during the 1920s. You’ll also hear stories of Tallac Historic Site’s unexplained tales… This program is offered in October.

Heritage Day

Four adults dressed in time period costumes for Heritage Day at Tallac Historic Site
Heritage Day is a living history program with many interactive events. Volunteers and staff wear period costumes and provide games and crafts for kids and families. Themes and activities vary, so be sure to check the 2023 schedule for highlights.

Artists-in-Residence 2023

Person standing outside of artist cabin at Tallac Historic Site in 1935
100 years of art

The Great Basin Institute is pleased to announce the return of artists-in-residence at the Tallac Historic Site! Art programs are an integral part of the site’s history, and GBI is honored to keep the tradition alive.

This program aims to serve dual purposes: to open a doorway to the artistic process and access to learning, while fostering appreciation and interest for cultural programs; and to support individual artists and the preservation of historic programming.

Our 2023 Artists in Residence will display their work on site, with certain pieces available for sale in the Tallac Gift Shop.

View our featured artists and classes in the Upcoming Events section at the bottom of this page.

Special Events

Vatican Speakeasy Fundraiser

Saturday, July 22 • 6pm - 10pm
String lights decorating Tallac Historic Site for the annual Vatican Speakeasy

This annual fundraiser includes 1920s music, drinks, costumes, and finger foods. Held outdoors at the Pope Estate, the event can accommodate a large audience with limited reserved seating. Guests can participate in a silent auction, try out the Charleston, or watch a live demonstration. (Just don’t forget the password for entry…)

Great Gatsby Festival

Saturday, Aug. 12 & Sunday Aug. 13, 2023
Blue classic car parked on the grass at Tallac Historic Site for the Gatsby Festival in 2019

A 35-year tradition at Tallac, the Gatsby Festival is fun for all ages. The festival takes place over the second weekend in August and is operated in partnership with Valhalla Tahoe.


To reserve seats at the Gatsby Tea & Fashion Show, visit Valhalla’s ticketing site, linked below!

Person standing outside of artist cabin at Tallac Historic Site in 1935
Artist Cabin in 1935

Art History at Tallac Historic Site

Since the early 1920s, the Artist Cabin at the Pope Estate has welcomed painters, sculptors, photographers and many more creatives. As art enthusiasts, the Pope family often invited accomplished artists to their summer retreat, to draw inspiration from the alpine landscape. Now, a century later, the custom continues.

Today, The Great Basin Institute is pleased to announce the return of artists-in-residence at the Tallac Historic Site! Art programs are an integral part of the site’s history, and GBI is honored to keep the tradition alive. In 2023, three artists will work from the Artist Cabin and Tallac grounds from May through October, providing public studio hours and classes.