Special exhibits which change twice a year, every six months reflect the varied interests of the people of the Valley, and have ranged from antique silverware; to model ships; to historical musical instruments.
The Museum was a project of Ben and Bernice Sharpsteen, who retired to a ranch near Calistoga which had been acquired by Ben's grandmother in the 1800s and which today remains in their family. Ben was an Academy Award-winning animator, producer and director for Walt Disney Studios, working on many famous Disney projects. Memorabilia of his career (including one of his Oscars), his hobby (antique autos) and family history are displayed in the founders room of the Museum.
In 1978, they completed construction of the museum building and dioramas which they donated to the City of Calistoga. The museum building adjoins a restored original cottage from Brannan's resort, which was moved to this site and incorporated into the museum complex becoming one of the exhibits.
The museum is managed and operated by volunteers of the Sharpsteen
Museum Association, a 501c(3) organization.