The complex is located on property that once was part of an old horse-drawn-freight wagon road (pre-Hwy 41) and an original historical adobe freight way-station. The 110+ year old building is a “packed adobe” made of mud and rock. After its use as a way-station, it was used for many years as a home. It is currently in the process of restoration and the progress can be viewed by visitors to the museum.
The grounds also have a barn that the dedicated volunteers of the organization restored. It now houses the museum. In it artifacts and history of the region can be viewed. Also in the building are the research library and the Historical Society’s office.
Various sections of the museum represent the Coarsegold Market and Supply, a blacksmith and tool shop, a gold-panner hard at work, a tack shop, the kitchen of the Picayune School, an area of Indian artifacts, and an extensive display of pictures and articles about eastern Madera County. The barn has been dedicated to Ethel Kennedy who originally owned the property.
The Coarsegold Historic Museum is owned and operated by the Coarsegold Historical Society, an educational nonprofit entity. The Coarsegold Historical Society was formed in 1981 to study and share the wonderful history of Eastern Madera County and the area known as Coarsegold in particular. From research the bookAs We Were Told was produced. Members interviewed 102 “old time” families (dating to the early 1800s) of the region and complied their stories to share with others. Various books about the area and its legends are available for purchase.
In 1994 the Picayune School (in use from 1913 to 1956) was moved to the property. It was an elementary school especially for the local Chukchansi Yokut Indians. Picayune School is the only one-room schoolhouse in the local mountain area to be displayed as a school and is furnished with items dating to the period of its original use. It is now restored and listed on the California Register of Historic Sites and is a designated local Historical Landmark by the Madera County Board of Supervisors.