The purpose of the Tehama County Museum is to preserve and exhibit artifacts that represent the cultural heritage of Tehama County specifically, and Northern California in general. The museum exists for the purpose of providing education, inspiration and aesthetic enrichment for all people through exhibition and explanation. The Museum's goal is to educate and enlighten people about the history and cultural aspects of Tehama County.
In 1980 the Tehama County Museum foundation was created by a group of local citizens to preserve and exhibit artifacts that represent the cultural heritage of Tehama County. -- For years a highway sign on Highway 99E directed travelers to the First Tehama County Court House, which was to the Masonic building. In 1962 when the Masons were celebrating their 100th Anniversary, they arranged to have Superior Court Judge Curtiss Wetter hold court there for one session. However, the act did not succeed in saving the California Historical Landmark designation for the building. In 1980 the building was designated as a National Historic Site. When the new Masonic building was erected in Los Molinos for Molino Lodge No. 150 on land donated by Arthur Banta and largely financed by him in 1977, the old building became the property of the Community Light House, a local church. When it proved unsatisfactory for the church's needs, it became available in September, 1980, to a citizens' group, the Tehama County Museum Foundation, and has been in operation as a museum since that time. So it stands today having served as a school for 21 years, a Masonic Hall for 116 years, briefly as a church and now as a museum that hopefully will continue to serve the community for many years to come.