Fern Cottage is your local history museum. A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance and some public museums makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary. Most large museums are located in major cities throughout the world and more local ones exist in smaller cities, towns and even the countryside.

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Fern Cottage is a time capsule of Humboldt County and Eel River Valley History. Built in 1866, the home of Joseph and Zipporah  Russ was occupied by their descendants until the death of one of their youngest daughters Berth Russ Lytel. After Bertha’s death the remaining Russ family members created a private foundation for the upkeep of the home and it opened as museum and event venue in the late 1970s. Almost 40 years later the home is now its own Non profit and still continues to serve as a museum and event venue. The museum is filled with the original furnishings and artifacts many dating 100 years or more. In 2016 Fern Cottage opened for regular hours and house tours. Fern Cottage is also open for research and is actively collecting local stories in an effort to preserve the rich cultural legacy of the Ferndale community and the Russ Family. Your support for Fern Cottage Foundation will help us provide educational tours to local school children for free; continue our weekly tour operations; open our archives for research; and, most importantly, provide the necessary care for the collections in the archives and the house museum. All members will get a free subscription to our quarterly electronic newsletter, free admission and discounts for additional admissions and  to special events. Children under 18 are always free.


We recently established a fund at Humboldt Area Foundation as a way to help ensure funding for Fern Cottage. The mission of Fern Cottage Foundation is to provide a solid financial basis to preserve, maintain and promote Fern Cottage through expanded community awareness and involvement, increased educational opportunities and clarification of its historic value. Fern Cottage Foundation welcomes gifts of all kinds, including cash, bequests, closely held stock, real estate, life insurance and retirement assets. Gifts can be made online or by calling the Humboldt Area Foundation at 707-442-2993.


2121 Centerville Road
P.O. Box 1286
Ferndale, California 95536