A Treasure Hunt at Local Museums


The Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine showcases memorabilia from the more than 650 movies that were filmed in the Lone Pine

Beatty Museum, Beatty, NV

A nature exhibit that has hundreds of miles to view, with wildlife and plant life known to thrive in the Oasis Valley and the Great Basin area. See the Ordovician Fossils at the Great Beatty Mud Mounds overlooking the town. Learn how the miner’s lived, worked and played in the early 1900s. Beatty is located on US Highway 95 at the junction of Nevada Highway 374, 115 miles north of Las Vegas and 6 miles from the California-Nevada border. Phone: 775-553-2303.

Tehachapi Museum, Tehachapi, CA

Built in the Art Deco era of 1931, this museum served as a branch of the Kern County Library system until 1982 when the Tehachapi Heritage League moved the museum. Tehachapi’s roots began with the Kawaiisu, who arrived 1,500 years ago. Miners did pass through the area, but the railroad in 1876 created the city of Tehachapi. View the large collection of various art and life examples from many generations. Open Friday - Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Address: 310 South Green St., Tehachapi. Phone: 661-822-8152.

Twenty Mule Team Museum, Boron, CA

Dedicated to the history of Boron and the opening of the Borax mine. The museum is open seven days a week 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Special museum hours can be arranged for groups of 10 or more. Come to Boron to celebrate Twenty Mule Team Days for a festive parade and exhibits on October 7, 2017! The Twenty Mule Team started out in Death Valley; how did they get to Boron? 26962 Twenty Mule Team Road, Boron. The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. 760-762-5810.

Saxon Aerospace Museum, Boron, CA

Dedicated to preserving flight history and flight research performed over Boron and the surrounding Valley, located next door to the Twenty Mule Team Museum. Find out what aerospace has to do with the Mojave Desert.The museum is open seven days a week 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Special museum hours can be arranged for groups of 10 or more. The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. 760-762-6600.

Borax Visitor Center, Boron, CA

Just west of Highway 395 lies California’s biggest mine — and one of the richest sources of borax on the planet. The Borax Visitor Center brings you to the edge of this awesome deposit. Here you can view mammoth mining equipment, learn about the geology that form the deposit, and see how processed borates are delivered to customers, world-wide. What does your TV and Borax have in common? Just off Highway 58, The Borax Visitor Center is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except major holidays). For information, call 760- 762-7588 or 760-762-7432.

The Rand Desert Museum, Randsburg, CA

The mission of the Rand Desert Museum is to provide educational support for the desert’s historical resources including the preservation of historical buildings and artifacts of the Rand Mining District and adjacent areas. Learn about one of California’s biggest producing gold mines and be sure to ask to see the glow in the dark display! 161 Butte Avenue, Randsburg, CA. The museum is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, or by appointment for special groups.

Maturango Museum, Ridgecrest, CA

Exhibits of cultural and natural history of the Northern Mojave Desert, plus a hands-on discovery area for children. Changing art exhibits in the Sylvia Winslow Gallery; Death Valley Tourist Center and Northern Mojave Visitors Center provide extensive information. Tours of Little Petroglyph Canyon and its world-class rock art are available by reservation. Also check out the newest additions to the museum. Be sure to tour the Gladys Merrick Gardens, and don’t forget to look for the human sundial and labyrinth! Located on the corner of China Lake Boulevard and Las Flores Avenue in Ridgecrest. Open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily except major holidays. 760-375-6900.

U.S. Naval Museum of Armament and Technology, China Lake/Ridgecrest, CA

Explore the history of weapons development for the United States Navy at this museum located on the Naval Air Weapons Station of China Lake. Can you find the Sidewinder Missile? Located at One Pearl Harbor Way, China Lake, CA. Operating hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m, closed Sundays and selected holidays. Special tours can be arranged by calling the museum at 760-939-3530 during regular business hours. U.S. citizens can pick up guest passes at the main gate Visitors Center.

The New Coso Heritage Society Southern Inyo Museum

See artifacts including bugs and reptiles of the Mojave Desert. Open April-October, Thursday through Saturday. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m (for special viewings call Larry at 760-876-5052). Located at 127 W. Bush St., Lone Pine, CA 93545.

The Museum of Western Film History

“Where the real west becomes the reel west”
Showcasing memorabilia from more than 650 movies filmed in the area. The museum offers tours of movie locations year-round, and you can enjoy screenings in their air-conditioned 85-seat theater (check the front desk or the website for latest details). Hours are Monday-Wednesday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m, Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Check the website or call for winter hours). 701 S. Main St. Lone Pine, CA 93645. Call 760-876-9909.

Manzanar National Historic Site

Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of 10 camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were confined during World War II. Established as a National Historic Site in 1992, Manzanar also tells the stories of Owens Valley Paiute life and the homesteading era. The Interpretive Center features extensive exhibits and audio-visual programs including “Remembering Manzanar,” an award-winning documentary. Take a 3.2-mile self-guided driving tour that highlights life in the camp. See replicas of the cafeteria, school house and living quarters of the camps. Located between Independence and Lone Pine on U.S. Highway 395. The Interpretive Center is open 9 a.m. - 4:40 p.m. November through March and 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. April through October. Closed Dec. 25. The site is accessible from sunrise to sunset daily. 760-878-2194.


Eastern California Museum, Independence, CA

Founded in 1928, this museum features exhibits that reflect the diverse natural and cultural heritage of Inyo County and the Owens Valley. Collections include the largest collection of Owens Valley Paiute and Shoshone basketry in the world. Also take a walking tour of Independence to learn about Inyo County’s historic past. Learn about Camp Independence, a U.S. Army Outpost! Hours of Operation: Open daily (except major holidays) 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 155 North Grant St., Independence, CA, 760-878-0364 or 760-878-0258.

Owens Valley Paiute-Shoshone Cultural Center, Bishop, CA

Museum, Gift Shop, Native American crafts, and tours. Dedicated to the continuous perpetual life of the indigenous people of the Owens Valley. Ask for a translation of “Manahuu”! Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. year round. Located at 2300 West Line St., Bishop, CA, 760-873-8844.

Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Village, Bishop, CA

11 acres and 30 buildings of indoor and outdoor exhibits of early railroad and western life. Operated by the Bishop Museum and Historical Society, the museum is California Historical Landmark No. 953, and is on the National Registry of Historical Places. Don’t forget to see and learn about the 1909 Narrow Gauge Engine and freight cars. Open all year 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Located 4.5 miles northeast of Bishop on Highway 6. 760-873-5950.

The Mammoth Museum, Mammoth Lakes, CA

The Mammoth Museum is housed in the original 1920s log cabin built by Emmet Hayden, mapmaker of the Eastern Sierra. It contains many artifacts from that period as well as historic photographs and displays. See maps of the Sierras made by Hayden. Located at 5489 Sherwin Creek Road adjacent to Mammoth Creek, in Mammoth Lakes, CA. 760-934- 6918.
www.mammothmuseum. org

The Mono Basin History Museum, Lee Vining, CA

Located in the old Schoolhouse in Lee Vining, CA. Learn about the history of the Mono Basin and tour the Upside Down House built by Nellie Bly O’Bryan. While touring the Upside Down House, can you find the cat and the mouse? Located on Mattly Avenue, adjacent to Hess Park, in Lee Vining (behind the CalTrans yard) Hours 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. from May 27, 2017, through early October, closed Tuesdays.

Mono Lake Committee

The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore, located in the town of Lee Vining, is a great spot to stop and get your bearings regarding Mono Lake. It is the headquarters of the non-profit group working to obtain long-term protection and restoration of the Mono Lake ecosystem. General information on Mono Lake is available, as well as detailed displays on Mono Lake’s political history and the current efforts of the Mono Lake Committee. Visit the bookstore and art gallery. What kind of birds make their home on Mono Lake? Located at the corner of U.S. 395 and Third Street in Lee Vining, CA. 760- 647-6595.

Bodie State Historic Park, CA

A historic gold mining town was once known as the most lawless, wildest and toughest mining camp in the West. Now a historic tribute to life from the mid-1800s to the 1940s which is protected as a state park and left in “arrested decay.” Walk the streets, take a tour of the Stamp Mill and imagine life as it was in another time. While you’re exploring the cemetery, be sure to look for the gravesite of historic figure Rosa May. The Museum/ Visitor Center is open from mid-May to mid-October; hours can vary because of weather conditions. Park closure hours are strictly enforced to protect the structures and artifacts. To plan your trip call 760-647-6445 and be sure to visit the Bodie Foundation’s website to find out about upcoming events in the park.

Carson City

For more information about all of Carson City’s museums go to www.visitcarsoncity.com/thingstodocarsoncity/museums/.

The Nevada State Museum

Changing exhibits of the history of Nevada. Take a walking tour of the Carson City Mint building and discover how money was made from 1870 to 1893. Located at 600 North Carson St., Carson City, NV. Museum hours: 8:30 - 4:30 Tuesday - Sunday

The Nevada State Railroad Museum

Preserving the railroad heritage of Nevada including cars and locomotives of the famous Virginia and Truckee Railroad. Take a train ride or a handcar ride. Learn how track was laid in the 19th century. Open Thursday - Monday, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Located at 2180 South Carson St., Carson City, NV, 775-687-6953.

The Historic Foreman-Roberts House Museum

Listed on the Historic American Building Survey and the National Historic Register, the Foreman-Roberts House is located in downtown Carson City and is a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture. Available for weddings and special events as well. Not originally built in this location — how did this house get to Carson City? And where did it come from? Located at 1207 North Carson St., Carson City, NV. Hours of operation are Friday-Sunday 1 - 3 p.m.

Stewart Indian School

This museum was originally an off-reservation boarding school that provided education for American Indian youth of Nevada, California, Arizona and New Mexico, representing more than 200 tribes. Find out who Dat-So-La-Lee was. Located at 5500 Snyder Ave., Carson City, NV.


The cemetery is seen at Manzanar National Historic Site. PHOTO BY AARON CRUTCHFIELD