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

Goldwell Open Air Museum, Beatty, NV

The Goldwell Open Air Museum is located in the State of Nevada near the ghost town of Rhyolite and the mining town of Beatty. Just outside of Rhyolite, Nevada, a spectacular ghost town off the road leading to Death Valley, California, a group of prominent Belgian artists, led by the late Albert Szukalski, created a self-described art situation consisting of seven outdoor sculptures that are colossal not only in their scale but in their placement within the vast upper Mojave desert. It is approximately 4 miles west of Beatty off of State Highway 374, the road that leads to Death Valley, California. Beatty Nevada is 115 miles north of Las Vegas on Highway 95. Parking is available on-site. There are seven outdoor sculptures to enjoy. Free Self-Guided Tour Brochure Available! Donations appreciated. For organized group visits and tours, call (702) 870-9946. Open p hours a day, 7 days a week. Visitors Center and Gift Shop open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Phone: 775-553-2303.

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 Saturday - 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. 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.

Boron 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 Sunday noon to 4 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., closed Monday through Wednesday Special museum hours can be arranged for groups of 10 or more. The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. 442-247-6781.

Borax Visitor Center, Boron, CA

Just west of Highway 395, at 14486 Borax Rd., in Boron, 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 Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Sunday, Monday and major holidays). For information, call 760- 762-7588.

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 11 a.m. - 2 p.m Saturdays, Sundays, or by appointment for special groups. 760-608-7776.

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. Go outside and walk among the historic artifacts on your way to the Desert Tortoise Habitat near the museum. 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.

China Lake Museum, 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 130 East Las Flores Ave, Ridgecrest, CA. Operating hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m, closed Sundays, Mondays and selected holidays. 

Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert, Ridgecrest, CA

The HSUMD’s offices, libraries, history collections and exhibits, meeting area and performance stage for community events, gift shop and museum are located in the Historic USO Building and in the various historic buildings on HSUMD property. The Historical Society also acquired a historic one-room schoolhouse that was built in 1905, restored it to its original configuration, and opened the region’s only Veterans Memorial Building. Buildings under the stewardship of HSUMD include the Historic USO Building, the Original Kern County Jail, the Original Kern County Firehouse, two Original Engine Houses, and the Original Kern County Library. Located at 230 W. Ridgecrest Blvd, Ridgecrest. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., closed Sundays.

Southern Inyo Museum, Lone Pine, CA

See artifacts including bugs and reptiles of the Mojave Desert. Open April-October, Thursday through Sunday. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Closed Monday through Wednesday. 760-937-0876. Located at 127 W. Bush St., Lone Pine, CA 93545.

The Museum of Western Film History, Lone Pine, CA

“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-Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m, and Sunday 9 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. - 4:30 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 Thursday through Tuesday (except major holidays) 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.., closed on Wednesday 155 North Grant St., Independence, CA, 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”!


  • SUMMER (Apr-Sep): Tue-Fri, 10am-6pm  |  Sat & Sun, 10am-3pm
  • WINTER (Oct-Mar): Tue-Sat, 10am-4pm

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 (Silver Canyon Rd, Bishop). 760-873-5950.

Mammoth Museum at The Hayden Cabin, 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 at 129 Mattly Avenue, adjacent to Hess Park, in Lee Vining (behind the CalTrans yard) Hours Thursday through Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. from May 27, 2017, through early October, closed Monday through Wednesday. 760-647-6461.

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? Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Located at 51359 US-395, Vining, CA. 760- 647-6595.

Bodie State Historic Park, Bridgeport, 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, but are scheduled daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Park closure hours are strictly enforced to protect the structures and artifacts. To plan your trip call 760-616-5040 and be sure to visit the Bodie Foundation’s website to find out about upcoming events in the park. Located at Highway 270, Bridgeport, CA.

Carson City

For more information about all of Carson City’s museums go to visitcarsoncity.com/things-to-do/museums.

The Nevada State Museum, Carson City, NV

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 Thursday – Monday, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Located at 600 North Carson St, Carson City. 775-687-4810.

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, Carson City, NV

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. Open on Sunday only 1 - 3 p.m.

Stewart Indian School Cultural Center & Museum, Carson City, NV

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 1 Jacobsen Way, Carson City, NV. Open Monday through Friday 10 a.m to 5 p.m., closed Saturday and Sunday. 775-883-1976.


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