The Mojave’s Treasure Troves

By Richard Elliott • on June 14, 2012 • Filed under: Mojave Desert, Random Thoughts
Museum in Boron, CA–Photo Richard Elliott

Most visitors see the vast Mojave Desert as having nothing to see, except sand and sage, rugged mountains, and a parched wasteland.  However, it is a land filled with mystery and history.  To breathe life back into this misunderstood desert, and to see it newly for some, one should take pause and visit any number of small local museums.  These little treasure troves tell the story of  the Mojave Desert.  Their valuable collections present visitors with new eyes into understanding the narrative of the Mojave.    A visit to the local museums gives new birth and enlightenment to the revealing stories behind the desert’s mountains, canyons, valleys and sandy desert floor. 

A museum visit helps to discover the American Indian’s history.  Learn how they lived and survived the harsh desert environment for thousands of years.  Learn to identify the flora and fauna of the area.  Make it a family project.  Kids, as well as adults, will love identifying and looking for various animal tracks, plants, rocks, minerals and more.   Who lived and worked here?  Their names fly from the tongues of docents and park rangers, like ghosts on the wind.  Names such as Ralph “Dad” Fairbanks, Seldom Seen Slim and Indian Tom. 

Also, discover the stories and see the relics from the local mining camps and ghost towns, such as Skidoo, Calico and Rhyolite, NV.  Why did the towns exist?  Why are they gone?  See the samples of ores and minerals that gave these mining camps a reason to be, and how those ores’ wealth lured the “get rich quick” dreamers to the Mojave Desert.

After visiting these museums and reaping the knowledge from their vast treasure troves,  your next drive through the Mojave Desert will reveal more than a seemingly barren world.  Now, having learned a little history and mystery behind the Mojave, you will want to take longer pause to explore these historical sites, where Indians, settlers, miners, famous and infamous people had lived in the Mojave Desert.

Listed below are a few valuable treasure troves to begin your understanding of the Mojave.  For museum hours, fees and more, please click on the museum’s hyper link.  Your museum visits help to support these little keepers of Mojave’s secrets a history.  After all, those from the past developed our present time, and we must do the same for future generations.

Twenty Mule Team Museum, Boron, CA http://20muleteammuseum.com

Old Guest House Museum, Trona, CA http://trona-ca.com/historical.htm

Maturango Museum, Ridgecrest, CA http://www.maturango.org

Death Valley National Park, at Furnace Creek the Borax Museum and the Visitor Center Museum

http://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/indooractivities.htm

Shoshone Museum, Shoshone, CA     www.museumsusa.org/museums/info/1152982

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