Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the scientific, historical and cultural heritage of the Mojave Desert.

About the

Mojave River Valley Museum

The Mojave River Valley Museum is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the scientific, historical and cultural heritage of the Mojave River Valley.

Through the efforts of a group of interested residents, the Museum was founded in 1964 and established as a nonprofit corporation in 1973. Donations of money, time and labor have resulted in the present Museum facility located at the corner of Barstow Road and Virginia Way.

The Museum continues to operate through the efforts of its members and by donations from the public.

Mark Your Calendars!

General Meeting

Wednesday, March 28 at 7 pm

New Mexican Families on The Old Spanish Trail

Guest Speaker: Alexander King, 8th generation Californian, a descent of the Marques family

The Old Spanish Trail is known as a route for trading between New Mexico and California from 1829 to 1848, but many of those traders settled in California, passing through Barstow, on the trail to the Land of Opportunity, which California definitely was in this period, even before the Gold Rush. King and other researchers in the San Bernardino-Los Angeles area have found over seventy names of families who migrated from New Mexico to California, such as the Trujillo and Baca (Vaca) families. Vacaville by Sacramento, for example, came the Vaca settlement.

Nelson Miller, the President of the Mojave River Chapter of the Old Spanish Trail Association, will be here and explain some of the plans for this local chapter to visit some OST sights and activities for the coming year.

Desert residents are invited to see if they are related to New Mexican travelers or families who used the OST. There is no charge for Museum programs and there will be refreshments. Join us for dinner about 5:30 before the meeting at Rosita’s on West Main Street for a no-host dinner with the speakers. --

Our programs are always free, are open to everyone, and refreshments will be served.

For more information or questions, call the Museum at 760-256-5452.


MRVM General Meeting: At 7 pm on Wednesday, March 28.

MRVM Board of Directors Meeting: We meet on the first Wednesday of each month at 5 pm. Our next meetings will be April 3 and May 1. Everyone is welcome to join in and see what we do.

Daggett Historical Society: The next General Meeting will be on Thursday, April 5 at 6:00 pm at the Daggett Community Center. Call 760-254-2201 for more information. Everyone is welcome.

Goffs Open House: On April 15 there will be an Open House at Goffs to show the restored stamp mills and rock crushers in operation (see page 8)

Oro Grande Days: April 7 & 8. For information call 760-241-6174.

Desert Symposium and Field Trips: The 32nd Annual Symposium and Field Trips will on April 20 thru 23 at Zzyzx. For registration form or more information visit DesertSymposium.org.

52nd Annual Museum BBQ and Open House: Saturday, May 5. Come help us celebrate Cinco de Mayo and our 54th year as a Museum.

Summer Craft Fair: April 14 from 9 am to 3 pm at the Barstow Senior Center. Call 760-256-5023 for more information.


From Our Guest Register

“Great collection and stuff”...Albuquerque
“I wanna buy everything here.”...Santa Rosa
“We love your museum”....Encinitas
“Very interesting”….France

Exhibits & Archives:

The Museum houses a series of displays and exhibits that portray the history of the Mojave River Valley from the arrival of Father Garces in 1776 on through pathfinders, pioneers, miners, railroads and the present space program.

Our archive of local area newspapers dates back to 1911 and our photo collection contains over 20,000 photos.

Location & Directions:

We are located in Barstow at 270 E. Virginia Way at the intersection of Barstow Road and Virginia Way. Exit I-15 at Barstow Road, go north two blocks then turn left.

Click here for a map

Open everyday except Christmas from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is always free.


Join us in helping to preserve the heritage of the desert. Your membership and participation are always welcome.


We have four levels of membership (see Membership Application). Membership benefits include receiving Desert Tailings, (our monthly newsletter,) participation in all field trips, and a 10% discount in our bookstore.

Membership Application

General Monthly Meetings

Our General Meetings are at 7:00 pm at the Museum (270 E. Virginia Way) on the last Wednesday of each month except:
    July and August: Meetings are cancelled due to our hot summers.
    November: Meeting is one week earlier than usual due to Thanksgiving.
    December: Meeting is cancelled due to the Christmas Holiday.
The Meetings feature guest speakers who cover a broad range of subjects related to our desert heritage. Meetings are open to everyone.


Special Section

Of Mines and Mules: A History of Daggett

The quiet, unassuming town of Daggett, California, nestled in the desert south of the Calico Mountains near Barstow, has a big history to tell. From silver rushes to borate refining, Daggett’s economy depended on mining. While historians disagree about when the former boom town was first settled, there is no doubt that its real beginning came in 1882 with the arrival of the railroad. For decades, the cluster of buildings with cottonwood and pepper trees would be a sight for the sore eyes of travelers crossing the inhospitable desert.

All that Remains: Daggett’s Borate Archaeology

Along the side of Route 66 east of Barstow, California sits the little town of Daggett. This settlement flourished for a few decades starting in the 1880s before losing its train station to Barstow in the early 1900s. During its heyday, Daggett boasted an active borate mining industry unsurpassed in the Mojave Desert. Visitors today can still find evidence of Daggett’s mining past. Archaeologists have recently conducted studies of the large mill site of the American Borax Company, recording what remains. More than 130 years later, information is still coming to light on this important period in southern California’s heritage.

270 E. Virginia Way
Barstow, CA 92311

Open everyday except Christmas from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is always free.

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Annual Mini-BBQ


Educational lectures

Field trips

Historical Information