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

7:00 pm on November 30

George Lauterback will be our guest speaker. He grew up in Barstow, graduated from Barstow High School in 1956, and lived with his family at 117 Hutchison Street—which was near the Coca- Cola plant where he and his friends frequently helped themselves without getting caught. Walter Lauterback, George’s father, worked for the Edison company and on the week-ends he and another guy were their on-call servicemen. However, the other guy very seldom answered his phone calls, leaving the service calls up to Walter, who soon made the decision to be available only every other weekend. So on the weekends that he made himself unavailable he spent his time out in the desert collecting rocks and avoiding the telephone (which, according to George, was a wall-hung crank phone).

George is now a semi-retired architect and is involved with several museums throughout Southern California. He has expressed an interest in possibly becoming involved in our museum and would like to talk to us about donating Walter’s rock collection to us.

Walter participated in the first Gem and Mineral Show that was held in the Beacon Inn on East Main Street. Now this outstanding local annual Gem show is held at the Community Center on Barstow Road on December 3 and 4 (see the calendar on page 2).

Everyone is welcome at the Meeting which is always free and refreshments will be served. Anyone wishing to enjoy a no-host dinner with an old semi-retired Riffian of the class of ‘56, come to Rosita’s on West Main at about 5:30.


Come and see our Old Spanish Trail Display. Browse the best bookstore this side of Barnes & Noble. Books will be 20% off for members and 10% off for non-members. It’s time to start your Christmas shopping and this is a good place to do that. Call 760-256-5452 for more information.

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