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

About the

Mojave River Valley Museum

A Brief History of the Beginning of the Mojave River Valley Museum

There are many causes of the MRVM starting, namely the thousands of years of geological, anthropological, historical events that fascinated people and colleges and the love of the Mojave Desert of thousands acquainted with it.

In the 1950s and early 1960s the Barstow Women’s Club had the love and fascination of the desert and its history, and through their efforts and donations in 1963-64 built an Historic Monument with a brief history and a Desert Map on the northwest corner of Virginia Way and Barstow Road on San Bernardino County Park property. The Club created beautiful native rock walls on the Virginia Way side with rock pillars holding up the Historic Monument and map.

At the same time, amateur and professional archaeologist, anthropologists and historians (local and San Bernardino and Orange County volunteers) were studying, locating and collecting many types and ages of artifacts, and several people were researching and writing about the desert history. Many of these people were friends of each other and members of the S. B. County Museum.

One Barstow High School teacher, Al Prince, suggested that “we” should build an historic walk with outdoor artifacts leading to the Women’s Club Monument. Great idea! But later it was “Why not raise some money and build a 20’ by 30’ building for a museum?” Those interested formed the Mojave River Valley Museum Chapter of the San Bernardino County Museum Association. And we raised money and decided to build a little larger “L” shaped building. Barstow Kiwanis Club put on a BBQ for us to raise money—this was the first annual Museum BBQ. The Optimist and Rotary Clubs participated.

In the 1960s, little Rainbow Girls and other kids sold small paper Bricks for $1.00 each to pay for a brick and a bit of cement. Families and clubs and businesses helped us. For example Joe Gee paid for all the glass in our main display room.

The Museum has expanded twice since then to a little over 4,000 square feet, but WE ARE OUT OF ROOM! Every month we obtain artifacts and documents of our desert heritage and families and have no more space to display them and little place to store them. So now we are seeking money to expand our Museum so we can PRESERVE THE HERITAGE OF THE MOJAVE DESERT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. And you are helping us save our heritage by being a member, attending your Museum’s Annual BBQ and other events, and by shopping in our Book Store and Gift Shop, and we thank you! We still need volunteers to help us and we’ll train docents to keep us open every day except Christmas—always free to visitors! At 10:00 am at the 52nd Annual Museum BBQ and Open House on May 5 we will honor the Barstow Women’s Club for their being enthusiastic about the Mojave Desert history, their effort in preserving some part of its heritage for future generations and inspiring others to create a museum continuing preserving our heritage for future generations.

We hope many of you readers can be at this event and give our thanks to those women who inspired many other people to create this Mojave River Valley Museum.


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