in Bakersfield, the Kern
County Museum was founded in 1941 and fulfills its mission
of providing an enjoyable destination for generations to share
experiences in an interactive, educational, and historically
It was water, agriculture and oil that brought a steady stream
of settlers to the Kern River delta - people drawn by a dream
to stake claim to the riches of the Central Valley. Fortunes
were made and the city of Bakersfield was born. Today, the
people of Kern County honor the vibrant history of its earliest
citizens and the Native Americans who shared the land in the
Kern County Museum.
Kern County Museum
3801 Chester Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Tel: (661) 852.5000
Fax: (661) 322.6415
Hours of Operation
10:00 am - 5:00 pm (Mon - Sat)
12:00 N - 5:00 pm (Sun)
Visit website for Admission fees
The museum's rich collection provides
a slice of the California story over 16 park-like acres, preserving
approximately 700,000 artifacts including 56 historic buildings.
The Lori Brock Children's Discovery Center provides a welcome
play break for visiting children and their parents. Opened
in 1976, the Discovery Center provides educational experiences
for visitors ages eight and under.
Perhaps the signature piece is "Black Gold: The Oil Experience,"
a $4 million science, technology and history exhibition. With
providing 64% of California's oil production, oil production
has been a crucial component of the local economy since 1895.
More than six years in the making, this state-of-the-art,
interactive exhibit opened in 2002. The 9,640-square foot
exhibition and surrounding 2.3
acres presents a complete overview of how oil is created,
different methods of discovery and extraction throughout history,
and the changing role of industry workers and their families.
It is a participatory exhibit, featuring a variety of learning
environments for audiences
of all ages. Highlights include simulated travel under the
sea via diving bell to learn how oil is formed, an exploration
into oil discovery, recovery and its transformation into many
products we use today, and the many dangers of asphaltum mining
- straight from the mouth of an old-timer.
Additional exhibits explore the lifestyle
and culture of the local Yokuts Indians through actual artifacts.
Historic structures that add to the Kern County Museum's fascinating
experience include a circa 1906 Sheepherder's Cabin, a replica
of a Chinese temple (paying tribute to the Chinese community,
which has been a contributing factor in Bakersfield's growth
since its establishment over a century ago), a reconstructed
Adobe house, a reconstructed stock corral with original, hand-split
Blue Oak rails cut around 1865, and an authentic, one-room
schoolhouse built in 1882 and used for more than 30 years.
Museum's web site has all the details to help plan a visit;
see the Info Box for the Museum's hours
and contact details.
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