Holiday Schedule 2019/2020


The Museum will be closed for the Holidays and maintenance

and will resume normal business hours on

Thursday, January 9th, 2020.

Happy Holidays!






California Humanities Grant Awarded to the Hi-Desert Nature Museum


Giant Rock Clean-Up on October 12, 2019. For more information click here.



Screen your own Giant Rock Flying Saucer Convention Souvenir on September 21, 2019. Click here for more information.


Update June 2019

Morongo Basin Wall Map installed.

This map will set the backdrop to the digital exhibit. It is an enlargement of a 1950 hand-drawn map by Colonel E.B. Moore (1888 – 1962).  Col. Moore was a real estate agent and promoted the Five Acre Tract development in the Morongo Basin.

‘You’re not taking me out of here alive’

Retired bomb squad man takes new look at Giant Rock legend

Please check out the article in the Hi-Desert Star from November 16, 2018

Click here for link.

‘You’re not taking me out of here alive’


Image from the Dyer Family Collection

November 15, 2018 ~ 12 p.m.

A Suicide Bombing at Giant Rock 

presented by Mike Digby

In the summer of 1942, a fifty-seven year old engineer and local eccentric by the name of Frank Critzer was known for two things: as the owner/operator of the Giant Rock airstrip in Landers in the Mojave Desert, and as the man who lived alone – under a rock. The Giant Rock.  During a criminal investigation Critzer caused a quantity of dynamite, stored in his home, to explode.  Critzer was killed immediately while the three deputies suffered non-fatal wounds. But why?

This lecture will focus on the forensic evaluation and post-blast investigation as well as  address the many rumors and inconsistencies about this most bizarre case.

Mike Digby retired as a detective/bomb technician after  serving 34 years with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and seven years with the United States Army.  He has provided bomb training to police and military organizations around the world. He has also authored two books: The Bombs, Bombers and Bombings of Los Angeles (2016) and A Bombing in the Wilshire-Pico District (2018).

Download poster here.




The project was  made possible with support from California Humanities,

a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.





Giant Rock Round Table

October 18, 2018 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum
Please join us at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum for an informal round table get together. Project Director Karyl Newman will share some of her research about the fascinating and sometimes bizarre history of Giant Rock. Please bring your own memories, stories, adventures, photographs, videos, etc. to share with the group or possible inclusion in the upcoming “Our Giant Rock: a Community Touchstone in the Mojave” digital exhibit at the museum.
This is a free event and light refreshments will be provided.
Download flyer: Round-Table-Invite.pdf.


October 6, 2018 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Giant Rock

In an effort to keep the Giant Rock area pristine the Hi-Desert Nature Museum will celebrate National Public Lands Day with Karyl Newman and Blight Sites, the BLM Barstow Field Office, the Mojave Desert Land Trust, the Landers Community Assoc., and all other volunteers who love their public lands. Please register here.
Join us for stories and stewardship at Giant Rock. Project experts Mike Digby, a retired bomb squad detective from Los Angeles and Daniel McCarthy, Anthropologist and former Director of the Cultural Resources Management Department for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians will be available for information and questions.
Download flyer. Giant Rock Clean Up Invite

“Our Giant Rock : A Community Touchstone in the Mojave.”

California Humanities has awarded a project grant for “Our Giant Rock : A Community Touchstone in the Mojave.” The Hi-Desert Nature Museum partnered with Karyl Newman, founder of dehsart and producer of “Manifesting Giant Rock” to bring you programming and a digital exhibit about the infamous Giant Rock. Stay tuned for project updates over the next two years. Check out the List of other grant recipients here.