Public education, in its broadest sense, is best served not only by our schools and libraries, but also by museums. As community centers, they offer people of all ages access to our nation’s cultural and natural heritage. Museums’ special role in public education is centered on their capacity to provide the public an interactive, object-based place to better understand its community, our nation, and our world. From art museums to zoos, museums are gathering places for people to meet and spend time with family and friends.
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum
The Hi-Desert Nature Museum was founded in 1964 by Evelyn Conklin; her father, Percy Conklin; Camilla Hudson, a long-time resident; and Jerry Moore, Community Services Director of the Parks and Recreation District. Evelyn Conklin served as Curator of the museum for 28 years. With the incorporation of the Town of Yucca Valley in 1991, the museum became a division of the Community Services Department. The museum has always been a family-oriented facility whose original purpose was to display and educate residents and visitors about the desert environment. The original collections consisted primarily of gifts from the community-at-large.
The museum started in an 800 square foot building in a local park. In 1973, it moved to its present location in the Yucca Valley Community Center Complex. In 1989, an expansion was added to house taxidermy specimens in diorama settings.
For more than 40 years the Hi-Desert Nature Museum has been dedicated to helping the citizens of the Morongo Basin and High Desert discover “with new eyes” the rich cultural heritage and natural history of this area. Generations of school children, students, and museum visitors have relied on the museum to inform, inspire, interpret, and entertain.