It’s okay to admit it. You may not be a museum lover. I shy away from some types of museums, but I do enjoy history museums. I’ve always been a fan of historical novels, movies and museums. But, don’t ask me details any more–I just can’t remember them! I just like to share their moments in history for a short while.

So I was happy we chose to visit the Coachella Valley History Museum in Indio. The museum campus includes the 1926 residence and medical practice office of Doctor and Mrs. Smiley, the historic 1909 schoolhouse, a Desert Submarine, pioneer farming equipment and a Date Museum. An old Cork Tree can also be found on the grounds. I touched it and the bark is like a cork!

The Desert Submarine is the small sleeping quarters for workers during the summer. They fashioned what I think is the first evaporative cooler for the men. The schoolhouse was moved onto the property as an addition to the complex. Most of the museum’s historical pieces are in the Smiley residence. And, the Date Museum is one of a kind, giving the history of date farming in the area with help from Arab countries.

The Museum was incorporated on September 3, 1965, by a dedicated group of valley residents, opened in 1984, and is run primarily by volunteers. Our docent was proud to give us the tour even though she had only been a volunteer for 2 weeks. Her excitement for the property certainly was apparent. Through her knowledge, I was able to go back in time and understand what desert life was like before all our modern conveniences.


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