Not just any museum: Coachella Valley History Museum

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.


An amazing find: Rush Ranch, Solano County, California

The best things are the ones you don’t expect. And, I didn’t expect Rush Ranch to be so beautiful and fun to shoot. We went there after we visited the Suisun Wildlife Rescue Center. Photo buddy Laura suggested this and Marlene and I were agreeable. Oh, did we have fun, and we didn’t even take any of the nature paths. We stayed and shot old equipment, etc.

Rush Ranch is a working ranch, with cattle and sheep grazing under a wildlife habitat management program. Prior to its purchase by the Solano County Farmlands and Open Space Foundation in 1988, this ranch was owned by the Rushes (a pioneer family).

Now it is open to the public with three hiking trails that take you through different ecosystems. These are the trails we didn’t have time to walk. So we need to go back. Who knows what we’ll see, especially when we don’t expect to.

Meanwhile, enjoy these images from the immediate property.