Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the scientific, historical and cultural heritage of the Mojave Desert.

About the

Mojave River Valley Museum

The Mojave River Valley Museum is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the scientific, historical and cultural heritage of the Mojave River Valley.

Through the efforts of a group of interested residents, the Museum was founded in 1964 and established as a nonprofit corporation in 1973. Donations of money, time and labor have resulted in the present Museum facility located at the corner of Barstow Road and Virginia Way.

The Museum continues to operate through the efforts of its members and by donations from the public.

Mark Your Calendars!

March General Meeting
7:00 pm, Wednesday, March 29

Mass Extinction Theories and
Disappearances of our Ice Age Animals
Presented by John Patrick Hill

During the Pleistocene (Ice Age), the Mojave Desert was so wet that one geologist has named it “The Land of Lakes”. Local wildlife included mastodons, two types of camels, wild horses, ground sloths, dog-faced bears, dire wolves, sabre-toothed cats, flamingos, and giant buffalos, to name just a few.

As mentioned in a previous edition of “Desert Tailings,” your Museum has fossils of many of these Pleistocene bones,, including a mammoth tusk almost 10 feet long found near an old bog by the present Mojave River. John Hill has been studying various theories of why these animals disappeared. Hill will address several current theories and explain in more detail the Younger Dryas theory and its impact in Europe and North America. We will be looking for the causes of the disappearances of the Pleistocene animals mentioned above, ones no longer in our Mojave Desert. Main Street Murals has a beautiful painting of our desert Ice Age animals on a wall at the big parking lot behind Main Street by Barstow Road. See what some of these animals may have looked like.

There have been five major Mass Extinctions occurring in our world going back millions and millions of years, with some scientists estimating that over 90% of the world’s species have disappeared. This will be a thought-provoking The concepts and theories have been controversial, perhaps overwhelming, with scientists not able to agree.

The meeting is free of charge and there will be refreshments. If anyone wants to have a no-host dinner with the speaker before the meeting, come to Rositas on West Main about 5:30 pm. Call 760-256-5452 for more information.

Exhibits & Archives:

The Museum houses a series of displays and exhibits that portray the history of the Mojave River Valley from the arrival of Father Garces in 1776 on through pathfinders, pioneers, miners, railroads and the present space program.

Our archive of local area newspapers dates back to 1911 and our photo collection contains over 20,000 photos.

Location & Directions:

We are located in Barstow at 270 E. Virginia Way at the intersection of Barstow Road and Virginia Way. Exit I-15 at Barstow Road, go north two blocks then turn left.

Click here for a map

Open everyday except Christmas from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is always free.


Join us in helping to preserve the heritage of the desert. Your membership and participation are always welcome.


We have four levels of membership (see Membership Application). Membership benefits include receiving Desert Tailings, (our monthly newsletter,) participation in all field trips, and a 10% discount in our bookstore.

Membership Application

General Monthly Meetings

Our General Meetings are at 7:00 pm at the Museum (270 E. Virginia Way) on the last Wednesday of each month except:

    July and August: Meetings are cancelled due to our hot summers.
    November: Meeting is one week earlier than usual due to Thanksgiving.
    December: Meeting is cancelled due to the Christmas Holiday.
The Meetings feature guest speakers who cover a broad range of subjects related to our desert heritage. Meetings are open to everyone.


Special Section

Of Mines and Mules: A History of Daggett

The quiet, unassuming town of Daggett, California, nestled in the desert south of the Calico Mountains near Barstow, has a big history to tell. From silver rushes to borate refining, Daggett’s economy depended on mining. While historians disagree about when the former boom town was first settled, there is no doubt that its real beginning came in 1882 with the arrival of the railroad. For decades, the cluster of buildings with cottonwood and pepper trees would be a sight for the sore eyes of travelers crossing the inhospitable desert.

All that Remains: Daggett’s Borate Archaeology

Along the side of Route 66 east of Barstow, California sits the little town of Daggett. This settlement flourished for a few decades starting in the 1880s before losing its train station to Barstow in the early 1900s. During its heyday, Daggett boasted an active borate mining industry unsurpassed in the Mojave Desert. Visitors today can still find evidence of Daggett’s mining past. Archaeologists have recently conducted studies of the large mill site of the American Borax Company, recording what remains. More than 130 years later, information is still coming to light on this important period in southern California’s heritage.

270 E. Virginia Way
Barstow, CA 92311

Open everyday except Christmas from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is always free.

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Annual Mini-BBQ


Educational lectures

Field trips