Kern Valley Museum



I visited the Kern Valley Museum in Kernville, CA in the late spring of 2015. I was impressed!

Other small town history museums I’ve visited (I’m looking at you, Truth or Consequences, NM and Quartzsite, AZ) have been jumbled, hodge- podge messes, filled with any (literally) old thing with little-to-no explanation of historical context. The museum in T or C is huge and rambling, with so much (too much) to see and difficult (both physically and mentally) to read explanation cards. Quartzsite’s museum is smaller and more cluttered with even less explanation of why objects are on display.

The Kern Valley Museum has none of those problems. Housed in a former doctor’s office, the museum staff has arranged similar items in displays in the former exam rooms. Visitors can spend time in one room with photos and artifacts from the various movies filmed in the region, while in other areas folks can learn about local money-making endeavors such as mining and ranching. The museum is very clean, and exhibits are well-lit, with brief and easy to read explanatory notes.

In the museum’s backyard, larger items are on display.

One cool item in the back area is a reconstructed covered wagon originally from pioneer days. It was brought from Missouri, over the Oregon Trail, in 1850. Between 1998 and 2000, it was restored from a pile of lumber, a box of hardware, and some wheel hubs.


This is the covered wagon at the Kern Valley Museum




This is the front view of the covered wagon at the Kern Valley Museum. I love the suitcase on the lower right.


This is the rear view of the covered wagon at the Kern Valley Museum. It makes my van look so comfy and spacious. Can you imagine riding in such a wagon from Missouri to the West Coast?












A horse-drawn carriage is also on display.



There is gold mining equipment in the back area as well.




A small room is set up to look like a blacksmith’s shop. Since my great-grandfather was a blacksmith, I was interested in the equipment on display.


There’s a small cabin behind the museum too. If I remember correctly, the cabin was moved from its original location to the museum in Kernville. I don’t recall if the furnishing were pieces originally from the cabin or historically accurate items that came from elsewhere. The museum’s website calls it “a restored and furnished 110 year old cabin…”


Self-portrait in cabin's mirror.

Self-portrait in cabin’s mirror.


Cabin’s kitchen area.


Cabin’s sleeping area. I love the quilt.








I enjoyed exploring the Kern Valley Museum and recommend it as an educational stopping point for any visitors to Kernville.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to read about my visit to the nearby Old Kernville Cemetery.

All photos in this post were taken by me.

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist. Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it. I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk. This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

3 Responses »

    • My father’s mother’s father. My father’s father’s mother died when he (the father’s father) was young, and all the kids were farmed out to other relatives. I don’t know if my father knows what kind of work his father’s father did. The blacksmith grandfather died when my father was 12 and my father had to spend nights at his grandmother’s house to keep her company and protect her, I guess. That’s when he learned to speak French because his grandmother did not speak English.

      Or at least that’s how I remember it all. I sent all my genealogy information to my nephew a few years ago.

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