It cuts through some of the most beautiful landscapes in California, and I often find myself driving here to escape the city life and be rewarded with random discoveries, such as the Eastern California Museum.
We discovered this little gem by sheer accident when we mistook it for the film museum in the next town over.
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It provides rare artifacts and information on early mining, Manzanar WWII relocation camp; there’s a vast collection of Paiute basketry, very enthusiastic museum staff.
We wandered the yard gazing at the rusty relics of a bygone era while meandering through a beautiful picnic area with a running stream.
There’s also native plant garden to the north that leads to a walkway through the desert landscape and site of an ancient Paiute village.
There’s a separate yard where equipment used to build the L.A. Aqueduct as are kept as well as historic buildings like a general store and blacksmith’s forge.
The yard is littered with mine carts, threshers, rusted over cars, and ghost town like structures that loom over the foreground and hints of steampunk technology.
There are two rooms in the museum. One room features baskets woven by the indigenous people of the area.
The other room is loaded with artifacts from the gold rush era and all sorts of odds and ends such as the Coyote Dentures – created by a guy who lost his teeth and made replacements using ones he pulled from a coyote and setting them in melted toothbrush handles.
There’s a motorized diorama of mountain goats that with a flip of a switch a mechanism turns to show one goat jumping downhill and over in the backdrop.
There’s also a Wimshurst static electric generator that while exciting and fresh, would have been more useful if it could charge my cell phone…oh well.