Beth Armogida Planetarium

Interested in Becoming a Docent?

Docents of Maturango Museum of the Indian Wells Valley

The Docents of the Maturango Museum are volunteers trained to offer educational programs and tours of the museum. Programs are for both children and adults. The programs can be offered at the museum or at another venue. Classroom programs support the California State Standards and also offer enrichment. Programs can be adapted to different grade levels and ages. All programs include information about the Indian Wells Valley and the Mojave Desert. To request a program you can download a request form or contact the Education Coordinator Nora Nuckles at 760-375-6900.


The Sand Canyon Environmental Educational Program (SEEP) is a program that teaches elementary students about water and living within a sustainable arid ecosystem. SEEP involves a hands-on approach for the students and is a partnership between the Bureau of Land Management, the Docents of the Maturango Museum and many other organizations. For more information contact the BLM office at (760) 384-5400.

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Educational Programs offered by the Maturango Museum Docents

ART EXPERIENCES

These presentations teach the elements of art-line, shape, form, color, texture and include hands- on projects.

ANIMALS ON THE EDGE (ENDANGERED SPECIES)
How do animals and plants become threatened or endangered? What endangered species live in the Mojave Desert?

ASTRONOMY/BETH ARMOGIDA PLANETARIUM
The stars, our sun, the planets, comets, asteroids and meteors are always a great wonder to all. A PowerPoint program with wonderful photos is available to use the Planetarium. The Planetarium requires a space at least 11 ft. high and 20 ft in diameter. The Planetarium can be used in the Museum gallery.

 A PowerPoint presentation with wonderful photos is available if you cannot accommodate the planetarium. (Then leave info on the planetarium.

BATS
Victims of bad PR, bats are actually beneficial creatures. Man has yet to match nature’s earliest radar.

BIRDS

What is this? A skeleton, skull, ribs,. . . What is it for? Support, protection, muscle attachment? What animal is a mammal or reptile? How does it live?
Children will learn the answers by observing and manipulating bones of many kinds.

CANINES AND/OR FELINES
Various programs describe the lifestyle and adaptation of these successful desert predators.

CHILDREN'S HOUR
Once a month usually on a flex Friday docents read stories, do action poems and songs, and provide a craft activity for preschoolers. It begins at 10:30. Check the website for dates.

DESERT ALIVE

The Upper Mojave Desert is a unique environment. Presentations highlight local plant and animal ecosystems emphasizing characteristics that enable them to survive in the desert.

EARTHQUAKES
This program explains where and why earthquakes may strike and what to expect when they do. The local area is featured showing the faults that have been active and where activity is expected in the future.

ETHNOBOTANY
Desert foragers and hunters used plants for food, medicine, tools and shelter. This program identifies some of these plants and the different ways they have been used.

GEOGRAPHY OF THE LOCAL AREA
The program covers local geographic features including samples of some natural resources and a discussion of how man has used these resources to make a living in the desert.

HISTORY OF INDIAN WELLS VALLEY AND SURROUNDING AREA
This presentation begins with the arrival of European explorers, continues with the development of the valley, including the miners, homesteaders and military, through present day Inyokern, Trona, Ridgecrest and China Lake.

INSECTS

This program takes a close-up look at insects focusing on their physical characteristics, abilities, and metamorphosis. Arachnids are also discussed.

MANZANAR
The program features Martha Shoaf’s recollections and photos of Manzanar Relocation Center where she taught school during World War II. Martha Shoaf taught in Trona for many years after Manzanar was closed. The proximity of Manzanar to Ridgecrest makes it part of our local history.

NATIVE AMERICANS

This presentation explains how these Indians survived the desert environment during the last 1,000 years. It includes examples and artifacts of the tools and baskets used, how food was prepared and types of shelters built.

PETROGLYPHS
This presentation is an introduction to the petroglyphs-what they are and how they were made. The Coso Mountains contain the largest known concentration of rock drawings in the Western hemisphere.

REPTILES

The lizards, snakes and tortoises of the Upper Mojave Desert have adapted to their desert conditions. The presentation includes identification of local species, their characteristics, and habitats. We discuss poisonous reptiles and reptiles that are protected by the U.S. Government.

ROCKS AND GEOLOGY
This presentation examines rock specimens in the context of the geological events of this area. Sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks are discussed and samples are shown.

VOLCANOES

The eastern side of California is a geologically active area. Earthquake faults, cinder cones, obsidian domes, explosion pits, lava flows, the Long Valley caldera, and hot springs are explained with samples of volcanic rocks and geological maps.

WEATHER ON THE HIGH DESERT
We all know that the desert is supposed to be hot and dry. There are winter snows and summer morning fogs and afternoon rainbows. How do these things happen and why? It includes demonstration of the water cycle.

WILDFLOWERS
In this spectacular presentation every color in the rainbow is represented. It is an introduction to the wildflowers of the Indian Wells Valley.

Contact our Educational Coordinator

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 The mission of the Maturango Museum is to preserve, interpret, and develop an appreciation for the natural and cultural history of the Northern Mojave Desert through research and education in the natural and physical sciences, and to promote the arts.

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100 East Las Flores Ave
Ridgecrest, CA 93555
760-375-6900 | FAX 760-375-0479
Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm
(Excluding Major Holiday)

The Maturango Museum is a Death Valley Tourist Center and  Northern Mojave Visitors Center

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