Museum Lectures

Namibia, by rail and bus- Lecture by Janet Westbrook

Wednesday, April 12, 7 p.m., and Sunday April 23, 3 p.m

Namibia (former German SW Africa, independent since 1990) is a desert land on the Atlantic SW coast of Africa, just above South Africa. It doesn’t get many US tourists, but it should!

There are many ways to visit this land of wonders, lots of animals, and few people, but I chose to go by Rovos Rail, the Shongololo Express, from Cape Town, South Africa into Namibia and finish at Windhoek, the capital. The train trip itself is an adventure – narrow gauge, meticulously restored rail cars, top notch staff and experience. We explored from the train on buses, since most places involved dirt roads and places where tracks don’t go.

This summer in Namibia is setting records for rainfall – so what is usually barren desert was green, GREEN for us – the Kalahari, the Karoo, and even parts of the Namib desert on the coast were green with happy trees, bushes, and tall grasses and lots of ponds of water. Makes it difficult to see animals, but we did see lots of animals – Oryx, Giraffes, Ostriches, Wildebeests, lots of Impala and smaller antelopes, Zebras, etc. But the outstanding attraction in Namibia is the coral pink sand dune field, which are red in the morning light! Amazing tall reddish sand dunes!! And Fish Canyon – comparable, (kinda,) to the Grand Canyon, but much older. Bushman pictographs. Diamonds. I’ll be emphasizing “ecological equivalents”, plants that looks the same as ours, but are definitely not related. A desert defines what can live there. 3200 miles in all, so many amazing things we saw! Both lectures will be the same, but gives you a choice of evening or Sunday afternoon

Natural History of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine

Saturday, May 6th @ 7 PM

Retired US Forest Service Bristlecone Pine Forest Manager John Louth will present a talk, with accompanying images, on the characteristics and range of all three bristlecone species. He will detail the differences between the species and discuss how a changing climate will affect the longevity and forest health of the ancient trees. He will be bringing tree core samples and we’ll examine the tiny tree rings that make up the longest tree-ring record ever established.

John Louth is a 34 year veteran of both the National Park Service and the US Forest Service. He has worked in Colorado, Oregon, and the central coast of California before coming to the eastern Sierra. A graduate of the University of Nevada/Reno and Cal Poly State University/San Luis Obispo John has worked in forest management since 1977 and taught for the University of California/Riverside as an extension instructor in biology (natural history of the ancient bristlecone pine).

Antelope Valley Archaeology – Lecture by Bruce Love

Sunday, May 21st @ 3 PM

On Sunday, May 21, Dr. Bruce Love will present a slide show and lecture on 10,000 years of Antelope Valley history. He will trace the unique archaeological record of the Antelope Valley and Western Mojave Desert going back to the end of the last Ice Age some 10,000 years ago. Certain artifact types dating from that period, including some housed at the Maturango Museum, will be presented along with more recent types showing a continuous occupation for the last ten millennia.

Archaeologist/Anthropologist Bruce Love received his Ph.D. at UCLA in 1986 and has some 40 years experience in the archaeology of the Western Mojave Desert. Living in Juniper Hills in the Antelope Valley, he is also a Mesoamerican expert, having published books and articles on Maya hieroglyphic writing, history, and ethnography. Currently Love is involved in a project photographing ancient artifacts at the Maturango Museum and Edwards AFB.

The lecture will be at 3:00 PM in the Winslow Gallery at the Maturango Museum.

Special Lectures on the Coso Petroglyphs

Free lectures on Coso Petroglyphs—this spring, Maturango Museum Archaeology Curator and Archaeologist Alexander “Sandy” Rogers will give his excellent lecture on the Coso Petroglyphs on Saturday, March 25, Saturday, April 22 and Saturday, May 20.  All lectures are free to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. in the Museum’s Sylvia Winslow Gallery. Seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Lectures are designed for those who have taken or will take a petroglyph tour through the Museum.

Special Petroglyph Lecture Presentation Materials


Lecture on Chernobyl and Hanford – A Tale of Two Cities

Lecture on The History of Trona and Searles Valley

Lecture Elizabeth Kenneday – Art & Water Struggle at Mono Lake

Lecture Paul “Booger” Valovich – Your Own Magic Carpet

 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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