About the Maturango Museum
Founded in 1962, the Maturango Museum is an important educational and cultural resource in Ridgecrest, California. In addition to the exhibit galleries, which feature the natural and cultural history of the Upper Mojave Desert, the Museum sponsors many programs and tours, including tours to the world-famous Coso petroglyphs. The Museum is an information center for Death Valley, the Northern Mojave Desert, and the Highway 395 and 178 corridors. Admission is free to the gift shop and information area. Admission to museum exhibits and art gallery is free to members; for non-members we ask $5 per adult age 18 – 54 and $3 age 55 and older. There is no charge for anyone under age 18 or for active duty military. Admission to the museum will be FREE to everyone the 2nd Saturday of each month! Museum Membership also includes the privilege of visiting other museums, at no additional charge, with which the Maturango Museum has a reciprocal agreement. We are open every day 10-5, excluding major holidays.
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. Adopted by the Board of Trustees, December 17, 2012
How the Maturango Museum Began
Ever since November 1943, the work of Navy’s major research, development, test, and evaluation facility at China Lake has been based on a spirit of military and civilian teamwork. Here at the Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest, we are proud that our museum is founded on that very spirit. The museum came about after Rhea Blenman, wife of China Lake Commander Capt. Charles Blenman, began museum planning meetings in November 1961with a small group prominently including LaV McLean, whose husband Dr. William B. McLean, was Blenman’s civilian counterpart at China Lake. Mrs. McLean, who taught P.E. at the local junior high school, asked history teacher Clarence Willey to join the group, and he soon became the president of a board that included movers and shakers from both China Lake and Ridgecrest. After much discussion about a name for the new museum, colorful range guard Pop Lofinck suggested “Maturango,” the name of a lofty peak in the nearby Argus Range. As Sylvia Winslow painted backdrops for the original displays, others began recruiting members, raising funds, and collecting items for the new museum. In a remarkably short time, the new Maturango Museum was ready for visitors by December 1962. The founders always considered the Quonset hut to be a temporary home, but the museum remained there for 24 years. But even as a small museum staff greeted visitors at the Quonset hut, a lot was happening to make the dream of a permanent facility a reality. For example, Sue Byrd coordinated gourmet luncheons aided by a large group of volunteer cooks and waitresses, and Florence Green put her formidable grantwriting talents to work. The original Maturango Junction, held in front of the Quonset hut in 1976, is another prominent example of the many ways members raised funds. Finally, after major donations of labor and supplies from local businesses, the Maturango Museum opened in its current location in October 1986 — and today we’re still growing, thanks to the same spirit of volunteerism that brought our museum to life in the first place.
Galleries, Gift Shop and Restrooms (Layout of Museum)
Visit Other Museums ~ Reciprocal Agreement
The Maturango Museum has reciprocal agreements with several museums in the area. The reciprocal agreement allows members of the Maturango Museum to visit the other museum at no cost for entry and members of the other museums to visit the Maturango Museum at no cost for entry into the exhibit areas. You’ll need to show your membership card to receive free entry Currently our reciprocal agreements are with the California Living Museum in Bakersfield, the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History in Bakersfield the Mammoth Lakes Foundation in Mammoth Lakes, California and the EFBC’s Feline Conservation Center, also known as the Cat House, is located in Rosamond, California. The Maturango Museum is also an Association of Science-Technology Centers Travel Passport Participant. Maturango Museum Members are eligible for benefits such as free General Admission when traveling outside the Ridgecrest area and visiting other member, participating Passport museums. Click HERE for a complete list of participating museums.
Strategic Plan: 2013 - 2033
Members of the Board of Trustees
Jerry Bradley – President
Bev Hill – Vice President
Camille Anderson – Treasurer
Dianne Dilley – Secretary
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.
Featured Artist Interviews
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)