Eastern California Museum

Eastern California Museum, Independence: Tickets, Tours, Hours, Address, Eastern California Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

Eastern California Museum
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
The mission of the Museum is to collect, preserve, and interpret objects and information related to the cultural and natural history of Inyo County and the Eastern Sierra, from Death Valley to Mono Lake. The museum's permanent exhibitions include Native American basketry and crafts, Norman Clyde, Water Wars, Manzanar, Mary Austin, farming, ranching, pioneer families, geology, and a rotating special exhibit each year. The Museum also houses about 27,000 historic photographs of the Eastern Sierra region.We also have a museum giftshop.
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4.5
63 reviews
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foodiefool_10
Carson City, NV319 contributions
Important topics covered. Native American basket collection. WWII Japanese Interment, Owens Valley Water Grab
Nov 2020
This is a smaller museum that successfully covers some very important historical topics. It covers E Sierra history like you'd think. It also has an extensive Native American basket collection that is used by experts to compare specimens - the beauty of some of these baskets is breathtaking. This museum can give you an overview of the early 20th century water grab that Los Angeles inflicted on the Owens Valley and dried the huge lake just outside Lone Pine. You can also get an overview of Manzanar, a WWII Japanese interment camp just south of Independence. It is a close-up and touchingly presented topic - not to be missed. What makes this more special is that the museum will give you the only information you'll get on the subject as the Park Service is too afraid to man their museum at Manzanar.
Written November 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

GOESgirl
California9 contributions
Back road treasure
Feb 2020
Such an eclectic collection that showcases the area's rich history. Definitely something for everyone here. Friendly knowledgable staff adds to the experience.
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

HangtownCindy
Independence, CA52 contributions
A most extraordinary an unexpected museum
Dec 2019 • Couples
I have to put the caveat that my husband and I are currently the general managers for the Winnedumah hotel, since June of 2019 when the hotel came under new ownership and we are part of the Restoration team for this hotel. I mentioned this because I don't want anybody to think that we are biased towards any business we review in our small lovely little town.

We had been so busy that we had not had a chance to walk the two whole blocks to this museum until about a week ago and I have to say is the most extraordinary museum and so unexpected in terms of the vastness of knowledge and interesting displays and items that are under its stewardship that it truly is a hidden gem.

Those involved with the museum clearly have a passion for their subject matter and for preserving history. I truly could spend hours in this place and still not see or Learn about all of its treasures.

But don't just stop at the building and its contents step beyond into its fast backyard where you will find indigenous species growing and cared for a wonderful babbling Creek an amazing view of the high Sierra and wonderful little benches to sit down on and refresh your spirit.

If you have never been in the Owens Valley on highway 395 plan on doing a trip and certainly make this museum one of your stopping points it's not to be missed.
Written December 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

KFM214
San Diego, CA110 contributions
Hidden away on a back street in Independence, worthy stop
Oct 2019
And totally worth the detour to learn about all the Indian tribes of the area, some of the geology and much more. This eclectic museum is sure to entertain children and adults. here is a small park adjoining the building.
Written October 31, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

adoneforall
Julian, CA33 contributions
coyote dentures
Sep 2019
This is a gem of museum. Along with an extensive history in pictures of early families it also has one of the more amazing basket collections. The intricate designs, tight weaving and size (one made of horsehair that is about the size of a dime) were beautiful. The artistry top quality. Along with this they have a book/gift store. One of the oddest things was a set a dentures made from melted toothbrush and set with the teeth of a coyote. Well worth checking out.
Written October 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

James P
Los Angeles, CA206 contributions
A Surprisingly Detailed and Helpful Resource for Your Travel
Jul 2019 • Couples
This is the second time we've visited this incredible museum, which is owned and run by Inyo County to tell, in as complete a manner as possible, the story of the area around Highway 395. The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful. Don't miss the coyote teeth dentures for one 19th century settler.
Written July 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Anabel-2013
Santa Barbara, CA191 contributions
Houses the History of the Owens Valley
Dec 2018 • Couples
Covering the complex history of the Eastern Sierra with mining and speculations, farmers and entrepreneurs, you get the picture from the information presented. Notable is the wonderful basket collection.
Written January 15, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Burbankbaby
Running Springs, CA72 contributions
Wow! This place is seriously awesome!
Oct 2018 • Couples
Maybe it’s the fact that Independence, a fairly modest small town by any small town standards, has been blessed with a group of highly dedicated history buffs. We drove up the 395 to this very modest museum building, just for a special Railroader event - one of the first public re-appearances of the lovingly restored Carson and Colorado Railway steam engine #18. Thinking we’d bought a ticket to ride in a bumpy passenger car hitched up to the engine, we were awed to find out that our ride was actually going to be up front with the friendly engineer and fireman. For all of five minutes since they still need to lay more track. But so cool. And even before hopping up to the cab behind the boiler to join two other riders, we’d wandered through the museum, where there is no admission charge; we happened upon one of Amelia Earhart’s dresses; we pushed the button on a delightfully hookey and ancient mountain diorama that features a goat climbing downhill; and we’d been led directly to the museum’s archives by a sweet and lovely lady behind a counter, who was wiling to spend more than thirty minutes with us in answer to a question about a Tesla machine exhibit. Oh, and then we wandered into the large grassy, shaded side yard and picnic area featuring its own waterfall. I’m sure that doesn’t cover everything.
Written October 5, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

707clayg
Lomita, CA603 contributions
GREAT MUSEUM WITH SO MUCH TO SEE.
Sep 2018 • Couples
The museum is just off of Hwy. 395 in downtown Independence. There is a small gift shop with the rooms off to the sides. One room has a very nice collection of native artifacts and their history in the valley. Very nice baskets and arrow points on display. The other room shows more recent history of the area with some very interesting items on exabit. The museum is supported by donations so please donate if you stop.
Then there is a large outside area with lots of old mining and farming equipment. There are several old buildings they have moved in from the surrounding area that are really picturesque with some still full of items. Among the buildings they have moved several great old outhouses, one with a kids height hole. There is a very nice grass area with several picnic tables to eat lunch at or rest up before continuing the drive.

We have seen many small museums across the Midwest and highly recommend a stop at the Eastern California Museum.
Written October 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ethan G
Santa Monica, California, United States36 contributions
Very interesting little museum and desert garden. Close to 395. Well worth a stop!
Aug 2018 • Friends
This small museum has a nice collection of regional native american artifacts and an incredible collection of stuff from the early gold and silver mining days including old west weapons, old machines, and apothecaric vials featuring cure-alls like, "chocolate coated mercuric iodide" tablets! There is a terrific climbing exhibit of how the "old guys" did it. Detailed historic photo exhibits from manzanar and the construction of the LA aqueduct. There is a beautiful desert garden and outdoor walking area next door. The museum also houses a very complete lending library. Finally, there is a nice gift shop with one of the best collections of books on local exploration and culture. Admission is free. Well worth a visit if you are passing by and interested in anything to do with the history of the Eastern Sierra! A typical visit should take about an hour (more or less). Just minutes off 395. Enjoy!
Written September 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Eastern California Museum

Eastern California Museum is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM