Kern County Museum
In 1942, the Kern County Museum was founded with its original mission to “collect, preserve, research, and present the history and culture of Kern County for the education and enjoyment of the public.” The museum consists of a variety of historical objects that have been a significant part of Kern County for many years. Thousands of historical and cultural artifacts are displayed in more than 56 historic buildings on 16 beautifully landscaped acres. Visitors can enjoy self-guided tours of the county's history at the Pioneer Village, as well as historical exhibits in the Chamber of Commerce building, Black Gold: The Oil Experience, and a growing collection of artifacts on the Bakersfield Sound. From the Gold Rush era through the county's settlement and development, the region's rich heritage can be experienced in one convenient and central location at the Kern County Museum. The Lori Brock Development Center, a children's museum with STEM-based learning tools, is also housed at the site.
Backstory and Context
Kern County Museum, founded in
1942, provides an informative experience through relocated and restored historical buildings that
tell the history of Kern County. There are 56 historical buildings on 16 acres of
beautiful landscape available for people of all ages to experience. The buildings are presented with artifacts and educational displays to bring visitors closer to the county's rich historical heritage.
The main museum gallery is located in the Chamber of Commerce building, which was built in 1928 as the original office of the Kern County Chamber of Commerce. On the museum's grounds, Pioneer Village features homes like the Lopez-Hill House, which dates back to 1906, and the Howell House, constructed in 1891. Also on display are a dentist office, doctor's office, Wells Fargo Bank, Norris School, railroad cars, and much more.
One of the newer exhibits at the museum is Black Gold: The Oil Experience. Kern County is well-known for its oil development, and this exhibit presents the history of the oil industry through interactive presentations and displays showing the technological advances made over time in the extraction of oil. Another new installation is country music star Merle Haggard's childhood home, which was brought to the museum in late 2015 and is currently under restoration.