China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, CA Image 1
    China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, CA Image 2

    China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, CA Museums

    The Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest features the cultural and natural history aspects of the Northern Mojave Desert region. Through geology, paleontology, art, labyrinth garden, and petroglyph (ancient rock art) tours, the museum tells the story of the area over thousands of years.

    The Bakersfield Museum of Art brings fine art exhibitions and programs to the Kern County and Bakersfield area for enjoyment and education purposes. Past exhibitions have varied widely from paintings, drawings, sculpture, fiber optics, and other unique visual art. Permanent collections include mostly local artists, but the ever-rotating exhibits have included world-famous artists as well.

    The Minter Field Air Museum in Shafter shows the importance of aviation and its impact on local life as well as the world. By featuring military artifacts, aircraft, and vehicles, the museum shares and educates its visitors. There are photos of cadets stationed at Minter Field during its active pilot training days in the 1940s, a Clark Tug from Wheeler Field that was present during the attack on Pearl Harbor, a WWI era Fokker DR1 aircraft, and much more.

    The U.S. Naval Museum of Armament and Technology at China Lake displays weapons, technology, and aircraft that have been crucial in the success at China Lake over the years. Exhibits include many heat-seeking, radar-guided, and laser-guided missiles and bombs that were tested and/or designed right here at NAWS China Lake.

    The Tehachapi Museum showcases the natural and cultural history related to the Kawaiisu people of the Tehachapi region. Exhibits range from prehistoric mammoth, to mining and the building of railroads, to ranching and farming. There are seasonal field trips to see petroglyphs (ancient rock art) in the area, and the museum also runs the Errea House, a 1900-30 era home of a Tehachapi family complete with period furnishings.

    The West Kern Oil Museum in Taft preserves and shares the history of oil in the area, especially the 1920s when oil fields nearly covered the entire town of Taft. Artifacts include oilfield equipment, housing, and a rebuilt wooden derrick (or tower) that stands 75 feet tall and is one of the only remaining original towers in the area.

    The Kern Valley Museum in Kernville displays an impressive array of artifacts including prehistoric fossils, gold mining equipment and objects, a 100 year old cabin in period furnishings, exhibits on the filming of John Wayne's movie "Stagecoach", including the actual stagecoach he used, and early photos of Indians and settlers.

    The Air Force Flight Test Museum at Edwards Air Force Base is available to those that have base accessibility, or else the public may apply for one of two group tours per month to visit some of the most innovative and important aircraft in the military's history. Just some of the aircraft on display are a F-22 fighter jet; the first aircraft to break the sound barrier, an orange X-1; the only 2-seater experimental YA-10B ever built; and a wall of mini replica aircraft that had their maiden flights at Edwards.

    The Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and Science in Bakersfield contains the world's largest collection of Shark Tooth Hill Miocene fossils and is Central California's only museum covering the topics of paleontology, geology, astronomy, anatomy, biology, archaeology, and anthropology. It is also the only museum in Bakersfield to be a part of the Blue Star Museum program which offers free admission to military members and families throughout the summer.