Since museums used to be dangerous places, full of curators swiping brave exhibit-goers' wallets for modern currency displays, the public has not fully readjusted to their new crime-free ethos. Explore safe museums with today’s Groupon: for $5, you get general admission to the Kern County Museum (a $10 value).
Kern County Museum’s exhibits highlight the establishment's integral mission: engaging and educating the public on Kern County’s role in shaping California history. One of the museum’s star exhibits is the 9,640-square-foot Black Gold: The Oil Experience, which offers an in-depth and participatory experience exploring the complicated life and many uses of darkened earth-blood. The Pioneer Village, an outdoor park within the museum, contains locally influential relics and replicas from the mid 1800s to the mid 1900s. Additional highlights include an interactive exhibit on Lewis and Clark, the animalistic Art Safari, and Kid City, which teaches urban diversity to children by having them role play in careers such as ambulance driver, veterinarian, and astronaut who writes poetry to pay the bills.
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Kern County Museum
In 1868, a massive flood rolled down the Sierra Nevada Mountains, carrying tree after uprooted tree in its wake. Once the waters receded, those trees and the very confused squirrels hiding in them covered the Kern River valley. That's right where Thomas Barnes found them. So he cut them into logs and built a cabin from the ground up, then moved in with his wife and seven children. Today, that same cabin stands as one of the buildings within Kern County Museum's Pioneer Village.
The structures here are relics of several different times and places. Some came from old farms in the area, while others once stood on the main streets of towns—such as the Beale Memorial Clock Tower from old Bakersfield. While their original purposes have long since passed, the buildings still spring to life each time a visitor passes through. It's easy to imagine a blacksmith at work at the Calloway Ranch in the late 1800s, or the faithful tellers who saw The Kern Valley Bank through the Great Depression.
A different view of Kern County's history takes center stage inside the museum's other permanent attraction, Black Gold: The Oil Experience. Here, 9,640 square feet of exhibit space reveal how oil forms deep within the earth, as well as methods for its discovery and production. Other displays profile the workers and historical events that ultimately led to Kern County claiming 64% of California’s oil production.
3801 Chester Ave.
Bakersfield, California 93301Get Directions