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Kern County Museum, Bakersfield

#2 of 26 in Things to do in Bakersfield
History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The Kern County Museum is a history museum located in Bakersfield, California. Its main focus is the history of Kern County (including Bakersfield). One of the prominent features is Pioneer Village. Located on 16acre, it contains over 50 original buildings from around the county, related to life in the late 19th century. Other features include: Lori Brock Children’s Discovery Center, Black Gold exhibit, and main building. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
One of the most recognizable structures at the museum is the Beale Memorial Clock Tower, located on the lawn in front of it. The clock tower was originally constructed in 1904 in the center of the intersection of 17th St. and Chester Ave. It was destroyed in the 1952 earthquake and rebuilt at this site in 1964.
The origins of the museum dates back to 1929. A letter was published in the local newspaper from the local Lions Club asking for historical documents, photos, and information related to Kern County’s past. It was requested that the information be donated to the Kern County Chamber of Commerce. The result was very positive. Thousands of pieces of information were sent.
In 1941, by a decree from the county, the Kern County Museum was founded. However, the outbreak of World War II would delay its opening until 1945. It was placed in a small corner of the Kern County Chamber of Commerce Building located on Chester Ave, next to the fairgrounds between the Kern River and Garces Circle. The popularity of the exhibit quickly grew, as well as the amount of space needed to showcase it. By 1952, the museum had grown large enough that the Chamber of Commerce decided to move to a different location. This allowed for the entire structure to be used by the museum.
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  • My daughter and I had a great time seeing the historic homes/businesses and oil industry exhibition displayed at the Kern County Museum. I thought the way it was set up, where you view the exterior...  more »
  • Oil is a big part of Kern County and the Black Gold Exhibit is the star of the museum. Nicely done throught donations of time and materials from the local oil industry. The old wooden drilling rig...  more »
  • I love this place. It's fun to visit and look at the old buildings and just learn what life was like during the older times. I can't wait until my kid is old enough to take her. Any family should look into taking their kids here at least once.
  • This place is wonderful, with lots of mature shade trees to give relief from the sun, as one wanders from building to building. There are about 60 restored old homes, businesses and other buildings brought in from around Kern County over the past 50 years. Each building is well maintained and has a nice display placard in front telling the history of the building and the people who lived or worked there. My husband and I spent about four hours there. This place is a treasure.

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