Nestled into the base of Mt. San Jacinto, The Desert Museum was designed by Palm Springs architect E. Stewart Williams, and completed in 1976.

The exterior features lightly tinted concrete, roughshod stonework and indigenous plants and cactus, which lets it blend in with the desert surroundings, it also helps to ward off the searing 110 degree temperatures.

Normally priced at $7.50 for adults, and $3.50 for children, the museum is offering a special price for July and August -- $1.00. You can't beat it.

Along with being wonderfully cool inside, the museum has much to offer. Three levels offer some natural history, some contemporary art, and a performing arts center. It is deceiving from the outside, and quite a bit larger than we anticipated.

The summer time entrance is off the main parking lot and brings visitors to the lower level. The lower level showcases an exhibit of Mexican art 'Crossing Borders,' a photography exhibit with early Palm Springs, and a wonderful outdoor patio sculpture garden.

We also poked our heads into the Annenberg Theater, which has a fine, community concert-like season, with such diverse acts as the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Susan Egan, and Chanticleer - a local Gay Men's chorus.

As for the museum, there's so much to see that we didn't try to blaze through the whole thing.

Here are some highlights.

Painters of the Rain Forest - by Roy DeForest [below]
Casualty in the Art Realm - by Robert Arneson [below]

Check the picture below carefully. Is it Megan standing near Grandma and Grandpa?

Actually, it's a sculpture by Duane Hanson - 'Old Couple on a Bench'

The museum seems to have some entertainment industry connection. The middle section houses the George Montgomery gallery and The William Holden collection.

Then, in the Walt Disney Gallery we saw "Under Construction: The architecture of Marmol Radziner + Associates." Wonderful scale models, striking black and white photographs of some outstanding examples of Southern California architecture, all beautifully presented and lit.

The museum shop was pretty cool. [above] Along with a good collection of art books, they also carried some unusual stuff from local artists, but nothing that we couldn't live without.

My expectations for a this museum was a converted strip mall space, with samples from local artists, who create visors out of beer cans and macramé. Shame on me.

This is a first-class museum, with some really outstanding stuff.

But it was time to go. So we left the air conditioned confines of the Palm Springs Desert Museum, and entered the wet, refreshing realm of the modern day water park.

Continue to Soak City water Park
Jump to to San Diego Musuems story
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