Desert museum gets much needed funding

OCOTILLO, Calif. – The Imperial County Board of Supervisors came to the rescue of a museum in Ocotillo.

The board voted to give $125,000 to the Imperial Valley Desert Museum to renovate exhibits.

“Funding that we needed to finish phase two of the permanent exhibit,” explained museum Executive Director Neal V. Hitch.

Hitch said this historical spot is unique compared to other museums. “We’re not a geology museum, we’re not a native American museum, we’re not an archaeology museum, but we’re really all of those things.”

Hitch adds the interaction with the region is the museum’s main attraction.

“Come see how we interpret native American culture and geology and then drive into the desert and see that for yourself.”

Among its many exhibits the museum’s collections specifically highlight regional history.

“A large collection of intact ollas. We have visible storage. One of the best parts of the collection,” Hitch said.

Imperial County District 2 Supervisor Jack Terrazas said the museum plays an important role in education which is why the board chose to contribute funding.

“Different schools that have already gone through and go through a two-hour program and the kids love it.”

San Diego State University student Edgar Cevilla even made the trip out to do research.

“The boxes that I’m researching right now are boxes that haven’t been open in forty years. Nobody’s looked at them besides me,” Cevilla said.

Travelers and locals can both learn more about the region, promoting Imperial Valley and Ocotillo.

“Helps us to promote kind of like a mini-chamber,” said Terrazas.

Terrazas adds because of the funding people can visit the museum for free for the rest of this year.

The museum is in Ocotillo, about 30 minutes west of El Centro off Interstate 8.

It is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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