A Virtual Tour of the Museum
Native American Basketry and Life
Baskets for carrying, storage, and works of artistry, along with tools for hunting and food processing reveal local Kuzedikaa, Mono Lake Paiute, culture and history.
Artifacts from the mines to excavate and assay ore are part of the collection, which also includes the blade of the “Singing Saw” that cut timbers for the Log Cabin Mine, and one of the saloon bars from Bodie...
Ranching and Homesteads
Enter the “kitchen” where woodstoves kept the house warm as meals were prepared, family possessions are displayed. Work tools, saddles, and harness gear adorn one wall.
Signs, safes, post office scales, milk bottles, and a grocery scale (yes, often used to weigh babies, too) hint at a century of business life in the town of Lee Vining.
The Big Map and the Big Shovel
J. B. Clover held land and water rights along Rush Creek. In 1918, he contracted with the Mono Valley Improvement Company to construct a 30-mile canal to the southeast side of the Mono Lake Basin (a project begun in 1912 by the Rush Creek Mutual Ditch Company). They aimed to irrigate up to 60,000 acres of government land, offering water at $16/acre.
To promote the project, J.B. had this three dimensional topographic map made, for which he paid $10,000. After 7.5 miles of the ditch were completed, it was tested. The porous sandy soil only held water for 2 miles. Construction ceased. The company went out of business in 1920.
The power shovel used to dig the ditch was moved from Rush Creek to the museum grounds in 1990.
An original slate chalkboard, school desks, books, and photographs tell the history of students, teachers, and schoolhouses in the Mono Basin, including this Old Schoolhouse that served students from 1926 to 1942, and was moved to Hess park in 1987 to house our museum.