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Palm Springs Desert Museum
101 Museum Drive
Palm Springs, California
Phone: 760-325-7186 --
The Palm Springs Desert Museum is a nonprofit cultural, scientific and
The Museum strives to promote a greater understanding of art, natural
science and the performing arts for Coachella Valley residents and visitors. It
encourages broad public interest in these disciplines through collections,
exhibitions and programs. Committed to professional excellence, the Museum is
responsible for preservation, study and communication, placing education at the
center of its public service role.
The Art Department focuses on collecting 19th and 20th century art with an
emphasis on contemporary California art, classic western American art and Native
American art. A schedule of changing exhibitions parallels these areas and also
includes art of other regions and periods. Through collections, conservation,
exhibitions and publications, the Art Department strives to present its audience
with art of the highest aesthetic merit.
The Natural Science Department is dedicated to fostering public
appreciation, knowledge and responsible stewardship of the desert regions of the
Coachella Valley and California. This is accomplished through innovative
exhibitions, integrated research and diverse exhibition programs in the
disciplines of biology, geology and archaeology.
The Performing Arts Department emphasizes a variety of national and
international music, theater, dance, film and lecture presentations. Recognizing
that the creation and performance of art are instrumental to the cultural
well-being of our society, the department endeavors to build a distinctive
presence in the performing arts through its programming efforts.
Adopted by the Board of Trustees on January 22, 1993
BRIEF HISTORY of THE PALM SPRINGS DESERT
In 1938 the Palm Springs Desert
Museum was founded and housed in a small room in La Plaza Arcade on Palm Canyon
Drive and focused on the desert environment and its native peoples. In the
center of the present-day business district, La Plaza was a gathering place for
residents. Soon the growing Museum found temporary new quarters in a section of
the town's library, then expanded again in 1947 into a section of a converted
10,000-square-foot structure was built in downtown Palm Springs in 1958, and in
1962 it expanded to include an auditorium and galleries for contemporary art
exhibitions. The Museum continued to grow and a 75,000-square-foot building was
designed by architect E. Stewart Williams for a site a few blocks away. In
downtown Palm Springs, the architecturally innovative Museum complex enjoys a
commanding presence at the base of Mt. San Jacinto.
The Museum's emphases became
threefold: Art, Natural Science and Performing Arts. Educational programs
related to each of the three disciplines were planned, and the new Palm Springs
Desert Museum opened in January 1976. Its intimate 440-seat Annenberg Theater
presents internationally known performers and concert artists in music, dance
and theater. The Museum expanded again in 1982 with the opening of the Denney
Western American Art Wing and the Marks Administration building. Classic western
American art was added to the Museum's art emphasis at that time.
The need for more
exhibition space and educational facilities was recognized by the Board of
Trustees, noting increased population and tourism in the Coachella Valley, in
addition to the Museum's growing collections. In 1995 an expansion project was
initiated with a gift of $1.5 million and 132 works of art from renowned
designer and art collector Steve Chase. The Steve Chase Art Wing and Education
Center, also designed by E. Stewart Williams, opened in November 1996. The
expansion included 25,000 additional square feet of art galleries, a mezzanine,
a sculpture terrace, four classrooms, two art storage vaults and a 90-seat
lecture hall. The entire Museum complex now encompasses 124,435 square feet and
houses a collection of over 50,000 objects. Frey House II, an
architectural landmark designed by modernist architect Albert Frey, was a
bequest to the Museum in 1999, providing a new preservationist role for the
In 1982 the
Museum earned national accreditation from the American Association of Museums.
After a two-year process of self-evaluation in 1993/94, the Museum received
subsequent accreditation until 2004. PSDM is an institution dedicating to
offering exciting new art, natural science, performing arts and educational
opportunities for the region and for its national and international visitors in
the 21st century.
Highlights & Collections:
Contemporary art, 20th century sculpture, 19th century American art of the
West, Native american art.
John Register: Venetian Light. 1977
Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays and major holidays.
Admission & Directions:
Admission prices are
$6.50 seniors 62+ and
$3.50 children 6-17, students and military with ID.
- Parking is free; an elevator is located in the north
parking, a ramp is located at the south entrance.
For more information call the Palm Springs Desert Museum at 760/325-0189.
The Palm Springs Desert Museum is located at 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs
(just west of the Desert Fashion Plaza).
Janice Lyle, Executive Director
Barbara Pitts, President, Board
Katherine Plake Hough, Director of Collections
Williams, Director of Education and Programs
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