Located in the Village Green Heritage Center is the Agua Caliente Museum which showcases the history, lifestyle, art and culture of the Agua Caliente Band of the Cahuilla Indians and other Indian Nations. Learn about the Agua Caliente through interesting exhibits of art, handicrafts, and other artifacts; photographs, and live demonstrations.There is also a botanical garden and a gift shop. The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum is the first Native American museum to become part of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program. Hours are 10 AM to 5 PM Wednesday through Saturday and Noon to 5 PM on Sunday (September through May) and 10 AM to 5 PM Friday and Saturday and Noon to 5 PM on Sunday (June through August). Admission is free.
The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum has its very early roots as a bathhouse in the late nineteenth century and was in use as early 1889. The tribe of Cahuilla Indians leased the bath house land where a hot spring was located in what is now the heart of Palm Springs. By 1910 it had come into disrepair and was under strict scrutiny by the Federal government which at the time was collecting the entrance fees on behalf of the tribe. To make matters worse the tribe, which now owned the property, could not make repairs because of official bungling and red tape. It was later rebuilt but remained under Federal scrutiny throughout this period. Rebuilt again in 1930 the Agua Caliente Hot Spring became a magnet for Hollywood celebrities and the City of Palm Springs grew up surrounding it. Eventually the activities of the tribe became at odds with local businesses. By 1937 the Federal government took over the operation of the Reservation and reduced its income.
Today it's a thriving museum and activity center which was officially dedicated in 1991 to the enlightenment of us all. As presently construed the museum is a non-profit entity otherwise known as a 501©(3) organization dedicated in its own words "...to inspire people to learn about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other Native cultures....". Activities today include educational programs, exhibitions of various relevant collections and research and is constantly striving to expand. My first visit to the Museum came at the founding celebration that year and to my interest and delight to see the enthusiastic spirit and intention to dramatically expand the vision of the Band and to become a resource for not only the local Native cultures but the general population as well.
My second visit to the museum came last March when I attended the five-day film festival which takes place in March of each year. Full length feature films, documentaries and short films were featured as well as many local activities, diverse presentations and even classes for some. The films are screened at the Camelot Theaters in downtown Palm Springs. I was privileged to attend both the opening and closing-night receptions and mingle with a special audience; filmmakers, actors and other celebrities sharing an interest in the promotion of knowledge and understanding of the Cahueilla Band.
My third, and most recent, visit was last October when I attended a Museum sponsored, delightful night under the stars in Andreas Canyon which included cocktails, dinner, an auction and Native entertainment.
Activities at the Museum continue to expand and along with its growth is a plan to build a $65,000,000, 110,000 Square foot Museum in what is known to the locals as Section 14 of Palm Springs otherwise known as the Tahquitz area. Designed by famed architects Jones and Jones the new Museum is expected to entertain nearly 150 thousand visitors a year. In the meantime all are invited to visit the museum as it is now, enjoy the activities and learn more about the indigenous Native cultures and the Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians.
This is a small quaint museum was established in 1991 -"..to leave our prints as our ancestors did for us, so that our children will have a sense of knowing how they are important"...
The Museum traces the history of the Agua Caliente Indians from the earliest prehistoric times to the present , through artifacts left by their ancient people and the stories and photographs left by more recent ancestors.
The evening we stopped by, there was an open evening where members were meeting
and taking part in refreshments, well they invited us in, and made us very welcome and even offered us wine and refreshments. It was small but a very interesting little museum.
The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum inspires people to learn about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other Native cultures. They have some really nice exhibitions, collections, research, and educational programs. They even have a little area set aside to view a video and a wonderful gift shop.
Winter: Sept 3 – May 27
Wed –Sat 10am-5pm
Summer: May 28-Sept 2
Friday – Sat 10am-5pm
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