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Coachella Valley Historical Museum

We were hired by the Coachella Valley Historical Museum to concept the new Cultural Museum in a new building within the planned museum campus. The concepts would help define the vision and fundraising efforts to showcase the historical and cultural stories of Coachella Valley.

Working with the museum director, we were presented the vision for the changing exhibits, numerous topic ideas, and important past community residents. We reviewed the collections, researched the regions geographical, geological, Native American and regional history. Understanding the desire of this local museum to reach a broader audience, our greatest challenge was to create engaging exhibits themes that connected to visitors' interests beyond this small agricultural community.

Our solution and recommendations were to present visitors with the unexpected, even surprising facts, that once revealed, will engage their interest and have them coming back for more. This vast desert region was once an ocean and that the expansive arid desert surrounded by mountains is actually a paradise.

The overarching theme; Coachella Valley's cultural history is connected to the land and rooted in arid region traditions born in the desert extremes. A large Introduction Panel will greet visitors to the desert museum with a new iconic mark - a seashell. This region, once under water and an enormous sea was home to giant ocean creatures, teaming with fish and crustaceans.

The first exhibit will showcase Coachella Valley's present geologic conditions and historic past. The theme - Severed by the San Andreas Fault, surrounded by four mountain ranges and the Salton Sea, the Cahuilla Basin is a Geologist's paradise will feature geologic specimens, maps and a topomodel.

From there we take visitors to learn of First Peoples - Native American beginnings, the harnessing of the land with the construction of the Hoover Dam in the Introduction of Water & Power, the Changing Times with the coming of The Rail Road, Early Pioneers and Prominent Citizens, the Diverse Community with tourism and retirement communities and Valley Today cultural stories.

Each of the permanent exhibit themes would feature changeable museum cases and panels to keep topics fresh and changing. A donor section would feature a regional timeline, themed donor panels and a "Hall of Fame" Induction area.

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