Spirit of the Desert Statue

History & Founders

Originally part of the Imperial Valley College, the Imperial Valley "College" Desert Museum owes its beginnings to the hard work of archaeologists Michael Barker, Morlin Childers, Jay von Werlhof, and many others. The original museum, founded in 1973, was located was on Main St. in downtown El Centro, CA. however in 1979 an earthquake destroyed the building. The collections were moved into a temporary storage facility while a new building was built in Ocotillo, CA.

After decades of advocating and fundraising, the Imperial Valley Desert Museum Society, Inc. developed a business plan (adopted in 2006), and completed construction of a brand new facility on October 2008.  In January 2012 the Imperial Valley Desert Museum had a 'soft opening' while completing a re-curation project of its artifacts.  Temporary and traveling exhibits rotated through the building until 2015, when the first two phases of a three phase permanent exhibition were installed.  

The IVDM's goal is always to be an active, community-focused museum.