Permanent Exhibits

The Imperial Valley Desert Museum's permanent exhibits showcase the beauty of the Valley and the determination to thrive by all of its inhabitants. From Kumeyaay pottery and tools to learning about modern agriculture, come visit IVDM today to learn more about our desert's histories!

Land of Extremes:

When it's too hot to explore the desert in person, this projected panoramic photograph can get you started! View over 8 different locations in Imperial and eastern San Diego Counties like the Yuha Desert, the Jacumba Wilderness Area, and Algodones Sand Dunes. User-driven interactive content uses icons to explore hiking trails, historic markers, local flora and fauna, and commercial locations such as the Jacumba Hot Springs Spa & Resort and El Centro's Burgers & Beer.


Introducing visitors to the museum and what you might see on a hike in the desert: grinding stones, ceramic sherds, and stone debitage that archaeologists use to recreate the area's history.

Rock Talks: Pull out panels describing a hike and its geology, where you would see the actual rock formation used as a model for each exhibit rock.

Adaptation Cases: Highlighting three of the ways Native Americans adapted to survive in the extreme landscape of the Imperial Valley.

Visible Storage:

Nearly 100 intact or nearly intact ceramic vessels will be on display for the first time in over 40 years. In addition to text panels digging deeper into the story of Southern California ollas are 2 monitors presenting a video on traditional Kumeyaay ceramic arts thanks to a grant from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.

Lake Cahuilla:

Many people don't realize it, but long before it was a desert, the Imperial Valley was under water! A topographical projection map explores the history of water in the Imperial Valley, from an ocean to Lake Cahuilla to today's incarnation of Lake Cahuilla: the Salton Sea. An immersive diorama invites visitors to walk along the shoreline of Lake Cahuilla and discover what it might have been like to live along the lake.

Power of Imperial Valley:

Showcases the power of the Imperial Valley, highlighting the vibrancy and productivity of the Imperial Valley through a multimedia presentation.