Think back to 1938. Or, at least, think about 1938. What do know about art at that time?
In 1938 the Palm Springs Desert Museum, specializing in Native American artifacts, the natural sciences, and the environment of the surrounding Coachella Valley was founded. What started as a museum about the desert has evolved into the primer cultural center of the desert.
Since 1938, the Museum has moved several times within the downtown area. In 1958, the first 10,000 square foot permanent structure was built, but by the end of the 60s, there was a need for a much larger building. Since then, the current building designed by architect E. Stewart Williams, was built. Additional growth resulted in adding and administration building, an additional wing, an education center, two sculpture gardens, four classrooms, a 90-seat lecture hall, and a 433-seat theater.
The Museum’s permanent collection of more than 55,000 objects features art of the Americas and 20th Century California art. Collections include modernist and contemporary painting and sculpture, Western American art Native American and Mesoamerican art and artifacts, contemporary studio glass art, photography, modern architecture and design, and graphics/works on paper.
By the area’s many affluent residents loaning or donating individual pieces as well as entire collections, this museum now rivals much more well-known urban metropolitan museums. You will see works from Marc Chagall, Picasso, Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Donald Judd, Louise Bourgeois, Ansel Adams…just to name a few.
Situated 123 miles east of Los Angeles, the Palm Springs Art Museum serves the greater Inland Empire, which covers Riverside and San Bernardino counties with a population of approximately 2.4 million residents. Located in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs is one of the nine cities in the valley.
Keeping with the vibrant nature of the Palm Springs area and the microcosm where diversity and unique cultures blend, it’s easy to see why the Palm Springs Art Museum membership continues to grow.
If You Go: The museum is open every day except Mondays and major holidays. Thursday evenings from 4 to 8 and every second Sunday the admission is free. With the inside temperature at an even 75 degrees, it’s an excellent place to escape the summer heat while perusing the latest collections. The café and museum store both offer something for everyone. More information may be found at www.psmuseum.org.