If certain Town Council Members and Staff have it their way, the Hi-Desert Nature Museum may be facing the axe at today’s 6pm meeting citing budget woes as their reason to remove our only “Cultural Gem” of the Morongo Basin located in Yucca Valley, California.
As I see it, this may start a new trend to dumb down the next generation of young citizens growing up in the Morongo Basin by stunting their exposure to culture, stripping them of their history and removing their heritage provided by this museum. Look out Hi-Desert Cultural Center/Blak Box in Joshua Tree or Theatre 29 in Twentynine Palms, you may be next on the cultural chopping block if a narrow minded society decides there is no need to promote culture in our area.
With state budget cuts stripping our school teachers of supplies, books and other educational tools, the Hi-Desert Nature Museum is an asset for our teachers, young families and home school moms. The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is a destination for tourists, grade school students, parents, high school students, senior citizens and serves all our citizens regardless of their age or income status. It is a place of “Culture and Learning” providing a window to exotic destinations and presenting the history of our important heritage. Did you see the extensive exhibit of India suggested by the Town’s own Youth Commission? I hope you had a chance to see the artwork on display by our local high school students. I was told many had their photograph taken next to their original artwork ‘hanging in the museum,’ perhaps inspiring them to dream and achieve beyond this small town.
I attended the last two Yucca Valley Strategic Planning meetings. At each session, the fragile neck of our special museum was figuratively placed on the chopping block led by Mayor Chad Mayes citing it was a non-essential and that small towns do not have museums. Last minute reprieves were proposed by Councilman Bill Neeb suggesting the museum may benefit with a new location to increase visitors and other councilmembers suggested looking for partners. Councilmember Lori Herbel pleaded to save the museum for the sake of all our citizens including the children and that it was indeed ‘essential.’ Her words falling on deaf ears, as the other four Council Members did not place their colored check mark next to the museum as a priority. Also, at the strategic meeting, no Council Member marked acquiring town property as a priority but then purchased the PFF Bank Building for the town.
As I see it, the Yucca Valley Town Council found a way to purchase the PFF building using Redevelopment Agency funds bidding against the community for this property thereby removing it from the tax rolls. They have no clue what to do with the building and are proposing musical chairs by cramming the California Welcome Center, The Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Hi-Desert Nature Museum into that small building. When the music stops….one is out. .
I have visited the Musee du Louvre, Centre George Pompidou and Musee d’Orsay in Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Vatican Museum in Rome, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence Italy, the Prado Museum in Madrid, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and many other important museums in Greece, Italy, Switzerland and Egypt while living in Europe for many years. Museums are the cultural backbone of any civilized society. We are blessed to have our own in Yucca Valley and I can honestly say we have a First Class museum for our little town! Will our Hi-Desert Nature Museum ever be listed among the top Museums of the world? Probably not. It is the top museum of Yucca Valley and the Morongo Basin!
To the Yucca Valley Town Council: Please look to the future to preserve our Hi-Desert Nature Museum for the benefit of all our present citizens and future generations and a tourist attraction to stimulate our local economy.
To all Citizens: Please forward this post to your friends, family, school teachers and everyone in your email address book to let them know what may happen to our museum. Send in your comments to Mayor Chad Mayes at this email address: TownCouncil@Yucca-Valley.org.