About...

Located in the Heart of California's Historic Mojave Desert on Piute Butte, the Antelope Valley Indian Museum stands against towering rock formations. The large boulders become a portion of its interior while timbers from Joshua trees cover supports for its roof. This folk art structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors will find the history of the Museum and the collections it houses both colorful and varied. Five rooms of exhibits are now open for viewing. A number of artifacts on display are rare or one-of-a-kind items.

History of H. Arden Edwards
Howard Arden Edwards, a self-taught artist, was fascinated with the scenery around the buttes in the Antelope Valley.  He homesteaded 160 acres on rocky Piute Butte and in 1928.  With his wife and teenage son, he began construction of what was to be a combination home and showcase for his extensive collection of American Indian culture.  A unique structure evolved: a Swiss Chalet style building, decorated inside and out with American Indian designs and motifs, incorporating large granite boulders as an integral part of the building both inside and out. You actually climb upon these rocks as you go from picturesque Kachina Hall upstairs to California Hall. This unusual upper level was designed by Mr. Edwards and called his "Antelope Valley Indian Research Museum."

History of Grace Oliver
Grace Wilcox Oliver, a onetime student of anthropology, discovered Edwards' property while hiking in the desert.  She felt it would be a perfect setting for a personal hideaway. She contacted the owner with an offer to buy the property.  Successful in these negotiations, she modified some features of the main building, added her own collections, and expanded the physical facilities on the property.  By this time she had decided to open the entire Chalet structure as The Antelope Valley Indian Museum.  Grace operated the museum intermittently through the 1950s, 60s & 70s.

Becoming a State Park
Local support for the acquisition of the property by the State of California led to its sale by Oliver to the State Parks in 1979, donating both her and Edwards collection of artifacts.  In the 1980's, the museum became a unit of the California State Parks.  It has been designated as a Regional Indian Museums, emphasizing American Indian cultures of the Great Basin. The museum features and interprets the Southwestern, California and Great Basin Indian culture regions.  They were linked to one another by a mojor trade and interaction route through the Antelope Valley over millennia.