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Western Science Center

Opened in 2006, the museum is designed to provide world-class facilities for the research, curation, and presentation of the nearly one million specimens discovered during the development of Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet.

 

 

Museum Building

 

The Western Science Center (formerly the Western Center for Archaeology & Paleontology) is a museum located near Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet, California. The Western Center is home to a large collection of Native American artifacts and Ice Age fossils that were unearthed at Diamond Valley Lake, including "Max," the largest mastodon found in the western United States, and "Xena," a Columbian mammoth.

Opened in 2006, the museum is designed to provide world-class facilities for the research, curation, and presentation of the nearly one million specimens discovered during the development of Diamond Valley Lake in Hemet.

 

 

Exhibits

 

The tour of the permanent gallery begins with interactive exhibits on the natural history of Domenigoni and Diamond Valleys, continuing through displays on European and Native American culture and history from the area. Among the artifacts on display are pieces donated by the Domenigoni family, the original settlers of the valley, and the Soboba band of Luiseño Indians that inhabited the area before them.

Visitors can view two movies on the construction of Diamond Valley Lake, and the fauna of the Pleistocene in the Diamond and Domenigoni Valleys, shown in a 270 degree immersive theater that shakes with the movies. From there, visitors proceed to the paleontology gallery, replete with fossils recovered and studied by scientists from the San Bernardino County Museum. The highlights of this gallery are the skeletons of "Max", the largest mastodon ever discovered in the western United States, and "Xena", a Columbian mammoth. Also featured in the gallery is "Li'l Stevie", one of the most complete mastodons known from the western United States, who is displayed unreconstructed and still partially buried as found when it was first uncovered. The gallery also features the skeletons of a Harlan's ground sloth, and interactive displays on the disciplines of archaeology and paleontology.

Construction began in December of 2008 on a full-scale simulated archaeology and paleontology dig site, which opened for its first student excavations in the spring of 2009. It is currently being used by WCAP staff, in association with local K-12 schools and colleges, to teach proper excavation methodology to students. It is also open for museum visitors to view an active dig site in process.

 

 

Affiliations

 

In November 2008 the Smithsonian Institution awarded the Western Center with Affiliate status.

 


More Information

 

For more information about Western Science Center events and programs please visit: www.westerncentermuseum.org