The Kern River Valley Historical Society is celebrating over 50 years of operation! Our mission is to preserve and communicate the rich and colorful history of this region. The Kern Valley Museum in downtown Kernville, next to the Post Office, welcomes visitors to explore our rich history.

What's Happening


The Kern Valley Historical Society is Pleased to Announce

The Grand Opening of our
New Research Facility


Some of the materials available at the Research Annex: 

  • Over 4,000 books on Western History, Kern County history, conservation, movies, sciences, literature, and poetry - many are rare and from the Ardis Walker Collection.  All are accessible via LibraryThing online. 

  • Thousands of photographs of local interest including building Isabella Dam, local power plants, Kern Valley historical sites, Kern Valley people, the Tubatalabal, gold mining, the Isabella CCC Camp, early movies, etc.

  • Original manuscripts by Ardis Walker, Ken Wortley and others.

  • Maps - including rare maps of the West and local maps.

  • Thousands of documents including documents related to the Golden Trout Wilderness, the Cross-Country Highway, and other local history.

  • All of the research materials and photographs from the Bob Powers books.

  • And much, much more.




60 Big Blue Road; Kernville, CA  93240


The Kern Valley Museum houses artifacts from prehistoric times to the present.  We have a large geological and fossil exhibit, mining and ranching artifacts, an interactive history of the Edison hydroelectric plants, exhibits of the movie-making history of the area and construction of the Isabella Dam.

There are thousands of photographs of the early settlers, miners, cowboys and Indians.

Our wonderful back porch and yard are home for a 1925 Graham Truck, covered wagon and the Stagecoach John Wayne rode while filming scenes of “Stagecoach” in our Valley.

We also have a giant stamp mill used to render gold-bearing ore to powder, a working assay office, blacksmith shop and a restored and furnished 100 year old cabin.

In the 1850’s, Gold Fever gripped the nation. The Kern River Valley was part of the gold rush that spurred the westward migration of fortune seekers who became ranchers, farmers and merchants when the gold played out.

The Museum stands rich in history.  Come and discover the treasures it holds!