October 2011
 Halloween Sparkles
Tortoise Tales: Newsletter of the Hi-Desert Nature Museum 
Archaeology Fair
Indiana Jones Gold BackgroundWhat do you get when you combine the science of archaeology with the fun of Lollapalooza?Archaeopalooza!  In celebration of California's Archaeology Month, join us for an exciting day of archaeological adventures and take a trip back in time through hands-on activities and presentations. 

*Lectures by Noted Archaeologists
*Craft Demonstrations
*Cahuilla Bird Singers
*Exhibitors - Food - Fun for All Ages!
*Hands-on Games & Crafts for Kids
 Face Painting & Treasure Hunt

Click here to view a full schedule of events

Saturday, October 15, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Yucca Valley Community Center Complex
FREE Admission!

Organized by the Town of Yucca Valley, Morongo Basin Historical Society, Joshua Tree National Park, and Copper Mountain College
Sponsored by Z107.7 FM and Hi-Desert Publishing
Halloween Spooktacular
and Howl-oween Costume Pet Parade
Halloween ToddlerJoin us for a day of Halloween-themed games and crafts for kids of all ages.  Dress in costume or come as you are and enjoy our frightfully fun activities!

Saturday, October 29
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
FREE Admission

Bring your pet and join in the fun at the Howl-oween Costume Pet Parade!  Prizes will be given out for the funniest and most original costumes, and also the best animal/owner look-alike.  Pet adoption will be sponsored by the Yucca Valley Animal Shelter.  11:00 a.m. in the Community Center Courtyard
Science Saturdays
Science Rules!
Spider Closeup

Closeup of Spider

Join us for days of discovery during Science Saturdays.  These programs will ignite your children's curiosity by presenting information and performing experiments relating to biological and physical sciences.  All programs will be facilitated by our Museum Educator.  It is recommended that children be of school age for this program.

11:00 - 11:30 a.m., FREE! No pre-registration required
October 22: Spiders         
November 5: Harmful and Helpful Bacteria
November 19: Physics  
Day of the Dead
Dia de los Muertos
Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls
Each November 1 (All Saints' Day) and November 2 (All Souls' Day), families in villages across Mexico gather to welcome home the visiting spirits of departed relatives on Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  Families prepare for the celebration weeks in advance by planning lively reunions, decorating burial plots, and preparing special foods.  Paticipants honor the deceased with home altars that include skeleton models, elaborate wreaths, crosses, votive lights, and fresh seasonal flowers.  Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years to an Aztec festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatle.  In Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches.  In Spain, there are festivals and parades and, at the end of the day, people gather in cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones.  Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.  In many American communities with Mexican residents, Day of the Dead celebrations are held that are very similar to those in Mexico.  
Support the Museum
Become a Member or Buy a Brick!
Museum LogoThe museum has launched two fundraising campaigns to enable us to continue providing quality educational programs and exhibitions for residents and visitors.  Help preserve our local history, art, culture, and natural science by becoming a museum member, or buy a brick in the entry way of the museum with your personalized engraved inscription.  Information on these programs is available at the museum's reception desk or on our web site.
In This Issue
Halloween Spooktacular
Science Saturdays
Day of the Dead
New Desert Diorama
Art Tours Collective Show
Season of Light Exhibit
Quick Links
New Desert Diorama
Desert Diorama
Museum staff recently installed a new desert diorama!  The life-like rocks were made with styrofoam and stucco and then painted by talented local artist Michael A. Summers.  Stop by and check it out!   
Art Tours Collective Show 
Caplinger Coyote on Lime

As part of the Morongo Basin's Cultural Arts Council's HWY 62 Art Tours 2011, and in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Tours, the Hi-Desert Nature Museum is pleased to host the Art Tours Collective Show.  This dynamic exhibition features the artwork of many artists participating in the Open Studio Tours being held October 22-23 and October 29-30.  The Open Studio Tours allows the visitor to experience working studios and purchase original art directly from the artists. (Shown above "Coyote on Lime" by Chuck Caplinger)


On Display Through November 5


Click here for more information on the Open Studio Tours

Season of Light

Holiday Exhibition

Season of Light

December is a time when people all over the world celebrate holidays.  Learn about the different customs for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Bodhi Day.  Discover the history and origins of the different holidays.  Visit this exhibition to help celebrate and enjoy the season!


On Display November 12 through December 22 



A mummy is a body - human or animal - whose skin and organs have been preserved. Mummies are both the result of intentional mummification and natural preservation through unusual conditions such as extreme cold, low humidity, or lack of air (bogs).  The oldest known deliberate mummy is a child from the Camarones Valley in Chile, and dates from 5050 B.C.  Although Egyptian mummies are best known, mummification is a practice of other cultures in dry climates including South America and China.  The earliest known Egyptian mummy, nicknamed "Ginger" for its hair color, dates back to 3300 B.C.  From the Middle Kingdom onwards, Egyptian embalmers used salts to remove moisture from the body.  Once dried, mummies were anointed with oils and perfumes then wrapped with strips of white linen.  Many sacred charms and amulets were placed in and around the mummy for luck and protection.  The mummy was placed in a sarcophagus inside a tomb, where they believed the mummy would rest eternally.  The mummy provided a home for the Ka, a spiritual double that was born with every person and lived on after they died as long as it had a place to live.  If the body decomposed, their spiritual double would die and the deceased would lose their chance for eternal life, therefore mummification was a very important process to ancient Egyptians.

Visit the 


The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is located in the Yucca Valley Community Center Complex at 57116 Twentynine Palms Highway.  The museum is open Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Admission is free; donations support the educational mission of the museum.  The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is operated by the Town of Yucca Valley. 

For more information on our programs and events contact the Hi-Desert Nature Museum at (760) 369-7212 or see our web site at www.hidesertnaturemuseum.org 


To view a full schedule of Yucca Valley events, sports programs, and recreation classes visit the Town's web site at www.yucca-valley.org