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EASTERN CALIFORNIA MUSEUM HISTORY

Early in 1928 rapid changes occurring in Owens Valley forced a realization that much historical data and material concerning Inyo County would soon be lost unless means of preserving them were found. At the same time, a group of young men were interested in collecting the remains of Indian culture, locating and photographing their petroglyphs and in any way possible recreating the history of a partly vanished way ot life Among these young men were Ralph Bell, Frank Parcher, Charles Forbes, and William Sanford. Frank's mother, Mrs. W. C. Parcher, shared their interest. She also thought that the history of pioneer life in this region should be preserved.

It was her plan that a museum be created to exhibit these varied collections. This resulted in the formation of the Eastern California Museum Association with Mrs. Parcher as first president; a position she held for several years. She strove from the first to develop a broad, comprehensive collection with departments of history, geology, botany, mineralogy, and Indian anthropology. How well she succeeded may be seen by even a casual visit to the museum.

The Eastern California Museum Association was formally organized Sunday evening, May 5, 1928, at the Bishop Branch of the Inyo County Library. The purpose of the organization was to collect, house, protect, preserve, and classify objects and natural landmarks of historic and scientific interest found in Eastern California and adjacent fields.

The first officers elected for the organization were Mrs. W.C. Parcher as President, Lawson Brainard as Vice President, and Charles Forbes as, Secretary/Treasurer. The other members of the Board of Directors were Douglas Robinson, William A. Irwin Jr., Bessie T. Best, Frank M. Parcher, and G. Walter Dow. Frank Parcher was appointed to be the museum's first Curator. The committees created by the Board of Directors were many. They covered all of the "ologies," plus History and Landmarks, Publicity, Research, House and Finance.

The committee chairmen were knowledgeable, ambitious, civic-minded people. Sparked by the enthusiasm of the first officers and committee chairmen, the immediate need of housing was obvious. Search for the means to provide housing began soon after the Association was formed and will continue as long as there is a museum; there is never enough room. The following are the major accomplishments regarding the development and acquisition of the Museum's various collections and some of the major developments that led to the completion of the numerous buildings that currently make up the museum "campus" and the preservation of other historical landmarks in Independence.

1928

1929

1931

1950-60

1960-68

1968-76