Current Exhibits for 2011-2012

Graphic Hospitality: Vintage Palm Springs Hotel Brochures

A selection of vintage hotel brochures.

La Plaza

Photos of the construction and opening of La Plaza (140 South Palm Canyon Drive), one of the earliest examples of a California shopping mall.

Melba Bennett

Author of six books, part owner of Deep Well Ranch, chair of the local USO during WWII, and founder of the Palm Springs Historical Society.

Carl Eytel

Many paintings by Carl Eytel, the first resident artist of Palm Springs.

Exhibits with Videos

The Desert Inn

Videos and an exhibit case are filled with artifacts for the first major Palm Springs tourist attraction, The Desert Inn and, subsequently, The Fashion Plaza. The video shows pictures of The Desert Inn over the years and photos of what has happend in that same location since the Inn was demolished.

Palm Springs: Then and Now

A video presentation of photographs from 1946 alternating with the same location as it currently appears. Four notebooks contain the complete collection of more than 250 photographs documenting "then and now" of every building from 500 North Palm Canyon Drive to 200 South Palm Canyon Drive.

Color photographs

The Winfield Line - Palm Springs: A True Story of Our Town

A new gallery of color photographs features the journals, guest book, and 75 color photographs by Winfield and Grace Song Line used to tell a story of Palm Springs from the 1940s to the 1980s. Also in this gallery is a selection of color photographs from the collections exhibited here for the first time in color.

Black and White Photographs

A gallery of black and white photographs featuring local Native Americans, Palm Springs Pioneers Desert Flora and Fauna, Famous Palm Springs Hotels, Golf, Tennis and other Sports, Celebrities, Palm Springs Aerials, Palm Springs during WWII, Presidents, and Mid-Century Architecture. Many of the streets in Palm Springs carry the family names of important Indian tribal leaders - Arenas, Belardo, Patencio, Ramon - many of their pictures are in this gallery along with the pioneers who settled here. Such as Bunker, Coffman, Lykken, and McCallum. All still resonate in the chronicles of life in Palm Springs.

Cahuilla Indians - Cowboys - Mexican Community

A full-size windowed display of a home and domestic activities representing the first people in this region, the Cahuilla Indians. Also, a display showing the influence of "cowboys" on the activities of locals and tourists in the mid-twentieth century. A display case features artifacts and memorabilia collected and contributed by the local Mexican community.

The Chi Chi

The famed watering hole where some of the brightest names in showbiz gathered for more than 25 years. The lineup included talent like Cab Callaway, Ella Fitzgerald, Sophie Tucker, Louis Armstrong, and Wayne Newton. Vocal groups ranged from the Ink Spots to the Andrew Sisters. Featured comics were Jack Benny, Milton Berle and Red Buttons.

On display is the drum set of Bill Alexander musical director and master of ceremonies for the Starlite Room. Along with authentic night club memorabilia, including plates, glasses, napkins, ashtrays, playing cards, a Chi Chi lighter, swizzle sticks and menus dating back to 1938.

Come hear the recordings of the actual live performances of Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong and Lena Horne as they performed at the Chi Chi.

Whether this is your first visit or you have been here often, be sure to see the new artifacts added to the Chi Chi nightclub display in the foyer and the refurbished furniture in the Cornelia White "Little House".

“History is a kind of introduction to more interesting people than we can possibly meet in our restricted lives; let us not neglect the opportunity.” Dexter Perkins

Come see for yourself

A 24 minute film on the history of Palm Springs runs continuously at the museum.