Kern County Museum - Black Gold: The
3801 Chester Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Admission: $10; $9 Student (13-17) and Senior (60-up); $8 age 6-12; $7 age 3-5; Free under age 3
Wed-Sun: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. No admission after 3 p.m.
The Kern County Museum presents Black Gold: The Oil Experience, a permanent science, technology and history interactive exhibit that opened in 2002. The 9,640-square foot museum hall and surrounding 2.3 acres present a complete overview of how oil is created, different methods of discovery and extraction throughout history, and the changing role of industry workers and their families.
This participatory exhibition features a variety of learning environments for audiences of all ages. Highlights include a simulated travel under the sea in a diving bell to learn how oil is formed, an exploration into oil discovery, recovery and its transformation into many products we use today, and the many dangers of asphaltum mining straight from the mouth of an old-timer. With Kern County providing 64% of California oil production, oil production has been a crucial component of the local economy since 1895.
The outdoor area features a full-size working jack plant, a wooden derrick with cable tools, pumping jacks, oil-field engines and vehicles, in addition to historic buildings of yesteryear that have been relocated from their original sites to the museum grounds.