High Desert Museum Virtual Programs Open Up New Worlds

(Stacey Smith | Photo courtesy of High Desert Museum)

VIRTUAL EVENT: Slavery and Black Exclusion in the American West

Before the Civil War, Western states and territories became a battleground over the westward expansion of slavery and the status of free and enslaved Black people. Professor Stacey Smith, a historian at Oregon State University, will explore the enslavement of Black people in the West and African American resistance to slavery, as well as how both issues intertwined with anti-Black exclusion laws in Oregon and California.

Stacey Smith specializes in the history of the North American West, with a particular emphasis on race relations, labor and politics during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. She teaches courses at Oregon State University on the American West and the Civil War and Reconstruction as well as the U.S. history survey.

Her book, Freedom’s Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and Reconstruction (University of North Carolina Press, 2013), won the inaugural David Montgomery award in U.S. labor and working-class history from the Organization of American Historians and the Labor and Working-Class History Association. She has also published her work in the Pacific Historical Review, the Oregon Historical Quarterly, and the Journal of the Civil War Era and has written for the New York Times and the Black Past.org.

Smith earned her Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Honors and awards include the 2014 David Montgomery Prize for Freedom’s Frontier, NEH Summer Stipend (2013), Andrew Mellon-Huntington Library Fellowship (2013), 2012 Louis Knott Koontz Award and the Ray Allen Billington Award, from the Western History Association (2011).

Her newest book project, An Empire for Freedom, explores African Americans’ migrations to the Pacific Coast in the middle of the 19th century and their struggle for equality in the U.S.’s expanding continental empire.

This event is now a virtual event. The program is free but registration is required. We will email the link and login instructions on September 16. Thank you!

Register here: 13443.blackbaudhosting.com.

Backpack Explorers

Tuesdays, 10-11am

Come on an adventure! Children ages 3-5* and their caregivers investigate science, art, music, stories and culture in a fun, hands-on manner. Don backpacks filled with exciting objects while journeying through the Museum’s nature trails and exhibits. New themes weekly.

$15 per child. Members receive 20 percent discount. Non-members pay Museum admission for accompanying adult.

*Due to face covering requirements at the Museum, we ask that caregivers bring to the program only the children between 3 and 5 years old registered for Backpack Explorers. Everyone is required to wear a mask in the classroom.

Per High Desert Museum policy, no refunds can be issued. For cases of illness or emergency, with notice 24 hours before the class, a class transfer may be issued.

September 21

Museum in the Making – CLICK HERE TO BOOK NOW

If you could create any kind of museum or exhibit, what would it be? Learn about what makes a museum exhibit and dream up your own museum model featuring your own work of art.

September 28


Connect with new friends, move and explore on your own art adventure. We will play games based on the art of Herve Tullet and hear an animal-themed story. After story time we will make our own work of art based on our story time adventure.

October 5


Be on the lookout! Wildland fire crews play an important role in keeping our forests healthy. Tour a historic ranger station, check out what it was like to work on the front line on a forest fire and learn about the Museum’s prescribed burns in 2018 and 2021.

October 12

My First Nature Journal – CLICK HERE TO BOOK NOW

Nature journaling helps us pay attention to our surroundings. Come with a sense of wonder and learn how to document observations about the natural world by painting pictures and preserving textures.

October 19

Chicken Chatter – CLICK HERE TO BOOK NOW

Off to the ranch we go! Feed the chickens and see if they laid any eggs. Do experiments and learn why eggs are so strong.

October 26

Creatures of the Night – CLICK HERE TO BOOK NOW

Did you hear that? What was it? This class is your chance to get a close-up look at some of the many creatures that come out at night. Being nocturnal is popular in the animal world.

November 2

Unbeatable Beaks – CLICK HERE TO BOOK NOW

Why do bird beaks look the way they do? Have you ever seen a bird eat? Let’s look at some feathered friends and see what breakfast looks like for them. Find out what a barn owl eats for dinner!

November 9


Have you ever wondered what a day would be like in the life of a fish? Uncover the answer as we get close to the Museum’s fish and explore their underwater world.

November 16

Animal Trackers – CLICK HERE TO BOOK NOW

Whose trail is that? Be a detective and use the clues left behind by animals to find out who has been where and what they were doing.

Fall Daily Schedule

1904 Miller Ranch and Sawmill

Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-3pm

(Break 12:30-1pm)

The Miller Family Ranch is open! Meet the Millers as they welcome you into the past. Explore how this working family lived. Help with chores and play games!

Bird of Prey Encounter*

11am and 3pm

Meet a non-releasable raptor in the Museum’s care. Discover how to identify these aerial predators and how we can ensure their future in the High Desert. Space is limited and a pass is required. Please inquire at Admissions when you arrive at the Museum.

Carnivore Talk*


From wolves and cougars to bobcats and raccoons, many predatory animals call the High Desert home. Learn how to identify them and hear about their role in the region. Space is limited and a pass is required. Please inquire at Admissions when you arrive at the Museum.

Otter Encounter


Explore the role these charismatic animals play in riparian ecosystems of the High Desert. Where are otters found? What do they eat? How are they an indicator of a healthy river community?

We ask all who attend the Otter Encounter to please stay socially distanced from parties around you.

High Desert Hooves*


Mammals with hooves, such as mule deer and pronghorn, are some of the most iconic species in the High Desert. Find out how scientists study their migration patterns and manage challenging issues facing these populations. Space is limited and a pass is required. Please inquire at Admissions when you arrive at the Museum.

*Seating is limited, and a pass is required. Please inquire at Admissions when you arrive at the Museum. The presentations are at least 15 minutes and take place in the Birds of Prey Center pavilion. One party per bench, please.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *