About the Collections


Museum collections focus on the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other Cahuilla bands, and include artifacts from other Native Americans and indigenous peoples worldwide. The collections are available by appointment to researchers and students.

A southern California basket collection of over 400 items features the works of Cahuilla basketweavers and those of neighboring tribes. It is an excellent resource for comparative studies of styles, techniques, and materials.

Cahuilla ceramics include ollas, cooking pots, pendants, and pipes. Shell beads, bone tools, and numerous stone utensils such as manos, metates, mortars, and pestles used for food preparation are represented in the collections. Historic period artifacts from early habitation sites include items such as cans, bottles, china, and buttons.

The Tahquitz Canyon Archaeological Collection contains over 50,000 artifacts from the oldest and largest village site and is one of the most extensive excavation projects in California. The collection includes all field notes and photographs of the projects, as well as ethnographic and ethno historic reports. The Ruth Dunham Shepard Collection has extensive artifact material from the Coachella Valley with accompanying field notes. Additional archaeological materials from various locations are included.

Cahuilla history and culture of today are not ignored. Contemporary arts and artifacts are added to the collections continually.

Cahuilla baskets are highly regarded around the world for their fine weaving and beauty of design. Many people have prized baskets made by family members, acquired as gifts from friends, or purchased for private collections.

The monetary value of a Cahuilla basket is based on its age, condition, quality of manufacture, beauty of design, and the information available about its maker. They are worth giving special care and consideration in order to protect and conserve their historic, aesthetic, and monetary value.