Palm Springs Desert Museum : Michelin's recommendations
Housed in a polished contemporary structure, this museum offers an excellent overview of the natural history, cultural history and art of the California deserts. It was established in 1938 as an anthropological and natural history museum of the Coachella Valley. As Palm Springs attracted more residents and retirees, among them art collectors from the East Coast and Midwest, the museum began to acquire works of contemporary American art. The permanent fine-art collection now encompasses more than 5,000 objects, with a focus on 20C California art, and the anthropological and natural-history collections have grown as well. The Natural Science wing offers an introduction to the interrelationship of desert geology, flora and fauna with dioramas and video presentations. The central wing features temporary thematic exhibits drawn from the museum's permanent collection-which includes an extensive array of Native American basketry, fine Asian artifacts collected by actor William Holden, and furniture and bronze sculptures created by Western film actor George Montgomery. Works from the museum's art collections are rotated throughout the main, mezzanine and upper levels; long-term visiting shows offer a balance of classic and modern art.