In the vast desert between Palm Desert and the California/Arizona border is a little nugget of U.S. History. The General Patton Memorial Museum is conveniently located at a routine pit stop along Interstate 10 freeway, making it an easy quick visit for your adventures on the way out of California, or if you are visiting other desert destinations, such as the Salton Sea or Joshua Tree National Park.
The site of the museum sits within the former site of historic Camp Young. In early April of 1942, troops arrived to the area to train for combat in Africa during World War II. 18,000 square miles held 11 camps, making it the largest military installation maneuver area in the world. Most artifacts around the area have been removed, however there may be some remnants still visible if you choose to set out to find them. Otherwise, you can enjoy a little bit of military history within the museum and facts about the surrounding areas. It also stands as a memorial, and you can purchase military decals as well.
Inside you will find a large scale model of the Salton Sea and surrounding desert. Beyond that, a large room is filled with military memorabilia, including photos, newspaper headlines, vehicles, uniforms, medals, and more. There is also a viewing center to watch videos. More photos are posted below of what you can expect to see.
Outside, in the yard is a collection of vehicles. You will find lots of tankers and trucks. Please be advised that there is a sign posted before entering the yard to be aware of snakes! After all, this is the middle of the desert. Be mindful, however, I did not see one when I was there. This is a great array of vehicles, both old and new.
The General Patton Memorial Museum is a great way to brush up on US military history. In fact, the mission statement declares that it is “to promote peace by honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans while educating the public on modern U.S. military history through the preservation and interpretation of artifacts from the major conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries”. I can honestly say that it does exactly that. It has a great blend of sharing the story of the military’s history on the site from many years ago during the Camp Young days, to the modern displays, such as the memorial wall.
Visiting the Museum
The George Patton Memorial Museum is located of Interstate 10, approximately 52 miles east of Palm Springs. The address is 62510 Chiriaco Road, Chiriaco Summit, CA 92201. If you put the address in Google maps, it will say Indio instead of Chiriaco Summit. It is off of the Summit Road exit. A large Chevron gas station is also at this exit, making it a great place to stop on any road trip. The museum hours are 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, 7 days a week, closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Phone is (760) 227-3483. Admission is $6 for adults, $5.50 for seniors, and $1.50 for children. Of course, active military is free. For more information, you can visit their website http://generalpattonmuseum.com/.