Quechan museum has neat stuff


Staff Writer

One of the best things about visiting small, less-than-glossy rural museums is you often come across really neat stuff without having to wade through crowds of fellow sight-seers.

The Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe Museum is a perfect example.

Housed in what was the kitchen of the fort's commanding officer's house in the 1850s, the museum is a simple and straight-forward time capsule of the area's history.

There are no fancy gimmicks here, no flashing lights or cutting-edge video presentations. But you know you're getting value for your $1 entrance fee when you come across a framed document casually hung in a back room of the museum.


Have a closer look at this document and you'll see it was signed by the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. By anybody's standards, that's pretty impressive stuff for a small country museum.

Museum director Pauline Jose has been at the helm of the museum for 22 years now and together with assistant Willa Scott keeps the museum open seven days a week from 8 a.m. — 5 p.m.

"We have over 2,000 visitors a year and especially during the summer we get visitors from all over the world — Britain, Italy, Spain, even Russia and Finland," Jose says. "We like listening to these visitors with all their different accents and we like learning about their cultures."

So while the tourists are busy inspecting the museum, these gentle and courteous museum folk are having a field day inspecting the tourists.

Jose says visitors often comment on how well the museum is laid out with its easy-to-understand explanatory signs attached to each item on display.

The museum is a collection of small rooms housing a comprehensive mix of colonial Spanish, U.S. military and Quechan exhibits and would make a ideal side-trip when visiting the Yuma Territorial Prison.

To get there, take the Winterhaven exit off Interstate 8 and follow the signs to the Quechan Indian Reservation.

You can phone the museum at 572-0661.

>> Staff Writer Jennifer Ralton-Smith can be reached at 337-3442 or

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