The Borax Museum is located at the Furnace Creek Ranch Resort in Death Valley National Park. California State Road 190 runs right by this historic resort and several other Death Valley points of interest are nearby along this travel route. The old Furnace Creek Ranch offers accommodations, shopping, dining and the world’s lowest elevation golf course. There is a campground across the street and the historic Furnace Creek Inn is about one mile uphill. The Pacific Borax Company originally established Furnace Creek as a borax mining camp long before this spot became a resort area, so it is fitting for the Borax Museum to be located here.
The Borax Museum has many outdoor exhibits to see and many priceless relics of the old wild west can be viewed inside the doors. The history of the local Death Valley borax industry and the 20 Mule Team Wagon Trains can be experienced just by wandering around on these grounds. If learning a little something about the relics of the old Death Valley borax mining history sounds like fun, then this is definitely the place to go!
During the cool winter season a museum curator representative is usually on the premises, but during the extreme heat of summer a visitor will be lucky to see anybody standing outdoors around mid afternoon. The reason why is because the summer ground temperatures easily exceed 165ºF in this extremely low elevation, so the rubber soles of the shoes will likely melt before the tour is over. During the extremely hot months in Death Valley, which happen to be any of the seasons other than winter, it is best to visit the Borax Museum early or late in the day.
Cultural and historical Death Valley mining exhibits can be found in the Borax Museum. The history of borax mining and what life was like at Furnace Creek in the late 1800s is interesting to see. The grounds surrounding the museum building are where most of the borax mining exhibits are on display. Everything from antique stage coaches to an old sun scorched steam locomotive can be found here and even the legendary Old Dinah Steam Tractor is on site. Much of the old industrial borax equipment looks like rustic machinery that came from the dinosaur age, but this heavy duty equipment was overbuilt for a good reason. Furnace Creek has the toughest environmental conditions on earth and the equipment had to be built sturdy enough to last.
Staying hydrated is the key to staying alive in Death Valley even in modern times and Furnace Creek is where one of one of the few natural springs can be found in this region. This is part of the reason why the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe is located next door to the ranch. When in Death Valley, it is best to always carry a water bottle and drink up as often as possible. The dry air below sea level can leave a person parched in no time flat, so staying hydrated will ensure a pleasant visit.
The Furnace Creek Ranch is a good place to escape from the extreme heat of the afternoon hours. From here a tourist can experience the Devil’s Golf Course, Artist Drive and Badwater Basin, which are just a little way down the road. With destination names like these, it becomes clearly evident that Furnace Creek is indeed the hottest place on earth. Furnace Creek is an experience like no other and browsing the Borax Museum is a great place to start!
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