California Oil Museums


Kern County Museum
3801 Chester Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93301
(661) 852-5000

Kern County Museum
Black Gold: The Oil Experience
Bakersfield, California

The Kern County Museum presents Black Gold: The Oil Experience, a permanent science, technology and history interactive exhibit that opened in 2002. The 9,640-square foot museum hall and surrounding 2.3 acres present a complete overview of how oil is created, different methods of discovery and extraction throughout history, and the changing role of industry workers and their families.

This participatory exhibition features a variety of learning environments for audiences of all ages. Highlights include a simulated travel under the sea in a diving bell to learn how oil is formed, an exploration into oil discovery, recovery and its transformation into many products we use today, and the many dangers of asphaltum mining straight from the mouth of an old-timer. With Kern County providing 64% of Californias oil production, oil production has been a crucial component of the local economy since 1895.

The outdoor area features a full-size working jack plant, a wooden derrick with cable tools, pumping jacks, oil-field engines and vehicles, in addition to historic buildings of yesteryear that have been relocated from their original sites to the museum grounds.


Olinda Oil Museum & Trail
4025 Santa Fe Road
Brea, CA 9281
(714) 671-4447

Olinda Oil Museum and Trail
Brea, California

The Olinda Oil Museum and Trail features the original Olinda Oil Well #1, a once-used field office, a jackline pump, and a records vault, as well as trucks, engines and various oil-field equipment. In the future, the museum park will also have a loop trail open to the public.


Santa Paula Union Oil Museum
1001 E, Main Street
Santa Paula, CA 93061
(805) 933-0076

Santa Paula Union Oil Museum
Santa Paula, California

The workings and history of the oil and gas industry are explained through video programs, interactive models, computer displays, artifacts, photographs, and a variety of historical memorabilia in the W. M. Keck, Sr. Hall.

The Rig Building contains an authentic 1890s drilling rig that has been restored to working order. This cast-iron and wooden-timber drilling rig was salvaged from the local oilfields during the 1940s.

The museum building itself, which is where the Union Oil Company got its start, is considered one of the finest commercial building restorations in California of the late Victorian era. The Museums Second Story has been carefully restored to reflect the original appearance of Union Oil Company's 1890 corporate headquarters.


West Kern Oil Museum
Highway 33 & Wood St
Taft, CA 93268
(661) 765-6664

West Kern Oil Museum
Taft, California

The Museum, run entirely by volunteers, is dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting artifacts, books, and equipment that tell the story of oil in California, particularly in West Kern County. The Museum tries to tell of the businesses, communities and people affected by that industry and is dedicated to increasing the public understanding and appreciation of the oil industry itself.

The museum, which covers 8 acres, has displays of oil field history, the Tulumne Yokuts Indians, fossils from the McKittrick Tar Pits, a working model of a jack plant, oil field engines and trucks in the outdoor yard, and a reporduction wooden derrick of the Jameson #17 well standing over its original well, with all its cable tools intact.


More California Museums of Interest

Buena Vista Museum of Natural History (Bakersfield)
      Exhibits of Miocene Fossils from Shark Tooth Hill
Carpinteria Valley Museum of History (Carpinteria)
      Exhibits on the Carpinteria Tar Pits
Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries (Los Angeles)
      Exhibits on the fossils of the La Brea Tar Pits

R.C. Baker Memorial Museum (Coalinga)
      Displays on the History of Coalinga Field
      (and the Baker Tool company)

Vanishing Outdoor Oil Museum of the San Joaquin Valley
      Old stuff that is fast disappearing