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26 October 2015

For Immediate Release

Western Science Center Debuts Stories from Bones Special Exhibition

Hemet – There were over 200,000 fossils found during Metropolitan Water District’s construction of Diamond Valley Lake, and they each have a story to tell. The Western Science Center will be opening a new special exhibition, Stories from Bones, on October 31st, 2015, that will explore the histories of many of these individual specimens.

An exhibit developed in-house by Western Science Center staff, Stories from Bones will showcase the unique stories of individual Pleistocene animals that lived and died in the Diamond Valley Lake area. The exhibit will also feature one million year old horse bones and other fossils from Southern California Edison’s El Casco Substation that are housed in the Western Science Center. Most of the bones featured in the exhibit have never before been on public display.

Stories from Bones is interactive in nature, and visitors to the exhibit will have the chance to take part in a number of hands-on activities, including determining the age of bison teeth and uncovering clues while digging up a replica horse skeleton. The results of CT scans and X-rays taken of Max the mastodon’s jaw at California Imaging and Diagnostics will also be on display.

According to the Western Science Center’s Executive Director Dr. Alton Dooley, Stories from Bones is part of the museum’s continued outreach to the public. “Like other research museums, the Western Science Center houses a much larger collection of specimens than is sometimes realized. One of our goals is to make much of the knowledge gained from these specimens available to the public. Some of the features described in Stories from Bones were only discovered by scientists in the last few weeks.”

Stories from Bones will run through May 2016. The exhibit is included in the price of regular admission, and members get in free all year! Visitors will also be able to enjoy the permanent exhibits at the museum, including Ice Age fossils and artifacts from the Diamond Valley Lake “Big Dig.” The Western Science Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Western Science Center, located on Searl Parkway in Hemet, is the first LEEDS Platinum museum in the United States boasting a collection of over one million items spanning over nearly 2 million years of Riverside County’s natural history. For more information call the Western Science Center at
951-791-0033 or visit our website

This exhibition is supported in part by Brubaker & Culton and Bank of Hemet.

Western Science Center
2345 Searl Parkway, Hemet CA 92543
(951) 791-0033

31 July 2015

For Immediate Release

The Inventions of Leonardo da Vinci Traveling Exhibit Glides into the Western Science Center

by Western Science Center Staff

Hemet – The Western Science Center will be opening a new temporary exhibit, The Inventions of Leonardo da Vinci, on August 8, 2015.

From the Mona Lisa to engineering, Leonardo da Vinci’s work has captivated mankind for centuries. Showcasing the depth and breadth of da Vinci’s genius through models based on 16 of his famous drawings, this exhibit will allow visitors to get a taste of the Renaissance right here in the Inland Empire.

Originally developed by the IBM Corporation and now owned by The Exhibition Alliance, this exhibition includes models of some da Vinci’s most iconic inventions, including a flying machine, a military tank, a parachute, and a spring driven car. According to museum Executive Director Dr. Alton Dooley, “Leonardo da Vinci was the original Renaissance man. His work shows how a melding of math, science and art can lead to amazing things. One of the most incredible things about this exhibit is that this huge diversity of inventions on display is the product of one person.”

The Inventions of Leonardo da Vinci will run through October 18, 2015. The exhibit is included in the price of regular admission, and members get in free all year! Visitors will also be able to enjoy the permanent exhibits at the museum, including Ice Age fossils and artifacts from the Diamond Valley Lake “Big Dig.” The Western Science Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Alton Dooley,

20April 2015
For immediate release

Western Science Center and The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Announce a Reciprocal Membership Agreement

The Western Science Center in Hemet and The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert recently announced a new reciprocal membership agreement. Under the two-year agreement, members will receive half-price admission upon presentation of a valid membership card from the partner institution. The agreement only applies to admission, and does not include other items such as gift shop sales.
According to Alton Dooley, Executive Director of the Western Science Center, “The Living Desert and the Western Science Center are two of the premiere natural history institutions in Riverside County. This agreement gives our members an excellent opportunity to learn about Southern California as it was in the past and as it is today.”
“We at The Living Desert, see our collaboration with the Western Science Center as a great compliment our ongoing efforts to inspire the public to better appreciate and understand the unique wonders of our environment, past, present and future”, said Kerry Graves, Director of Park Services & Guest Relations with The Living Desert.
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens ( was founded in 1970 to promote the preservation, conservation, and interpretation of desert ecosystems in California and throughout the world. The Western Science Center ( was founded in 2006 to preserve and interpret archaeological and paleontological specimens from Riverside County and throughout the world and to serve as a center for scientific research and education.
For further information:
Alton Dooley, Western Science Center,
Kerry Graves, The Living Desert,


Hemet—The Magic Tree House traveling exhibit visits Western Science Center through May 24, 2015!

The Magic Tree House® is spinning into Western Science Center to whisk visitors away on three time-traveling adventures.
Created by the St. Louis Children’s Museum, and based on the best-selling children’s book series written by Mary Pope Osborne and published by Random House, the Magic Tree House® traveling exhibit allows visitors to branch out through history via a magical, time-traveling tree house.
Rooted in character education, this literacy-based exhibit allows imaginations to grow as children explore history through three unique, immersive environments featuring period costumes, props and more than 30 hands-on learning activities.
Join Jack and Annie, as they are whisked away in time to experience three important periods in American history: Thanksgiving on Thursday, Civil War on Sunday, and Twister on Tuesday.
Visitors land on Plymouth Rock to help prepare Thanksgiving dinner, and then are transported to a Civil War era field hospital. The last leg of The Magic Tree House® journey is to a schoolhouse on the prairie in the 1800’s just in time to take cover from a twister! The Magic Tree House exhibit makes learning about history fun! Visitors will also be able to enjoy the permanent exhibits at Western Science Center, which include Ice Age fossils, and artifacts from the Diamond Valley “Big Dig.” The Magic Tree House® traveling exhibit is included in the regular museum admission price, and members get in free all year!

Western Science Center now on AmazonSmile

If you love to shop on Amazon, now each purchase you make can support educational programming when you make Western Science Center your designated charity. Please share this link with your friends, and family. Thank you in advance from the staff at Western Science Center.


Western Center Community Foundation




Western Science Center’s Old Fashioned Holiday a hit with Valley residents.

By Western Science Center Staff


Hemet-CA With Christmas just over two weeks away, over 450 people turned out for the Western Science Center’s eighth annual “Old Fashioned Holiday” event to enjoy an evening of free fun and celebration.

The antique fire engine from the Hemet Fire Department greeted attendees of the event at the piazza entrance, and it was a big hit with kids of all ages.

Both the Diamond Valley Lake Visitor Center and Western Science Center’s (WSC) exhibit galleries transformed into a winter wonderland.

Children explored both the Western Science Center Museum and the Visitor Center for prizes, and participated in science related hands on activities and crafts. Santa Claus flew in from the North Pole and took up residence for the evening in WSC’s theater to take Christmas orders.

Families gathered around the warmth of fire pits to watch the high stepping, award winning Claddagh Irish Dance Company performing Irish dances, in addition to several dances by the “In Motion Training Center” dance troupe.

The second annual ginger bread house building competition’s Grand Prize winner went to the Hemet High School Autism program for their entry titled “The Polar Express.”

Local artisans sold hand crafted artwork, jewelry, knitted items, ornaments, greeting cards, and gourmet food items.

Throughout the evening, volunteers from the Hemet Women’s Club, West Valley High School’s ROTC students, WVHS-Avid, Western Center Academy (WCA) Community Service Club, WCA-ASB, and Western Science Center volunteers staffed the scavenger hunt stations, craft tables, and assisted staff with set up and take down of the event.

Western Science Center thanks the Old Fashioned Holiday sponsors Valerie Drummer-State Farm Insurance, The Hemet Bike shop, and Anady’s Trophies for their support.

Special thanks to all of the volunteers who help make this event possible by the donation of their time.

The Western Science Center wishes everyone a very happy “Old Fashioned Holiday” season.



Now open! A new permanent exhibit that includes a replica skull of the giant dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex, as well as other original and replica fossils. The exhibit, called “Harley Garbani ­­– Dinosaur Hunter” features discoveries from a famous local fossil collector.

Harley Garbani was the son of a farming family in San Jacinto Valley. He discovered his first fossil bone at the age of eight while helping his father plow the fields. That fossil, part of an extinct camel, is on display in the exhibit and sparked in Garbani a life-long interest in paleontology and archaeology. He spent the rest of his life collecting fossils and artifacts from California and other western states, many of which are now housed at the Los Angeles County Museum and the Western Science Center.

Many of Garbani’s most famous discoveries were made in Montana, where he collected dinosaurs. The T. rex he discovered there in the 1960’s is one of the largest known specimens of Tyrannosaurus. In 1997 he discovered the skull from a baby Triceratops, a horned dinosaur known mostly from adult specimens. Replicas of both the T. rex and the Triceratops skulls are included in the Western Science Center exhibit.

In recognition of Garbani’s work, in 1990 the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology awarded him the first Morris F. Skinner Award for “outstanding and sustained contributions to scientific knowledge through the making of important collections of fossil vertebrates.”

“Harley Garbani ­­– Dinosaur Hunter” is a permanent exhibit at the Western Science Center and is included in the general admission price.

For Immediate Release:

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Western Science Center hosted a grand opening reception October 13, 2014, of the new permanent exhibit “Harley Garbani – Dinosaur Hunter.” Attending were family and friends of Mr. Garbani, along with the donors who made the exhibit possible. Members of Western Science Center were also in attendance as part of the benefits of museum membership.

A “self-taught” paleontologist with a knack for discovering rare fossils, Harley was contracted by the LA County Museum of Natural History to find dinosaurs, and he was quite successful at his job. The T-rex skull replica on display is from a discovery he made in Hell Creek, Montana.

The exhibit “Harley Garbani – Dinosaur Hunter” is the story of a man who followed his passion and became a dinosaur hunter.  This new permanent exhibit is now open to the public.


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Western Science Center

August 1, 2014

The Board of Directors of the Western Science Center has named Dr. Alton Dooley as the museum’s new executive director. Dr. Dooley comes to Hemet from the Virginia Museum of Natural History, where he was the Curator of Paleontology. Dr. Dooley will be taking over from Dr. Bill Marshall, who is retiring.

Dr. Dooley is a graduate of Carleton College and Louisiana State University. In addition to his 15 years of experience at the Virginia Museum, he has also worked as a high school science teacher and as a college geology instructor.

“As both a scientist and an educator, one of the things that attracted me to the Western Science Center is the strong integration of education and research,” Dooley said.

The Western Science Center has a large collection of fossils and artifacts from the region. Dooley’s background in managing a large research collection was an important factor in the board’s decision. According to Dooley, “The WSC holds large and important collections that tell us about the history of this region. One of the things we’re going to work on is making information about our collections more accessible, both to researchers and to the general public.”


jersey mikes1

Thursday, July 24, 2014- Western Science Center received a check for $4,000.00 from Jersey Mike’s Hemet store.

Jersey Mike’s Hemet franchisee owners are part a company culture that is committed to making a difference in local communities.

A little bit about the company: (from corporate website)
“Committed to Making a Difference…
Ever since he operated a single store in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, Jersey Mike’s founder, Peter Cancro has believed in giving back to the community. His passion for helping others has resonated throughout the Jersey Mike’s system, resulting in an incredible outpouring of local giving and community support from Jersey Mike’s stores across the country. Our “Giving” cup series celebrates these great stories of caring that have become a part of the Jersey Mike’s culture.”

Western Science Center sincerely appreciates the hard work of Hemet store owners along with their the staff in making the grand opening fundraiser a great success. WSC will use the donation to support ongoing programming at the Center.

Our Location
2345 Searl Parkway, Hemet CA, 92543
Phone: 951-791-0033

10 am – 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday

Western Science Center

To inspire our community to discover the past, explore the present, and promote a sustainable future.