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History of the Museum

The West Kern Oil Museum, located near Highway 33 and Wood Street in Taft, is a treasure trove of information about the history of Taft and documentation of the petroleum industry.  Maintained and operated entirely by volunteers, the West Kern Oil Museum includes indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, vintage office, shops, and equipment, a fire house, a tent house, a shotgun house, a transportation building, a tool house, a library, and a gift shop. The West Kern Oil Museum was founded in 1973 by five women in Taft.  Karen K, Sally Knost, Cruzan, Fran Sullivan, and Janice Lemley. Under the fine leadership of Jane Kinsey, Ron Bracken and many industry leaders the Museum started to take shape.

Jameson Trust was a generous donor that provided the property where the museum is located to this day.  Jameson #17 is the site where our Wooden Derrick stands to this day.  This well was still active until 2005 when it was abandoned.  At that time the wooden derrick had to be refurbished and largely torn down and rebuilt. Berry Holding, Chevron, Texaco, Fred Holmes and many other oil companies and generous community members became very active in donating buildings, equipment and expertise to help the museum blossom into what it is today. A treasure in Taft that provides fun and information for all that visit.

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