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Agua Caliente Cultural Museum to Display Famous Ramona Basket

During Native American Week Celebration

For two days only, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum will exhibit one of the more famous baskets in Southern California basket-making history. Never before displayed at the Museum, the Ramona Basket can be viewed on Friday, September 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, September 27 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Museum will celebrate Native American Week, September 21-27, 2008, with a series of special events including this rare exhibition of one of the “crown jewels” of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians collection – the famed Ramona Basket.

The love story of Ramona Lubo (Cahuilla) and her husband, Juan Diego, has been told in film and on stage. Presented each year at the Ramona Pageant in Hemet, the story tells of the marriage of Ramona and Juan, and the death of Juan when he was tragically murdered in 1877. In her bereavement, Ramona created a basket with a large five-point star in the center, surrounded by small star forms and crosses symbolizing her desire to join her husband in death. The basket has a long provenance and is now a focal point of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians basket collection.

Native American Week events begin on Wednesday, September 24 with a proclamation by the City of Palm Springs at City Hall, 3200 Tahquitz Canyon Way. The celebration continues on Thursday, September 25 with the Museum’s participation in VillageFest where colorful Native performers will be featured in the heart of downtown Palm Springs at the intersection of Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

On Friday, September 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., the national Native American Day will be celebrated with a “Meet the Museum” Open House. In addition to the opportunity to view the exquisite Ramona Basket, members of the Museum staff will be on hand to answer questions about the 2008-2009 programs and exhibitions. Complimentary light refreshments will be available. Admission is free.

The Museum will be open all day, Saturday, September 27, in celebration of Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day 2008. As a member of the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program, the Museum has access to the rich resources of Smithsonian educational programs, technical expertise, and world-acclaimed exhibitions. Demonstrations of native skills and crafts will take place on the historic Village Green in front of the Museum. Complimentary light refreshments will be served. Also, pick up information on the Museum’s next exhibition, Sticks and Stones and Other Things, opening Wednesday, October 22.

Michael Hammond, Executive Director of Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, said of the week’s festivities: “Native American Week celebrations in Palm Springs are always special because of the rich intertwined heritage of the City and the Tribe. This year, we will commemorate the occasion with a rare exhibition of one of the most famous items in the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians basket collection ─ the Ramona Basket. This, combined with the traditional dance performances during VillageFest, will demonstrate to visitors and residents alike the rich cultural heritage of Palm Springs and its Native people.”

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institution, inspires people to learn about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and other Native cultures. It keeps the Native spirit alive through exhibitions, collections, research, and educational programs.