China Lake Museum plans to expand, despite pandemic restraints

China Lake Museum plans to expand, despite pandemic restraintsBy LAURA QUEZADA

Staff Writer The News Review

“When the pandemic first started last year in March it hit us very hard. We were closed for 85 days,” says Jenn Cobbel, Museum Store Manager, at the China Lake Museum. Nevertheless, the China Lake Museum Foundation (CLMF) has exciting plans for expansion, according to Bob Campbell, CLMF President. “The CLMF has a design for a 7,200 sqft building that is being finalized to enter into the permitting process with the County, by the end of this month.

Once the new facility is built, we will be able to leverage the extensive exhibit inventory now residing on the Base by relocating into the Museum site. Once the exhibits are relocated and expanded, we will be able to share the China Lake legacy and accomplishments over the last 75+ years with the public, in a more comprehensive manner. We will also have the space to expand our education outreach programs with the community and provide a social venue for events at the China Lake Museum site.”

In the meantime, Cobbel emphasizes that the Gift Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am until 4pm and the website is always open, She adds that “online you can find really cool t-shirts, sidewinder t-shirts, base t-shirts, emblems from the base, hats, patches, stickers, coins, coin holders and embroidered flags. We have safety protocols in place. It is a safe visit.”

The Gift Shop has diversified its in-person offerings with sales of quality donated items that had been destined for the 2020 annual dinner auction social and fundraising event that COVID protocols prevented from occurring last year. Larry Zabel prints, framed or unframed, depicting early China Lake history are also available and are very popular retirement gifts.

This year’s annual dinner auction social and fund-raising event has been scheduled for November 13 and will celebrate the anniversary month of the Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS), China Lake, which was established November 8, 1943. “You are encouraged to mark your calendars to attend, celebrate and socialize at this fun event”, added Campbell. “We all hope that the COVID pandemic protocols will be history, and we are able to return to normal ‘pre COVID’ business practices.”

Pictured: Jenn Cobbel’s favorite gift shop item is “a really big coffee mug that is almost the size of a soup bowl.” — Photo By Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2021-03-19