360° VR Panoramas of the San Joaquin Valley
Taft
Kern County, California


Click on a thumbnail image to open an interactive 360° panorama in a new window.
West Kern Oil Museum

West Kern Oil Museum

An excellent local museum focused on the Westside Oil Fields. It is located in Taft, in the middle of the Midway-Sunset Oil Field, on land donated by the Jameson Company.

West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, California

Date photographed: October 31, 2013
See location in Google Maps

Wooden oil derrick at the West Kern Oil Museum in Taft

Wooden oil derrick at the West Kern Oil Museum in Taft

Wooden oil derrick Jameson No 17 dates from 1917. It still stands over its original well, on the gorunds of the museum.

West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, California

Date photographed: October 31, 2013
See location in Google Maps

Wooden derrick and pump

Wooden derrick and pump

In the 1920's more than 7000 wooden derricks like this covered the low hills of the Westside oil fields.

West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, California

Date photographed: October 31, 2013
See location in Google Maps

Oil pump at the oil museum

Oil pump at the oil museum

A wooden walking beam pumpjack, a simple design still in use in oilfields around the world.

West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, California

Date photographed: October 31, 2013
See location in Google Maps

Company office and modern pumpjack

Company office and modern pumpjack

The oil museum includes all facets of an oil town in the 1920's, including this company office. A modern steel walking beam pumpjack and well head stands next to it.

West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, California

Date photographed: October 31, 2013
See location in Google Maps

West Kern Oil Museum displays

West Kern Oil Museum displays

Displays here include the tar pits and the Lakeview Gusher. Nine million gallons of oil from that gusher instantly made the Union Oil Company the world's largest producer.

West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, California

Date photographed: October 31, 2013
See location in Google Maps

Smilodon from the McKittrick tar pits

Smilodon from the McKittrick tar pits

Natural petroleum lakes (tar pits) have trapped animals seeking water for thousands of years, producing a trove of well-preserved bones. Though less well-known than the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, the McKittrick Tar Pits have yielded specimens of 43 different mammals and 58 species of birds. This skeleton is a saber-toothed tiger (California state fossil), scientific name Smilodon.

West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, California

Date photographed: October 31, 2013
See location in Google Maps

Life in the Westside oil fields

Life in the Westside oil fields

Museum displays include the lifestyle and environment of oil field workers at all levels.

West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, California

Date photographed: October 31, 2013
See location in Google Maps

Models in the oil museum

Models in the oil museum

The oil museum contains models of an offshore drilling platform, a small refinery, and an oil field.

West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, California

Date photographed: October 31, 2013
See location in Google Maps

Previous locality: Westside San Joaquin Next locality: Maricopa