Oakhurst – Since its inception in 1961 as a repository of the history of the Mono people, the Sierra Mono Museum has undergone many changes. The most visible of those changes is a renovation of the historical building set on a rise above the roundabout that converges at Road 274, Road 225 and Road 228 in North Fork.
The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians received more than $600,000 as a part of a community block grant, and they added funds to that as a result of their annual Indian Fair Days event. Renovations began in 2018 and were scheduled for completion within a year; however COVID hit, and reopening was delayed until this year. The remodel features an addition to the front of the original structure; however visitors can still see some of the original rock work which remains. Exhibits, hundreds of years old, have not changed and represent a cultural history of the Monos, who have inhabited this area for thousands of years. The exhibits change on a rotating basis.
The museum held an invitation-only grand opening in May 2021, and is now open to visitors Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to 2 pm. Suggested donation is $10 for adults, $7 for youth 5 to 17 and free for children 4 and under.
The museum’s annual major fundraiser, Indian Fair Days, a two-day pow wow, was cancelled in 2020, which would have marked the event’s 50th anniversary. With the lingering effects of COVID in 2021, the pow wow has been replaced for a Cultural Day at the North Fork Recreation Center, 33507 Road 230, North Fork. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm, and admission is $5 per car or $2 per person. The event features Local native food and craft vendors, cultural demonstrations and exhibition dancing and is drug and alcohol free.
Cultural Day, as well as the Sierra Mono Museum itself comprise parts of the mission of the Mono Nation to share their unique culture and traditions throughout the area as well as with visitors to the area.
The Sierra Mono Museum is located at 33103 Road 228, North Fork, CA 93643. For further information about the museum and its events, visit its website at https://www.monomuseum.org/ or call them for information at 559/877-2115.
All photographs courtesy of Steve Montalto/Visit Yosemite Madera County