The 7,000 square foot Visitor Center was built around the renovated wood-frame administration building where Cesar worked from 1971 to 1993, and where people came to pay their respects before his open casket in front of a large image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, which still hangs at the same location.
The original building, which was structurally unsound and incapable of sustaining the uses required by the Visitor Center, was raised and rebuilt in the same footprint and architectural style, and dedicated in 2004. The new building looks essentially like the original. The interior, which had been a warren of small offices, was converted into a fully equipped audiovisual theater (site of the conference room Cesar used), large gallery spaces, a bookstore and gift shop, and rest rooms.
However, Cesar Chavez's office and library, housed in the northwest corner of the building, was preserved exactly as it looked the last day he left it in April 1993. The Smithsonian Institution helped carefully catalogue all the artifacts and books, filling floor to ceiling bookshelves on three walls. The walls were left intact and the bookshelves preserved while the structure was raised and the new building went up around them. Afterwards, the artifacts and books were replaced exactly as they had been.
The Visitor Center, the adjoining Memorial Garden hosting Cesar Chavez's gravesite and other features of the National Chavez Center are ideal for educational tours and service learning projects for students and educators. The Visitor Center is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. except on major holidays.
Planning Your Visit:
Visitor CenterAdmission: FREE
Contact: (661) 823-6134
Hours: 10am-4pm everyday
Except: Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
Book & Gift Shop Hours: 10am-4pm Every day
Except: Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.Payments Accepted: Cash, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express
Please call ahead to check availability. (661) 823-6134