By Alison Elsner

The California Date History Museum, housed on the grounds of the Coachella Valley History Museum (CVHM) in Indio, California, has been recognized as one of the 2015 winners of the annual Khalifa International Date Palm Award (KIDPA). The Date Museum won the second place prize in the “Best Developmental / Educational Project” out of five total categories.

The prestigious award, now in its seventh session, was founded by Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, to support and encourage new scientific, agricultural and educational innovations related to all aspects of the date palm tree.

The public award ceremony to honor the winners will be held on March 15, 2015, at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Diana Kitagawa, CVHM Board Trustee, will travel to Dubai to accept the award.


The Date Museum / Coachella Valley History Museum will receive a prize in the amount of $50,000, which will be used to expand and enhance Museum grounds and programs. This is the first year that The Date Museum / Coachella Valley History Museum has applied for and received recognition.

For additional information, please contact Karen Hawkesworth, President of the CVHM, Board of Trustees at 916-521-8444 or


The Khalifa International Date Palm Award is coordinated through the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and is part of regional and international efforts to sustainably produce date palms. Preservation and updated knowledge of date palms are part of a system that combines production and sustainability, safeguards biodiversity, and helps to improve the livelihoods of those who till the land.

There are five categories of the Award: ‘Best Research, Best Producers, Best New Techniques, Best Developmental Project and Distinguished Figure’ for farmers, producers, researchers and academics, specialists and those who appreciate palm date trees around the world.

More than 130 researchers from 23 countries were considered for this year’s prize. Most candidates were Arab, with others from Europe, the United States and Australia. This year had the highest number of UAE and Arab participants, demonstrating the growth of the palm tree sector.

Dr Helal Alkaabi serves as head of the administrative and financial committee for the award and Dr Abdelouahhab Zaid is the secretary general. Organizers said that this year’s competition attracted the most important researchers, experts and farmers at the Arab and international levels.

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Housed on the grounds of the Coachella Valley History Museum, The California Date History Museum features educational displays about the growth and history of the date palm tree. There is also a working date grove with the variety of dates produced in the Coachella Valley.

The date palm is one of civilization’s oldest cultivated crop. The people of Egypt, Babylonia and Arabia have cultivated the plant for over 5,000 years. From the introduction of the date palm to the Coachella Valley in 1900, this exhibit explores the history of this industry from its Middle Eastern origins, to the horticulturists who brought the date successfully to California and the essential workers who harvested this fruit of the desert.

The Coachella Valley History Museum is a historical campus which features a collection of exhibits and buildings including the original 1926 Smiley-Tyler Adobe home, the blacksmith shop, the authentic 1909 Indio schoolhouse, the Date Museum, and the many gardens. The Date Museum / CVHM are located at 82616 Miles Avenue, Indio, CA 92201. For more information, please visit , call 760-342-6651, or email .