The Desert Museum began to transition to an art museum in 1953 when desert landscape paints by Carl Eytel were contributed by Cornelia White, Isabel Chase, and also Earl Coffman. A new modern 10,000-square-foot structure was built for the Art Museum part in downtown Palm Springs in 1958, as well as in 1962 it expanded for an amphitheater and also brand-new galleries to house contemporary art exhibits. Frederick Sleight– anthropologist as well as Executive Director – is attributed with leading the change.
Distinguished neighborhood designer E. Stewart Williams created one more brand-new 75,000-square-foot structure just a couple of blocks away, in the Modernist architectural design, for the existing as well as 3rd area of the growing gallery. It continues as a ingenious and also architecturally significant Art Museum as well as Annenberg Theater in downtown Palm Springs, at 101 Museum Drive simply west of North Palm Canyon Drive at the base of Mt. San Jacinto. When the art museum was developed, the desert wild animals get museum element became an independent public institution as the Living Desert Museum, currently the Living Desert Zoo and also Gardens. The Williams-designed building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.