Lava tube cave revealed at Mt. Shasta Sisson museum

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
On Friday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m., Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum will be having the grand opening of its newest installation, the lava tube cave, by artist Derrel Fleener. This photo shows the current development of this installation, which has been under construction for a year. To complete the installation, the museum will be closed on Oct. 20 until 6 p.m. The $5 per person entry fee includes one free drink, a raffle ticket to win the privilege of being the first one to crawl through the cave, and 10 percent off at the museum store.

Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum will be having the grand opening of its newest installation, the lava tube cave, on Friday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. Mural artist Derrel Fleener has been constructing this very large display piece since fall 2016.

Fleener has painted all of the current murals in Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum and has been involved with museums for over 40 years. He has just completed another mural for the 25th museum in which he has worked. When asked about why he does this work he stated, “I am inspired with the creative part, figuring out the most interesting and exciting way to deliver the message of the display.”

In constructing the lava tube for Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum Fleener explained, “One of the biggest challenges in constructing it was how I was going to fit it in and making materials to show the many compound curves in a lava tube. When people see and interact with this display, I hope that they learn more about how the earth has been shaped and enjoy learning about it.”

Fleener said he enjoys doing museum installations, “Having been a museum curator myself, I have a soft spot in my heart for museums. Preserving our past history and passing on this interesting knowledge is a good way to understand how we have become who and what we are.”

According to John Fryer, chairman of the geology exhibit crew, “We’re excited about our reopening as it represents the continuing growth of our volcano exhibit with the addition of an interactive lava tube and wall displays.”

Executive Director Jean Nels added, “The creation of this lava tube cave for the museum has been a very ambitious project. One of our goals has been to install an exhibit that will engage our visitors and help answer the many questions all of us have about the mountain and other geologic features. We know this lava tube cave will be an outstanding part of the exhibit.”

The museum will be closed during the day on Oct. 20, in order to install the display for the grand opening event.

This event is part of a series explaining the geology of this area. The suggested $5 donation is a fundraiser for Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum.

Mt. Shasta Sisson Museum is a tax-exempt non-profit organization with an all-volunteer staff that installs new exhibits to share the stories of the Mount Shasta area for its community members and visitors. It is located at 1 North Old Stage Road in Mount Shasta.

The museum is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information about upcoming presentations and events at the museum can be found by visiting, emailing, or calling 530-926-5508.