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Los Angeles Museums

From Prehistoric Creatures to Contemporary Art

An exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
An exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History

Art, Culture and History Museums in Los Angeles

Go on a journey filled with culture, history and art by exploring the best museums of Los Angeles, from the world-famous Getty Museum with its 22 painting galleries to smaller jewels like the Norton Simon Museum, featuring fine impressionist examples, and Rodin and Henry Moore sculptures in the garden. For a city often accused of lacking culture, Los Angeles offers a vast number of varied museums, exhibits and cultural centers devoted to all kinds of topics and genres, from classical to neon art and everything in-between. Many of the museums provide restaurants and gift shops if you're hungry or want to buy a souvenir to show off your good time with Van Gogh and Monet.

The Annenberg Space for Photography
2000 Avenue of the Stars, #10
Los Angeles, CA 90067

The 10,000-square-foot The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles includes a circular digital projection gallery in the center of the building, which is reminiscent of a convex lensOpened in March 2009, The Annenberg Space for Photography is solely dedicated to the art of photography. Located in Century City in Los Angeles, California, the 10,000-square-foot building was designed to resemble the workings of a camera and its lens, including a circular state-of the-art digital projection gallery in the center of the building, which is reminiscent of a convex lens. The venue also includes a print exhibit area, which will be used to showcase work from photographers at all levels of expertise from around the world. Workshops, lectures, discussions and a reading room are also available. General admission to the gallery is free.

Hours: Open Wed.-Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Autry Museum of Western Heritage
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles 90027

Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles Skillfully blending scholarship and showmanship, the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage is dedicated to preserving the real and imaginary history of the Wild West. The permanent collection covers everything from hand-tooled saddles to gear from cowboy movies and TV programs, including a charming Hopalong Cassidy children's room. A sculpture court is surrounded by Guy Deel's "Spirits of the West" master mural, and a theater features classic Western films and live performances. Guided tours are available by reservation. Don't miss the gift shop stocked with everything from Stetson hats to Native American jewelry and pottery.

Hours: Open Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Admission: Adults $10; seniors & students $6; ages 3-12 $4; under 3 free; free admission the second Tuesday of every month.

The California African American Museum
Exposition Park
600 State Dr.
Los Angeles 90037

California African American Museum at Exposition Park in Los AngelesThis twenty-year-old museum examines the art, history and culture of African-Americans. Various parts of the extensive permanent collection are always on view, including African art (masks, carvings), nineteenth-century African-American landscapists, an important group of assemblage work and sculpture from the 1960s and work by contemporary artists. There are changing exhibits as well.

Hours: Open Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission: Free; guided group tours available; parking $8.

California Heritage Museum
2612 Main St.
Santa Monica 90405

California Heritage Museum in Santa MonicaThis small museum in a historic house has a collection of items relating to California's cultural history, including toys and California pottery. A tiny gift store offers books, old-fashioned postcards and decorative items.

Hours: Open Wed.-Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Admission: Adults $8; students & seniors $5; members & children under 12 free; parking free.

The Fowler Museum of Cultural History
UCLA, Fowler Bldg.
405 Hilgard Ave.
Los Angeles 90095

The Fowler Museum of Cultural History at the University of California Los AngelesA small but enticing museum built of red brick in the Romanesque-style on the UCLA campus, the Fowler displays an intriguing permanent collection of cultural objects from around the world. Excellent changing exhibits, such as the popular Art of Haitian Voudou and the ominous Scene of the Crime installation, make this establishment cutting edge. Steps away from the Fowler Museum, the Franklin Murphy Sculpture Garden is where brown squirrels, faculty, students and visitors share the green quads with works by Rodin, Calder, Hepworth, Maillol and many others. Deborah Butterfield's horse sculpture and the series of bronze reliefs by Matisse on the façade of Dickson Art Center are stunning. The Fowler Building is on the north campus between Royce Hall and the Dance Building.

Hours: Open Wed.-Sun. noon-5 p.m.; Thurs. noon-8 p.m.

Admission: Free; campus parking is a maximum of $10.

The Getty Museum at the Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr.
Los Angeles 90049

The Getty Museum at the Getty Center in Los Angeles was designed by architect Richard MeierWelcome to the Acropolis of Los Angeles. This monument of gleaming rough-cut travertine, glass, waterfalls and reflecting pools is the controversial crowning achievement of modernist Richard Meier and cost approximately one billion dollars to build. A tram transports visitors up the steep slope from the parking lot, and from the moment you step into the stunning white plaza you are in another world. California artist Robert Irwin designed the Central Garden, which cascades down to a dramatic pool in which an island of azaleas appears to float on the water. The six buildings that make up the center are connected by courtyards, walkways and terraces with spectacular views, and the hilltop site itself covers 110 acres.

The Getty Center is composed of a museum and five institutes devoted to research, education and conservation. The Museum at the Getty Center displays the fabulously wealthy J. Paul Getty trust's impressive collection of decorative arts in 14 galleries designed in period styles to complement the furniture. The Getty has a nice collection of illuminated manuscripts, and while the painting and sculpture collections are spotty, there are certainly some splashy showpieces. State-of-the-art computer-controlled skylights bring natural light into the 22 paintings galleries. The museum also has one of the best collections of photographs in the world, though not much is on view. Interactive learning stations outside each of the museum's pavilions provide visitors with more information about exhibits. Since it opened, the Getty Center has been L.A.'s biggest draw, and it's necessary to plan in advance for reservations if you intend to drive there and park. You can, however, arrive by bus or taxi without reservations. Try to plan your trip to catch the sunset, but if you can't, at least plan to enjoy the views from the terraces at either the cafe or the restaurant.

Hours: Open Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Admission: Free; parking $15, free on Sat. after 5 p.m.

Hammer Museum
UCLA, 10899 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90024

Hammer Museum in Los Angeles

L.A. received its second oil mogul's art monument in 1990, with the opening of the Armand Hammer Museum. (The first was J. Paul Getty's spectacular museum.) Located in Westwood Village near UCLA, the Hammer's collection of masterworks by such artists as Rubens, Rembrandt, Goya, Monet and Van Gogh forms the basis of some exhibits, but the museum has also hosted some impressive traveling shows of contemporary art. The museum's shop and bookstore are well-stocked and well worth a browse, while the Hammer Cafe by Wolfgang Puck serves up sandwiches and salads made with locally supplied ingredients.

Hours: Open Tues., Wed., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Admission: Adults $10; seniors and alumni $5; UCLA students and faculty free; 17 & under free; general admission free Thursday; $3 parking for first 3 hours

Heritage Square Museum
3800 Homer St.
Los Angeles 90031

Heritage Square Museum in Los AngelesThis open-air museum located in a historic preservation area presents exhibitions and programs covering the history of Los Angeles from 1865 to 1914. Historic buildings were moved here from all over Los Angeles and restored.

Hours: Open Fri., Sat., Sun. and most holidays noon-5 p.m. Hours may vary November to March (11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

Admission: Adults $10; seniors $8; children 6-12 $5; museum members and children under 6 free. Guided tours available.

The Huntington Library Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Rd.
San Marino 91108

The Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CaliforniaHenry Huntington certainly had delusions of grandeur: He built his own petit Versailles in San Marino. His estate and grounds are now an important scholarly center whose collections are both exhibited for public enjoyment and maintained for research purposes. The Huntington’s collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century oil paintings (including Gainsborough's "Blue Boy"), furniture and decorative pieces (including a wealth of Greene & Greene designs), rare books and manuscripts (including such treasures as letters from George Washington and Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales") are shown in thoughtfully curated exhibitions. The botanical specimens, situated in 150 awe-inspiring acres, draw plantsmen and women from around the world. The cactus and succulent garden is like a sci-fi forest and should not be missed.

Hours: Mon.-Fri. noon-4:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; closed Tuesdays.

Admission: Adults $15; seniors $12; students $10; ages 5-11 $6; children under 5 free; groups of 15 or more $11 per person; museum members free; first Thursday of every month free.

Japanese American National Museum
100 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles 90012

Japanese American National Museum in Los AngelesDedicated to presenting and interpreting the culture and history of Japanese Americans, this museum opened in 1992 in a landmark Buddhist temple. On a site just across the street, a stunningly beautiful 85,000 square-foot new building designed by Gyo Obata (who designed the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum) opened in 1999. The museum's permanent collection ranges from art to kimonos and reminders of the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Historical exhibits are artfully designed and include many homey, donated artifacts; art exhibits often honor American artists of Japanese descent. A database allows visitors to track Japanese American family histories.

Hours: Open Tues.-Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs. noon-8 p.m.

Admission: Adults $9; seniors $5; students and children 6-17 $5; under 5 & museum members free; free every Thursday from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

2640 S. La Cienaga Blvd.
Los Angeles 90034

LAX Art is an independent nonprofit art space that features experimental exhibitions and public art initiatives. The gallery gives the public access to a generation of artists and curators that are not afraid to support both risk and dialogue, producing new work for new audiences. Responding to the L.A. cultural climate, LAX Art animates the relationships between art, artists and audiences.

Hours: Open Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Long Beach Museum of Art/Sculpture Garden
2300 E. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach 90803

Long Beach Museum of Art/Sculpture Garden in CaliforniaOne of the most dynamic and youthful museums in Southern California opened in 2000 with a new building and 12,000 square feet of gallery space. The new building's exterior complements the original 1912 California bungalow, which now houses the museum shop, café and administration, but the interior is strictly minimalist, in keeping with the contemporary and avant-garde art (with a strong bent toward video) exhibited. Shows change often, and the museum closes during installations, so be sure to call first. The view of the Pacific is stunning, the grounds are tranquil.

Hours: Thursd. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri.-Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission: Adults $7; seniors & students $6; museum members & under 12 free; free every Thursday from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Parking free.

Los Angeles Children's Museum
310 N. Main St.
Los Angeles 90012

Los Angeles Children's MuseumIn August 2000, the museum shut its doors to the public in order to build their new facility at Hansen Dam Recreational Park on 1,400 acres of land located in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. Although construction of the 57,000-square-foot facility is now complete, the building remains closed to the public. New exhibits will focus on community such as a bustling street fair and an Olympic Park, each emphasizing Los Angeles and its place in the world, which includes linking Angeleno children with other children from all over the world.
The museum will also provide improved recreational and playground areas with trails, swimming areas and horseback back riding facilities.

Hours: Temporarily closed.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90036

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)The visually arresting Anderson Building, with its stepped façade and abundance of glass brick, faces Wilshire Boulevard and is a familiar sight to most L.A. residents. Add to that the trio of original LACMA buildings, circa 1964, and the latest addition, an architectural exuberance known as the Pavilion for Japanese Art, and you have LACMA. Most of the museum's permanent collection is housed in the Ahmanson Building. The pre-Columbian art is especially noteworthy, as are the Gilbert collection of mosaics and monumental silver, and an important Indian and Southeast Asian art collection. LACMA also houses American and European paintings, sculpture and decorative arts and one of the nation's largest holdings of costumes and textiles. The Pavilion for Japanese Art is a superb setting for the internationally-renowned Shin'enkan collection of Japanese paintings. LACMA has also taken over the former May's Department Store in the next block, now known as LACMA West, which houses special exhibitions and an extension of the Southwestern Museum. As for the rest of the museum, there is an outstanding exhibition roster, wonderful film retrospectives at the Bing Theater, a gift shop and bookstore, and a quite decent indoor/outdoor cafeteria as well as Pentimento, one of famed chef Joachim Splichal's spawn cafes. Don't miss the free jazz programs on Friday nights.

Hours: Open Mon., Tues. & Thurs. noon-8 p.m.; Fri. noon-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; closed Wednesdays.

Admission: Adults $15; seniors & students $10; under 17 free; general admission free after 5 p.m. and second Tues. each month. Special exhibition prices vary. Parking $7.

Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles 90007
213-763-3466 (DINO)

Los Angeles County Museum of Natural HistoryThis is a comfortable, old-fashioned institution, complete with a charming, coffered-ceilinged marble rotunda. Children are naturally drawn to the hands-on exhibits of the Discovery Center, but there's something for everyone here: a dinosaur gallery, a bird hall with walk-through habitats including Condor Mountain and a tropical rain forest, a most impressive display of gems in their natural states, a hall of Native American cultures, exhibits tracing life in the Southwest from 1540-1940 and a butterfly house where visitors can walk through a myriad of free-flying butterflies. There's an awe-inspiring exhibit of dueling dinosaurs in the entry hall.

Hours: Open 7 days per week 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission: Adults $9; students, seniors & ages 13-17 $6.50; 5-12 $2, under 4 free; general admission free first Tuesday of each month. Parking $8, cash only.

MAK Center for Art & Architecture L.A.
835 N. Kings Rd.
West Hollywood 90069

MAK Center for Art & Architecture L.A. in West Hollywood, CaliforniaHoused in the former studio-residence of internationally renowned architect Rudolf Schindler, the MAK Center is one of the most exciting educational centers for modern art and architecture on the West Coast. The Austrian-born Schindler was one of the pioneers of what we think of as California Modern. His designs were marked by generous amounts of redwood, skylights, outdoor fireplaces and spacious gardens. Groundbreaking exhibitions utilize both the interior and the gardens, with an adjacent bookstore offering a fine selection of books on Schindler, modern architecture, catalog of special exhibitions, postcards, bookmarks and more.

Hours: Open Wed.-Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Admission: Adults $7; students & seniors $6; under 12 free; general admission is free Fridays 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
250 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles 90012

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles 90012

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los AngelesSince its 1986 launch, MOCA has come a long way in the quality of exhibitions, media and performing events it has programmed. The museum structure, designed by Arata Isozaki, is a triumph, with its beautifully proportioned and abundantly skylit galleries. The donation of 64 minimalist and neo-impressionist works from the collection of the late Barry Lowen, together with an acquisition from Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, forms the cornerstone of MOCA's permanent collection. The museum paid $11 million for Panza's brilliantly uneven group of works by such figures as Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and Robert Rauschenberg. The permanent collection has been buoyed by noteworthy gifts of works by Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian and Alberto Giacometti, some 200 vintage and contemporary prints from the estate of L.A. photographer Max Yavno, and major works by Johns, Reinhardt, Diebenkorn and Warhol. An outdoor café serves tasty fare during the day. Be sure to get your parking validated to avoid the exorbitant charge. MOCA has also retained its original, temporary location in an old police warehouse that was overhauled in 1983 by Frank Gehry. It's affectionately known as the TC or Temporary Contemporary.

Hours: Open Mon. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thur. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Admission: Adults $10; seniors & students $5; under 12 and members free; general admission free on Thursdays from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Parking $6.

Museum of Flying Santa Monica Airport
3100 Airport Ave.
Santa Monica 90405

Museum of Flying at Santa Monica Airport in CaliforniaLocated on the north side of the Santa Monica Airport, the Museum of Flying features nearly 2 dozen aircraft chronicling the beginning of flight: from a replica Wright Flyer, all the way to the jet age, with the BD-5 micro jet and the FedEx 727 nose section. The Museum also features a broad collection of aviation art, rare artifacts and ephemera from famous aviators.

Hours: Open Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission: Adults $5; children 5 and under free.

Museum of Latin American Art
628 Alamitos Ave.
Long Beach 90802

Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CaliforniaFounded in 1996 by Dr. Robert Gumbiner, this is the only museum in the Western United States dedicated to the exhibition, interpretation and study of the contemporary art of Mexico, Central and South America and the Spanish speaking Caribbean. Housed on the site of a former silent movie studio, MoLAA has been transformed under the auspices of distinguished Mexican architect Manuel Rosen and is a cornerstone of Long Beach's developing East Village Arts District. The enlarged museum is now triple in size and includes a gift shop and restaurant. The adjacent building is a performing arts center. MoLAA has a permanent collection of more than 1,000 items, in addition to changing exhibitions.

Hours: Open Wed., Fri., Sat., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Admission: Adults $9; seniors & students $6; members & children under 12 free.

Museum of Neon Art (MONA)
216 S. Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91201

Museum of Neon Art in Glendale, CaliforniaThis museum is a celebration of artifacts that light up and move. The collection includes both fine art neon work by artists (celebrated and emerging) and historic signage. Special exhibitions change every three months. Classes are available in neon design and technique. Be sure to inquire about the neon night cruises (via bus) of the city's dazzlers. MONA began moving out of its downtown L.A. location on June 12, 2011 in preparation for its future home in Glendale. The Museum will be off-site during the building renovations, scheduled for completion in the spring of 2012 and a grand opening planned for July 2012.

Hours: Temporarily closed.

The Paley Center for Media
465 N. Beverly Dr.
Beverly Hills 90210

The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, CaliforniaHoused in a former bank building, this branch of the former New York Museum of Television & Radio was transformed by Getty architect Richard Meier into a sleek facility featuring exhibitions as well as screening and listening series using its computerized collection of over 100,000 television and radio programs. Covering more than 70 years of broadcasting history, the programs range from news, public affairs and documentaries to the performing arts, children's shows, drama, sports, comedy and advertising. The museum's state-of-the-art library has private consoles where visitors can screen or listen to selections from the museum's database. Industry heavyweights and well-known performers lead seminars in the theater; call for a schedule. The gift shop has an excellent selection of books and memorabilia.

Hours: Open Wed.-Sun. noon-5 p.m.

Admission: Free; Suggested contribution for adults $10; students & seniors $8; children under 14 $5; members free; parking free.

Museum of Tolerance & Simon Weisenthal Center
9786 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles 90035

Museum of Tolerance & Simon Weisenthal Center in Los AngelesThe Museum of Tolerance set out to be “a symbol of society's quest to live peacefully together and a resource for information and counsel on how to reach that goal.” The museum has two central themes: the history of racism in America, and the story of the Nazi Holocaust. The two themes are displayed interactively in separate areas. Exhibits include the “Whisper Gallery,” a re-enactment of the infamous Wansee Conference, in which Nazi leaders devised a “Final Solution of the Jewish Question,” the Hall of Testimony, where visitors listen as Holocaust survivors bear witness, and the Global Situation Room, where the center's research staff tracks anti-Semitism and human rights violations worldwide.

Hours: Open Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed at 3:00 p.m. on Fri. in Nov.-Mar.

Admission: Adults $15; seniors $12; children 5-18 & students $11; children under 5 free; parking free.

Norton Simon Museum
411 W. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena 91105

Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CaliforniaThe redesigned and reopened Norton Simon exhibits a world-class collection in a deceptively modest environment. Low key, even for Pasadena, the museum’s exterior lulls the visitor into strolling unmindfully at first, passing Rodin's monumental sculpture “The Burghers of Calais,” and then stepping into elegant, understated galleries. What you’re not prepared for are the eye-popping masterpieces, many brightened through recent cleaning and restoration work. The gallery walls groan with Renaissance and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European works, and the Impressionist examples are particularly fine. The Galka Scheyer Collection of the Blue Four (Kandinsky, Klee, Feininger and Jawlensky) is superb. Some of the works are innovatively displayed, with pieces from different epochs complementing and reinforcing one another. It may be jarring to the traditionalist, but, after all, this is California.

Hours: Open Wed.-Mon. noon-6 p.m.

Admission: Adults $10; seniors $5; students & visitors under 18 free; free first Friday of every month 6 p.m.-9 p.m.; parking free.

Pacific Asia Museum
46 N. Los Robles Ave.
Pasadena 91101

Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, CaliforniaThis is the only museum in Southern California to focus on the arts of the Pacific Rim. Housed in the historic Grace Nicholson Building, it's authentically outfitted with a Chinese roof, tiles, koi pond and bronze dragons. The museum gift shop offers relevant books, jewelry, toys, masks, textiles and more.

Hours: Wed.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Admission: Adults $9; seniors & students $7; children under 11 & members free; general admission free fourth Friday of each month; free parking.

Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90036

Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries in Los AngelesIn spite of all those gleaming office towers and the ever-expanding LACMA, the famous La Brea tar pits continue to bubble up, giving us a glimpse of our primordial roots. After checking out on-going excavations from one of the observation pits in Hancock County Park, head into the museum, for a tribute to the creatures that once roamed Wilshire Boulevard. A hologram of a saber-toothed cat changes from skeleton to a realistic image, a miniature tar pit simulates the sensation of being pulled into the mire and a paleontology lab allows you to watch scientists at work piecing together the past. There are several audio-visual presentations and a storeroom of drawers filled with fossil bones.

Hours: Open 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

Admission: Adults $7; seniors & students $4.50; ages 13-17 $4.50 & 5-12 $2; under 5 free; general admission free the first Tuesday of every month. Parking $8 with paid admission for up to 4 hours.

The Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90036

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los AngelesThe Petersen Museum is a member of the L.A. County Natural History Museum and was conceived to explore the analogous development of the automobile and culture in Los Angeles. It's housed in a former department store on Wilshire Boulevard’s Museum Row. Two hundred vintage vehicles are displayed in authentic and detailed surroundings: a 1929 Richfield gas station, a 1931 Auburn/Cord auto dealership, a 1920s street scene, a 1950s custom body shop, a scene from the Laurel and Hardy classic Hog Wild, as well as other stars and their cars. Visit the third-floor Discovery Center where kids can learn the principles of automotive science using cars donated by the May family.

Hours: Open Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; closed Sun., Mon. & holidays.

Admission: Suggested donations $5; artists, students & seniors $3; museum members free; parking $6.

The Ronald Reagan Library & Museum
40 Presidential Dr.
Simi Valley 93065

Ronald Reagan Library and Museum in Simi Valley, CaliforniaThis museum features permanent displays depicting the life and presidency of Ronald Reagan, including a full-scale replica of the oval office and a piece of the Berlin Wall. There are three exhibition spaces for temporary exhibits, which include American historical displays, as well as special art shows such as the paintings of Prince Charles.

Hours: Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission: Adults $12; seniors $9; students aged 11-17 $6; children under 11 free.

Santa Monica Museum of Art
Bergamot Station
2525 Michigan Ave.
Santa Monica 90404

Santa Monica Museum of Art in California

The Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMOA) has moved from its original spot on Main Street to Bergamot Station. In lieu of keeping a permanent collection, the museum presents diverse exhibitions, as well as performances and projects by lesser-known artists in new and unconventional contexts. The new 10,000-square-foot-space, which includes a book and gift shop and an education center, has been modified by the architectural firm of Narduli/Grinstein, but the exterior of the building retains its industrial flavor.

Hours: Open Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Admission: Suggested donation adults $3-5; seniors, students & artists $2.

Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles 90049

Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles What was once a small museum housed in Hebrew Union College has become a thriving center of cultural activity. Its new location, designed by Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, is an oasis built into a mountain off the 405 freeway and includes, in addition to the museum, a conference and performing-arts facilities, as well as a café. The museum's collection is filled with fascinating Judaica, from a reconstruction of an archaeological dig in the Near East to a room filled with Torah-based religious decorative arts and a display of American Jewish art and artifacts that chronicle the experience from antiquity to immigration to America. There's also a Children's Discovery Center, which offers archaeology practice digs. Several special exhibitions a year feature corresponding lectures. Although the main focus of the Skirball organization has been the Jewish experience, it now has adopted a new and exciting multicultural credo.

Hours: Open Tues.-Fri. noon-5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission: Adults $10; seniors & students $7;children 2-12 $5; under 12 and members free; free on Thursdays.

Southwest Museum
234 Museum Dr.
Highland Park 90065

Southwest Museum in Highland Park, CaliforniaOn a clear day, this hillside museum offers a commanding view of the mountains. The Southwest Museum is one of the city's treasures, as every local schoolchild knows. It showcases Native American arts and crafts and gives visitors a glimpse of what California and its neighboring states were like before the Spanish and American colonizations. The pottery and basket collections are especially good, as is the exhibit detailing Plains Indian cosmology, clothing and war rites. Rotating special shows feature everything from contemporary photography to prehistoric pottery. The gift shop is a favorite of collecting cognoscenti, and the Braun Research Library houses one of the world's finest collections of material on Native American cultures.

Hours: Open Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission: Adults $9; seniors & students $5; ages 3-12 $3; under 3 free; parking is free.

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(Updated: 09/20/13 CT)

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