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Los Angeles Museums

From Prehistoric Creatures to Contemporary Art

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 exhibits both digital and print photography

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

Opened 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.

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

Admission: Free

For more information, visit The Annenberg official website

The Autry Museum showcases the experiences and diversity of the people of the American West

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

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. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Mondays

Admission: Adults $10; seniors & students $6; ages 3-12 $4; under 3 free

To plan your visit, go to the Autry Museum official website

See a variety of contemporary art work at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles, California

The Broad Museum
221 S. Grand Ave.
Downtown Los Angeles 90012

Opened September 2015, The Broad museum showcases an impressive collection of more than 2,000 works of contemporary art. The vision of art collectors Eli and Edythe Broad, the museum draws largely from the philanthropists’ personal collection. The Broad features a bold modern design by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and covers an expansive 120,000 square feet over two floors. Works by Jasper Johns, Andreas Gursky, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol and more can be seen at The Broad.

Hours: Open Tues.- Wed. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m.-6p.m.; Mon. closed

: Free

For updates, visit The Broad Museum official website

The CAAM houses three exhibition galleries

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

This 28-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), 19th-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

Find out more at the CAAM official website

The California Heritage Museum building dates back to the 19th century

California Heritage Museum
2612 Main St.
Santa Monica 90405

This 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 $10; students & seniors $5; members & children under 12 free; parking free

Visit the California Heritage Museum official website

The Fowler Museum features works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas

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

A 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. & Fri. -Sun. noon-5 p.m.; Thurs. noon-8 p.m.

Admission: Free

To learn more, go to The Fowler Museum official website

The Getty Center is tucked away in the Santa Monica mountains

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

Welcome 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, $10 after 5 p.m.

For more information, visit The Getty official website

The John V. Tunney Bridge at The Hammer

Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90024

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.-Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. and Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission: Free

To find out more, visit The Hammer official website

Discover more of the history of Southern California at the Heritage Square Museum

Heritage Square Museum
3800 Homer St.
Los Angeles 90031

This 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 holiday Mondays 11:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Hours may vary October to March

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

Learn more at the Heritage Square official website

A peek into the botanical gardens of The Huntington

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

Henry 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 18th- and 19th-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. and Wed. - Fri. noon-4:30 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; closed Tuesdays.

Admission: Rates vary for weekdays and weekends.

Plan your visit at The Huntington official website

The entrance to the Japanese American National Museum

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

Dedicated 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., Wed., and Fri-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.

For details, go to the Japanese American National Museum official website

2640 S. La Cienaga Blvd.
Los Angeles 90034

LA><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, LA><Art animates the relationships between art, artists and audiences.

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

For more information, visit the LA><Art official website

The LBMA has 12,000 square feet of gallery space

Long Beach Museum of Art
2300 E. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach 90803

One 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 and the grounds are tranquil.

Hours: Thurs. 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 3 p.m.-8 p.m.

For more details, go to the LBMA official website

Urban Light, an art installation by Chris Burden at LACMA

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

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 on 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. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-7 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

To get more information, go to the LACMA official website

Peruse the current exhibits at the Natural History Museum

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

This 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 $12; students, seniors & ages 13-17 $9; 3-12 $2; 2 and under, members and California teachers free

For additional details, visit the Natural History Museum official website

The Mackey Apartments are the museum's residency center for visiting artists

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

Housed 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: Vary depending on the site

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

To find out more, visit the MAK Center official website

MOCA is dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art

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

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

Since 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 $12; seniors & students $7; under 12 and members free; general admission free on Thursdays from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

To learn more about the museum, visit the MOCA official website

The Spirit of Santa Monica aircraft painted in its original color scheme at the Museum of Flying in the Santa Monica Airport

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

Located on the north side of the Santa Monica Airport, the Museum of Flying features nearly two 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 $10; seniors and students $8; 3-12 $6; children 2 and under free

To learn more, go to the Museum of Flying official website

The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA

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

Founded 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.,Thurs., Sat., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

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

To plan your visit, refer to the MOLAA official website

Museum of Neon Art (MONA)

This 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 and is scheduled for completion in 2015.

Hours: Temporarily closed

For further updates, visit the MONA official website

The Paley Center for Media

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

Housed 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

To get updates, go to The Paley Center for Media official website

The Anne Frank exhibit at The Museum of Tolerance

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

The 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. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed at 3:00 p.m. on Fri. in Nov.-Mar.

Admission: Adults $15.50; seniors $12.50; children 5-18 & students $11; children under 5 free

For more details, visit The Museum of Tolerance official website

Photo courtesy of Daniel Djang from The Mueseum of Tolerance official website

A lemon-scented gum tree in the "Blue" Eucalyptus Walk

Norton Simon Museum
411 W. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena 91105

The 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 18th- and 19th-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 Mon., Wed., Thurs. noon-5 p.m.; Fri., Sat. 11 a.m.- 8 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Admission: Adults $12; seniors $9; students & visitors under 18 free

See more exhibits at the Norton Simon Museum official website

The Pacific Asia Museum

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

This 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 $10; seniors & students $7; children under 12 & members free; free parking.

Learn more at the Pacific Asia Museum official website

The Page Museum La Brea Tar Pits

Page Museum La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90036

In 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 $12; seniors, students, 13-17 $9; 3-12 $5; under 2 free

For more details, visit The Page Museum official website

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California, explores the history of the automobile

The Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90036

The Petersen Automotive Museum explores the history of automobiles since their inception and how they've shaped American culture — particularly in Los Angeles, where automobiles have had a large impact on the city's history. After a 14-month renovation, the museum has reopened to the public and showcases three new levels of exhibits and interactive displays. Only 150 vehicles are on display at any given time even though the Petersen has more than 300 vehicles in storage. This keeps their 100,000 square feet of museum grounds innovative at all times with rotating exhibits. See vintage models like the 1938 Hispano-Suiza Dubonnet Xenia, or compete for the fastest lap time at the museum's new racing simulator room. For an additional $25 to your general admission ticket price, you could even visit the Petersen vault, open to the public for the first time, to see the mysterious models in storage.

Hours: Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.

Admission: Adults $15; seniors, students $12; children $7; under 3, active duty, personal care, educators free

For more information, visit the Petersen Automotive Museum official website

The Ronald Reagan Library & Museum in Simi Valley, California

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

This 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.

Admission: Adults $16; seniors $13; students aged 11-17 $9; 3-10 $6; children under 2 free.

To learn more, go to The Ronald Reagan Museum official website

A tour at the Santa Monica Museum of Art

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

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 $5

Explore more at the SMMOA official website

The Ahmanson Ballroom at the Skirball Cultural Center

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

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

For more information, go to the Skirball Cultural Center official website

Photo courtesy of BeBe Jacobs from the Skirball Cultural Center official website

A Hopi seed jar on exhibit at the Southwest Museum

Southwest Museum
234 Museum Dr.
Highland Park 90065

On 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: Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Admission: Free

To find out more, visit the Southwest Museum official website


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