Antelope Valley Indian Museum stands against towering rock formations in the Mojave Desert. The large boulders become a portion of its interior while timbers from Joshua trees cover supports for its roof. This folk art structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors will find the history of the Museum and the collections it houses both colorful and varied.
Aquarium of the Pacific - The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is one of the largest aquariums in the United States. Its 550 species fill 17 major living habitats, 30 smaller exhibits and takes visitors on a journey throughout the Pacific Ocean's three regions: Southern California/Baja; the Tropical Pacific and the Northern Pacific.
Architecture and Design Museum - The mission of the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles is to expose the general public to the importance of architecture and design in the community, to encourage innovative thinking in these disciplines, to stimulate an awareness of contemporary issues in architecture and design, whether to the general public, school children or the educated professional.
Armand Hammer Museum - See UCLA Hammer Museum below.
Automotive Museum - See Petersen Automotive Museum below.
Autry National Center - The Autry was established in 2003 following the merger of the Southwest Museum, the Women of the West Museum , and the Museum of the American West (formerly the Autry Museum of Western Heritage). Through innovative exhibitions, a broad range of programs and extensive collection of art and artifacts, the Autry National Center explores the distinct stories and interactions of cultures and peoples, and their impact on the complex, evolving history of the American West.
Bunny Museum - Over 12,000 bunny collectibles of every size, shape, and matter; featuring five Rose Parade float bunnies.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium - 38 saltwater aquariums display Southern California sea creatures, including sharks, eels, octopi and crabs as they would appear in nature. Visitors can touch live animals in the tide pool "touch tank" and learn about the marine environment from modern, interactive exhibits, daily slide presentations and special events. Weekend tadpole walks and children's programs are available. Be sure to check out the gift shop. Open Tuesday through Friday, noon to 5PM; weekends, 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission to the museum is free.
Calico Ghost Town Museum - Near Barstow, about two hours east of Los Angeles on I-15. One third of the town is original; the remaining carefully reconstructed to recreate the "spirit' of Calico's Old West past. Walking tours, exhibits, virtual photo tour.
California African American Museum - Inside the galleries of the California African American Museum (CAAM) in Los Angeles are living treasures of African American art, history and culture. CAAM's kaleidoscope of art and history exhibitions is designed to enhance the public's knowledge of the African American's contribution to society both past and present. Near the Coliseum, Natural History Museum and California Science Center
California Science Center - IMAX Theater, Science Exhibits, Air and Space GalleryExposition Park. Near the Coliseum, Natural History Museum and California African American Museum.
Catalina Island Museum exhibits Native American artifacts, Catalina pottery and tile, photos and postcards from the 1880's to the present, and much more.
Children's Museum of Los Angeles - this museum has been closed since August 2000, however it will reopen when a new facility is built at Hansen Dam park. Meanwhile, the museum has performances, workshops and activities are available for booking at schools, community centers, festivals, malls and any other place where children gather.
Chinese American Museum - The mission of the Chinese American Museum is to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of America's diverse heritage by researching, preserving, and sharing the history, rich cultural legacy and continuing contributions of Chinese Americans. The 7,200 square foot museum site stands inside El Pueblo Monument, a 44-acre public park located at the City's "birthplace" in downtown Los Angeles. Visitors to El Pueblo Monument have the opportunity to see a more inclusive picture of America in this "birthplace" of Los Angeles. They will be able to see in El Pueblo's cluster of 24 historic buildings, not only a restored Chinese American presence, but also a more ethnically diverse and accurate Southern California heritage.
The Museum's prime location among so many other historic buildings will allow children and families to learn about the Chinese American experience in the context of a larger multicultural mosaic of people who have contributed toward the development of Los Angeles and Southern California.
Craft and Folk Art Museum - The Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) champions cultural understanding by encouraging curiosity about our diverse world through the universal lens of art. CAFAM hosts a changing display of vibrant exhibitions, family programs, film screening, artists talks, and is home to an award-winning museum shop. Dedicated to international folk art and contemporary craft, recent exhibitions include textiles of the Middle East, contemporary marriage paintings from India, black paper dolls, and antique Venetian glass.
Drum Barracks Civil War Museum - The historic Drum Barracks is the only Civil War-era U.S. Army building still standing in Southern California. The Drum Barracks (named after Adjutant-General Richard C. Drum, commander of the post) served as the main training, staging and supply depot for military operations in Arizona and Southern California and New Mexico. The museum features many items from this era, including an operable Gatling Gun. The museum, located in the original junior officers' quarters, displays historical artifacts and is operated by the city of Los Angeles.
Fisher Gallery - near Downtown LA - USC's art museum for over sixty years, provides a lively offering of contemporary and old master exhibitions, accompanied with tours, lectures, music and other events.
Forest Lawn Museum - Griffith Park area - Forest Lawn cemetery has a museum with statues, stained glass and other art exhibits. Also be sure to visit their Court of Freedom that pays tribute to early American heroes.
Fort MacArthur Museum is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the history of Fort MacArthur, a U.S. Army post which guarded the Los Angeles harbor from 1914 to 1974.
Fort Tejon - One hour north of LA on I-5. History, Exhibits, Civil War battle re-enactments. See troops of the Union and Confederate Armies, all authentically uniformed and equipped. Meet the soldiers & civilians. Tour their camps and see how they lived.
Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden - West LA - Five acre outdoor sculpture collection with over 70 sculptures by noted artists (Rodin, Moore, Matisse, Lachaise, more). Open year round. Located at UCLA Hammer Museum.
Fowler Museum at UCLA - The Fowler Museum at UCLA explores art and material culture from Africa, Asia, Oceania, Native and Latin America, past and present. Free Admission, Easy Parking.
The Gamble House - an example of American Arts and Crafts style architecture. The house and furnishings were designed by Charles and Henry Greene in 1908. The house, a National Historic Landmark, is owned and operated by the University of Southern California and is open for public tours [Pasadena].
Getty Museum - West LA - The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts and the humanities that includes an art museum as well as programs for education, scholarship, and conservation.
Griffith Observatory - NOTICE: The Observatory has recently reopened after a 3-year renovation. All visitors must have a timed-entry reservation to be admitted to the Observatory. Entry passes can be reserved from their website. A major Los Angeles landmark since 1935. It is visited by nearly two million people each year end ranks seventh on the list of major tourist attractions of Southern California. It sits on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood where it commands a stunning view of the Los Angeles basin below. Thousands of people enjoy the view from its balconies, especially at night.
Heritage Square Museum - Located along the historic Arroyo-Seco, this open-air museum welcomes visitors to explore Southern California's development from agricultural Eden to urban metropolis. Costumed guides present the story of life in Los Angeles during the years 1850 to 1950. Tours include discussions on the history of Los Angeles based around the Museum's collection of eight Victorian buildings including the fully restored and furnished Queen Ann home the Hale House, as well as a church, a railway depot, and an octagon house. A variety of household goods, books, and cold drinks are available at the Museum Store.
Hollywood Bowl Museum - features history, photos, posters, videos, and rock memorabilia from events at the Hollywood Bowl.
Hollywood Museum - The museum's permanent collection captures the miracles of motion picture magic, past and present, on four floors and in 5,000 eye-popping displays. (More Hollywood Links).
Homestead Museum - A century of southern California history awaits you at the Homestead Museum. This six-acre site dates from the era when California was still part of Mexico through the decade of the 1920s when Los Angeles had become a major American city.
The Huntington - An oasis of art and culture set amidst 150 acres of breathtaking gardens. Three art galleries and a library showcase magnificent collections of rare books and manuscripts, 18th- and 19th-century British and French art, American art from the 18th to the early 20th century, and a small but noteworthy collection of Renaissance paintings.
International Printing Museum - This museum shows how printing was accomplished before inkjets and laser printers. It's necessary to take a one-hour tour in order to truly appreciate the museum because the tour includes lots of fun demonstrations on old machinery, including a replica of the original Gutenberg Press. Hours are limited so be sure to call before you go.
Irvine Museum - The Irvine Museum is dedicated to the preservation and display of California art of the Impressionist Period (1890 - 1930).
Japanese American National Museum - The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles was formed to commemorate the culture and contribution of the Japanese American community during the last century. The museum was formed in the early 1980s with Japanese American military veterans and area businessmen looking for a way to preserve Japanese American heritage.
Korean American Museum - The mission of the Korean American Museum is to interpret and preserve its history, culture, and achievements of the Korean American community; to examine and discuss issues currently facing the community; and to explore new and innovative ways to communicate the Korean American experience to other American communities.
Outside the La Brea Tarpits
La Brea Tar Pits - West LA - Home of George C. Page Museum. Many of the permanent exhibits are designed with children in mind: children are invited to test their strength against the pull of asphalt, and touch a massive leg bone of an extinct giant ground sloth. Through windows at the Fossil Preparation Laboratory, visitors can watch bones being cleaned and repaired. Outside the museum, the 23-acre of Hancock Park features observation pits and life replicas of some of the extinct mammals. The park is landscaped to include plants that were present during the last Ice Age. Every summer (July-August) visitors can watch the annual excavation of fossils.
LA County Museum of Art - Explore a collection with more than 100,000 works of art at LACMA, the largest encyclopedic museum west of Chicago. Through its far-reaching collections, the museum is both a resource to and a reflection of the many cultural communities and heritages in Southern California. The museum offers a variety of rewarding experiences for the general public and art professional alike. A lively schedule of special exhibitions, world-renowned film and music programs, and a number of educational events complement the permanent collection.
LA Fire Dept Historical Society Museum - Preserving and sharing the rich history of the LAFD by remembering, memorializing and honoring fallen firefighters and educating children and adults on fire and life safety.
Laguna Art Museum - Museum visitors can enjoy continuously changing exhibitions of works by historical, contemporary, and emerging artists and browse through the Museum Store and Art Rental and Sales Gallery. Docent-led tours, free with Museum admission, are offered daily at 2:00 p.m.
Latino Art Museum - A non-profit organization created to promote the works of talented Latin American contemporary artists living in the United States and instill a sense of appreciation for Latino art in the minds and hearts of children and adults.
Long Beach Museum of Art - located on a magnificent bluff site overlooking Long Beach Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. The campus includes the historic Elizabeth Milbank Anderson house and carriage house (built in 1912), a new pavilion with two floors of expansive gallery space for changing exhibitions, and oceanfront gardens.
Movieland Wax Museum - Buena Park - now Closed. This website provides a nice overview of the former museum.
Museum of the American West - Griffith Park - (formerly the Autry Museum of Western Heritage) The Autry National Center is devoted to preserving and interpreting the rich history and traditions of the American West. With one of the most comprehensive collections of western history and art, its seven permanent galleries and special exhibitions offer material gathered from the many cultures and events that have shaped the legacy of this vast region.
Museum of Contemporary Art - Museum of Contemporary Art is the only Los Angeles museum devoted exclusively to art from 1940 to today. It features changing traditional exhibits of drawings, paintings, sculpture, prints, photographs and installations as well as more active art forms such as dance, theater, performance, video, film and music.
Museum Of Flying - Santa Monica - The Museum of Flying, located in Santa Monica, California, houses a rare collection of World War II fighter aircraft. The interactive children's wing features fun and educational kiosks, vintage aircraft suspended from the ceiling, and videos showing dramatic footage of historic planes in action. There are hundreds of model aircraft, and the Museum also has a theater. Films shown on the weekends include first flights of famous aircraft, as well as historic and current cockpit camera footage of the Stealth fighter.
Museum of Jurassic Technology - West LA - is an educational institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic. Note: This museum is not related to dinosaurs. Instead, it is related to old technology.
Museum of Latin American Art - The Museum of Latin American Art's mission is to educate the American public about contemporary Latin American art (created by artists who have lived or worked in Latin America since World War II) through the establishment of a significant representative permanent collection and the presentation of dynamic exhibitions and related programs.
Museum of Neon Art - The Museum of Neon Art (MONA) is a non-profit, cultural and educational organization which exhibits, documents and preserves contemporary fine art in electric media and outstanding examples of neon signs. Founded in 1981, MONA is the only permanent institution of its kind in the world.
Museum of Tolerance - West LA - A high tech, hands-on experiential museum that focuses on two central themes through unique interactive exhibits: the dynamics of racism and prejudice in America and the history of the Holocaust - the ultimate example of man's inhumanity to man.
Natural History Museum - Special exhibitions are featured quarterly and permanent collections include: - Birds, chaparral and marine life - Dinosaurs, fossils and other extinct animals - Gems and minerals - Native American and Pre-Columbian cultures - North American, African and exotic mammal halls - California, Southwest and American history - Discovery Center - Insect Zoo. Near the Coliseum, California Science Center and California African American Museum.
Nethercutt Collection - The Nethercutt Collection is a world-class treasure house of prize winning automobiles, automobilia, mechanical musical instruments and antique furniture. The heart of the "Functional Fine Art" collection contains over 200 meticulously restored American and European automobiles dating from 1898-1982.
Norton Simon - European paintings and sculpture range from the 14th to the 20th century. The Museum exhibits Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo masterpieces.
Orange County Museum of Art - The Orange County Museum of Art is the premier visual arts organization in Orange County, California, serving a population of nearly three million residents. Critically acclaimed exhibitions such as Picasso to Pollock: Modern Masterpieces from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, together with the Orange Lounge at South Coast Plaza, draw more than 80,000 visitors annually.
Pacific Asia Museum - Pasadena - Contains more than 14,000 rare and representative examples of art and artifacts from Asia and Pacific Islands, spanning a period of 5000 years.
Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television & Radio) is a nonprofit organization founded by William S. Paley in 1975 to collect and preserve television and radio programs and to make these programs available to the public. Since opening its doors in 1976, the Museum has expanded the collection to include more than 100,000 programs chosen for their artistic, cultural, and historical significance. The collection covers news, drama, public affairs programs, documentaries, the performing arts, children's programming, sports, comedy, and advertising.
Pasadena Museum of History - The Museum's collections, exhibits and programs provide educational resources for the public to increase understanding and appreciation of history, culture and science in Pasadena and neighboring communities.
Petersen Automotive Museum - West LA - Automotive themes and exhibits. Hot rods, celebrity automobiles, land-speed record cars, motorcycles, artwork and sculpture can be found.
Phineas Banning Museum - South Bay - This exquisitely-restored Greek Revival mansion built in 1864 features an extensive collection of Victorian decorative arts and furnishings. As you enter you will experience the elegance of the Victorian era as you tour the 23 room mansion which has been restored to reflect the eclectic nature of a home lived in by several generations. Highlights of the tour are the General's office, the parlor where he entertained friends and colleagues, a formal dining room complete with fine China and crystal, a Victorian kitchen and the private quarters. The museum is located in a 20-acre park. Guided 90-minute tours explore the mansion, a one-room schoolhouse and a stagecoach barn.
Placerita Nature Center Museum - Santa Clarita - contains exhibits on the natural history of southern California, and there is a small collection of live animals. A network of self-guiding nature, history and hiking trails radiates out into the park from the Center, with longer hikes leading to a seasonal waterfall to the top of the Santa Clarita Divide. Picnicking is available near the Nature Center. (There are more Nature Centers in the Nature Centers links section.)
Plaza de la Raza - near Downtown LA - a private non-profit organization that provides year round programs in arts education and serves as an arts center and school of performing and visual arts.
Point Vicente Interpretive Museum - South Bay - Located next to Point Vicente Lighthouse, this small natural history museum is an ideal whale-watching spot. Exhibits highlight the peninsula's geology, flora and fauna. Open daily, 10 AM to 5PM, year-round, with extended hours during summer. Picnic areas are available.
Queen Mary - Long Beach - Daily tours. The Queen Mary features an on-board hotel, an elaborate Champagne Sunday Brunch, a variety of restaurants, a wedding chapel and 16 Art Deco reception salons for private celebrations.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library - Simi Valley (northern San Fernando Valley) - Perched on a mountaintop with sweeping views of mountains, valleys, and the Pacific Ocean, this 100-acre site, 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, offers memorable experiences for people of all ages. Visitors can follow a young Ronald Reagan on his rise from local hero and college standout to the glamorous world of Hollywood stardom.
Santa Monica Museum of Art - located at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, the museum features contemporary art exhibits and artists' projects.
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium (formerly Ocean Discovery Center) - Santa Monica - The UCLA Ocean Discovery Center at the Santa Monica Pier is a marine science learning center and aquarium serving K-12 classes from schools in the greater Los Angeles area as well as the general public. We use interactive lessons and activities to introduce students to the basic concepts of marine environmental studies, marine biology, oceanography. The Ocean Discovery Center is also open to the public, using the same conceptual approach to teach visitors about their connections to Santa Monica Bay and ways to conserve our oceans.
Skirball Cultural Center - The Skirball museum collection, reflecting a history of 4,000 years, ranks among the largest of its genre in the world, with 25,000 objects of artifacts related to Jewish life and culture. The museum's core exhibit, Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America, explores themes related to the pursuit of the American dream through immigration, acculturation and the embracing of democratic values.
Southwest Museum - The galleries at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian are closed to the public at this time. However, the Museum Store is open on Saturdays and Sundays and the museum continue to offer programs and events throughout the year.
S.S. Lane Victory Museum - Long Beach area - The ship is functional but is also part museum. Near Ports o' Call Village.
Travel Town Museum - Griffith Park - An outdoor museum which preserves and celebrates the railroad heritage of the western United States--its history and its artifacts. Displays actual railroad locomotives and boxcars, along with other transportation related displays. This is a great place to take the kids before or after visiting Griffith Park, the LA Zoo or Gene Autry Museum (see above). (Related: see Tourist Attractions links for Griffith Park and LA Zoo.)
UCLA Hammer Museum - West LA - The facility includes approximately 14,000 square feet of exhibition space as well as an open-air courtyard which is used for outdoor performances, members' openings, movie premiere parties and community events. Includes the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, a five acre outdoor sculpture collection (10899 Wilshire Boulevard)
Vincent Price Collection - East LA - Contains over 2,000 pieces (with an estimated value of over $5,000,000), and includes art from Africa, Peruvian and Mexican artifacts dating from 300 B.C., North American Indian Art, and important works from the renaissance to the present day.
Wells Fargo History Museum - Real gold nuggets. Real stagecoaches. Real history. It's all at the Wells Fargo History Museums. Here's your chance to travel to the past by exploring all the rare and authentic exhibits. Admission is free to all the museums. Special tours and educational programs are available with advance reservation.
Wells Fargo History Museum Locations and Hours:
William S. Hart Ranch and Museum
Los Angeles: 333 South Grand Ave, M-F; 9-5; (213-253-7166)
Old Sacramento: 1000 Second St; Daily, 10-5; (916-440-4263)
Sacramento: 400 Capitol Mall; M-F, 9-5; (916-440-4161)
San Diego: 2733 San Diego Ave; Daily, 10-5 (619-238-3929)
San Francisco: 420 Montgomery St; M-F, 9-5; (415-396-2619)
William S. Hart Ranch and Museum - Santa Clarita - The home of "Two Gun Bill," star and director of western films from the silent era, is displayed complete with personal effects and furnishings as well as his important collection of Native American artifacts and Western American art. Hart Park includes hiking trails, picnic areas, campground, and live animals, including a herd of bison.