Museum

California African American Museum

The California African American Museum collects, preserves, interprets, and displays materials that honor the contributions of African Americans to world history and culture. The museum’s art collection focuses on works created by African American artists from the 1800s to the present. It also includes traditional African art and contemporary art by those of the African Diaspora. The museum’s historical collection consists of documents, photographs, artifacts, and other material culture of African Americans, with an emphasis on documenting the experiences of African Americans in California and the American West from the late 1900s to the present. In the museum’s archival collection are books, periodicals, research materials, audio recordings, videos, vintage films, and other artifacts relating to African Americans. Materials specific to Los Angeles are found in the Miriam Matthews Photographic Collection, which contains images depicting African American subjects in Los Angeles from the 1880s to the 1970s collected by California’s first African American librarian; the Vassie D. Wright Collection, which consists of African American literary and historical works donated by the founder and the members of the local Our Authors Study Club; the Walter Burrell Collection, which comprises audio recordings of Burrell’s interviews with African American celebrities, which were broadcast by a local radio station in the early 1970s; and the oral histories collected from Celes King, a member of the family that owned the Dunbar Hotel, local civil rights activist, and former Tuskegee airman, and from John Outterbridge, a visual artist who has been based in Los Angeles since the 1960s and is renowned for his assemblages and for his mentoring of younger artists.

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument is the oldest section of Los Angeles. Its twenty-seven historic buildings clustered around an old plaza range in architectural style from an adobe dwelling of 1818 to a Spanish-style church of 1926. Four of the buildings have been restored as museums. A brochure describing the buildings is available at the Information Desk in the Plaza or at the El Pueblo Visitors’ Center in the Sepulveda House. El Pueblo’s docent organization, Las Angelitas del Pueblo, provides free tours to groups (Tuesday–Saturday, 10 am–1 pm; call 213-628-1274). El Pueblo’s archaeological collection consists of artifacts uncovered during excavations in the El Pueblo area since 1972. Dating from the indigenous or Native American period (before 1781), the Spanish colonial era (1781–1821), the Mexican era (1821–1848), and the first century of the American era (1850s–1940s), these artifacts include numerous “trash pit” shards such as animal bones, household goods, tools, bottles, and ceramics. El Pueblo also holds a range of archival materials relating to the site and its history.

Paley Center for Media

The Museum of Television & Radio, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, is a non-profit organization founded by William S. Paley to collect and preserve television and radio programs and advertisements and to make them available to the public. Since opening in 1976, the museum has organized exhibitions, screening and listening series, seminars, and education classes to showcase its collection of over 100,000 television and radio programs and advertisements. In 2001, the museum initiated a process to acquire Internet programming for the collection. Programs in the museum's permanent collection are selected for their artistic, cultural, and historic significance.

The Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage

The Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage was opened in 2001 and is named after its lead donors, Ruth and Charles Gilb. The Museum is maintained and operated by the City of Arcadia and houses artifacts and artwork representative of local Arcadia history and culture. The Museum presents seven individual interpretive exhibit spaces with both permanent and temporary exhibits as well as three off-site exhibits at City Hall, City Council Chambers and the Community Center. The main, permanent, gallery presents a chronology of Arcadia's history beginning with the Gabrieliño/Tongva (Native Americans indigenous to Arcadia) and works its way through the early American period with the rancho of Santa Anita, the story of Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin and the beginning of the City of Arcadia. Also on display are artifacts and exhibits of Santa Anita Park, the Arcadia World War I Balloon School, the Santa Anita Japanese Assembly Center and Anita M. Baldwin. Two other permanent spaces are “Movie Magic: Arcadia in the Movies” and “Famous Arcadians.” Our Research Library houses temporary local history exhibits and displays of our archival collections. Research in our collections is by appointment only. In the Arcadia Veterans Local History Room the Museum presents a remembrance of Arcadians who have served in the military. This space houses the Arcadia Veterans Registry, where Veterans from all theatres are invited to add their personal information and photograph to the registry. In addition, the Museum houses the City’s Blue Star Registry and honors Operation Hometown Heroes. Our main temporary space rotates exhibits that share the many aspects of Arcadia's art and history. Past exhibits have included: “Tongva: Our Voice, Our History, Our People,” “Dreams and Delusions: The Surreal World of Dean Fleming,” “Only What We Could Carry: The Santa Anita Japanese Assembly Center,” “Traditional Silk and Silver Fashions of China's Minorities,” “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” and “Airships over Arcadia, WWI.” Temporary exhibits also include topics on community themes and an annual juried photography contest and exhibit. The Museum hosts educational family and adult programming in our Museum Education Center. On third Thursdays the Museum presents Lunchtime Talks with different speakers and topics each month from January through June and September through November. On selected months we present our Hands on Saturdays for Families program, which celebrates a variety of cultural themes bringing families together while educating and immersing in world cultures. Scout Days are presented throughout the year for local troops to come and earn their badges. We also offer educational school tours of the exhibits with an additional hands-on component. Lectures on local history are offered from an assortment of speakers and topics. Favorite lectures in the past have been on the Arcadia WWI Balloon School; Mount Lowe and Pancho Barnes’ connection to Arcadia; the life of Anita Baldwin; and the railroad system in Arcadia. Adult workshops have included working with genealogy, and the ongoing Preservation Series: The Personal Museum, when the Curator shares tips and knowledge about how to care for treasures in “personal museums” in each family home. There is also opportunity to share and record individual stories utilizing the Museum's oral history program: Write Your Own Reminiscence and a senior Those Were the Days Sing-a-Long. The Curator sets time aside each month for visitors to Ask the Curator about how to care for their family artifacts. Cultural programming is also a focal point in our programming. We have held demonstrations on skills such as flintknapping and have welcomed local Native Americans who share their culture of storytelling, native plants and basketweaving. The Museum opens in the evening, after hours, during the spring and summer for two special programs. Arcadia at the Movies delights guests as we watch and discuss movies that have been filmed in Arcadia. Our Spring Soirée offers an evening to relax under the stars with a significant local artist’s work, a wine and cheese reception and acoustic music. There is something for everyone at the Gilb Museum!

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Photography Department

In the photography collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art are approximately fifty-five hundred fine prints spanning the history of the medium, with an emphasis on post-World War II American photography. This collection includes one of the largest holdings of vintage Edward Weston prints in the world, as well as important works by Thomas Barrow, Imogen Cunningham, Robert Heinecken, William Henry Jackson, Alfred Stieglitz, and Karl Struss. In 1985, with the institution of the Ralph M. Parsons Acquisitions Fund, the Photography Department began purchasing significant twentieth-century photographs by Walker Evans, André Kertész, Barbara Kruger, László Moholy-Nagy, Aaron Siskind, Frederick Sommer, Minor White, and others. The Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection of Photographic Self-Portraits, which contains more than one hundred forty images, was added to the collection in 1993. Forty celebrity portraits have been given to the museum by the Hollywood Photographers Archive, and a substantial holding of the work of George Hurrell and Clarence Sinclair Bull was received in 1995; both of these gifts complement the museum’s resources on the history of the movie industry. The department continues to acquire both vintage and contemporary work.

University of Southern California, Fisher Gallery

The Fisher Gallery is the accredited art museum of the University of Southern California. Founded in 1939 by Elizabeth Holmes Fisher, the gallery has twenty-two hundred objects in its permanent collections. Included in these collections are eighteenth-century British portraits, seventeenth- through nineteenth-century Northern European paintings, and nineteenth-century American and French landscapes, as well as twentieth-century paintings, prints, sculpture, and decorative arts. The Fisher Gallery has exhibited art from around the world ranging from antiquities to old masters to works by contemporary artists. For each exhibition, the gallery organizes a symposium and various events. The gallery also offers group tours, hands-on workshops for children and adults, and performances.

Travel Town Museum

The Travel Town Museum preserves and celebrates the railroad heritage of the western United States—its history and its artifacts. Particular emphasis is placed on the role that railroads played in the development of Southern California and the Los Angeles region. The museum’s railroad equipment collection comprises locomotives, freight cars, cabooses, passenger cars, and motorcars, most of which operated in Southern California at one time. This collection is on display year-round outdoors at 5200 Zoo Drive in Griffith Park. The museum’s archives and photographic collection are located at 3900 West Chevy Chase Drive in Griffith Park. The photographic collection documents the history of the railroad equipment held by the museum as well as the history of railroading in Southern California generally. In the museum’s archives are personal collections of material culture donated by retired engineers, firemen, brakemen, stewards, and other railroad employees. Railroading crosses cultural, racial, and gender lines.

Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park

The Museum exhibits American Indian cultural materials, primarily focused on cultures of the Southwestern, Great Basin and Californian culture regions, which were connected by a major trade route from circa 4,000 BP. One of the largest collections is from the California coast and Channel Islands. Seven thousand artifacts are represented, ranging in age from 8-9,000 BP to ethnographic/historic times.

Archdiocese of Los Angeles Archival Center

The Archival Center that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles built at the San Fernando Mission and opened in 1980 is a measured response to the church's obligation to collect and preserve records associated with the human activities constituting California's Catholic heritage. The facility houses papers, documents, correspondence, and related materials generated since 1840 by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and its antecedent jurisdictions. The Center's archives include numerous photographic collections and various image holdings that number in the hundreds of thousands. The center's library presently comprises about fifteen thousand books primarily on California history, American Catholic history, bibliography, archives, and archivism. Eleven digests of the center's archival documents have been published, and more than ten thousand of the library's books are classified and described in The Literary High Spots of Mission Hills, California (1998). Various objects from the center's holdings are on exhibit in the center's Historical Museum. It is the "hope and prayer" of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles "that the books, documents, manuscripts, and historical memorabilia housed at the Archival Center will become the means for as-yet-unborn generations to stand taller upon the shoulders of their predecessors."