Museum

Autry Library and Archives

The Library and Archives of the Autry Musuem collects books, sound recordings, and printed materials related to the history, geography, fine arts, and material, popular and consumer culture of the American West. Archival materials and artifacts related to Los Angeles cover Spanish California, and Southern California history, tourism, and industry predominately from the late 1800s to mid-1900s. Archival collections document the West of the imagination and the Hollywood cowboy that include posters, scripts, press kits, fan letters, costume designs, scrapbooks, and publicity stills that document the growth of the film and television industry as well as key personalities in the field. The Library and Archives also have Southern California collections related to books and serials on tribal histories, government, and social life and customs of the native peoples, a large photo archive, more than 700 wax cylinder recordings of Mexican American and Native American songs recorded by Charles F. Lummis between 1895 and 1912 in the Southern California area, manuscript materials strong in local history and the history of American anthropology. The collection includes approximately 50,000 books and serials, 2,000 sound recordings, 3,000 maps, 147,000 photographs, 3,000 works of art on paper, and 700 manuscript collections.

The mission of the Library and Archives is to provide exemplary stewardship for our renowned collections, inspire scholarship by a multidisciplinary research community, and fuel discussion about the past, present and future of the American West. We actively connect Autry visitors to book and archive collections in exhibition galleries and public programs, through engaging outreach and diverse collaborations.

The Autry’s new, state-of-the-art collections care, research, and educational facility in Burbank is anticipated to open in late 2019/early 2020. Until then, the Autry collections are not available for outside access, including in-person research. Please visit our online collections database for information about many of the items within the collections. Sign-up for this e-mail list to receive updates about the opening of the Resources Center. We look forward to seeing you in our new home!

California State University, Long Beach, University Art Museum

The University Art Museum maintains both a permanent collection of twentieth-century works of art on paper and a collection of site-specific outdoor sculpture. The sculpture collection began in 1965 with an International Sculpture Symposium and continues to expand, making the Long Beach campus of only three large public sculpture sites in Southern California. The museum has archival material related to the International Sculpture Symposium and artist files related to the museum’s collections and exhibitions.

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.

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.

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.

Los Angeles Police Museum

This collection is limited to material from, and relative to, the history of the Los Angeles Police Department. The collection consists of retired and replica police vehicles, a retired helicopter and police motorcycles. Uniforms, equipment and artifacts dating to the beginning of the LAPD are also held within the collection. The non-public archive houses annual reports, photos and motion picture film. The majority of the holdings consist of material donated from private persons and sources and should not to be confused with the official holdings of the LAPD and the City of Los Angeles.