The Autry's Mt. Washington Campus
HOURS / LOCATION / ADMISSION
Open to the public every Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
234 Museum Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Highlights From the Southwest Museum Collection, an exhibition featuring selected ceramics and archeological artifacts, is on view in the upper- and lower-level lobbies. The ethnobotanical garden overlooking the Arroyo Seco, featuring native California plants, is also open for the public's enjoyment.
Please note the exhibition Four Centuries of Pueblo Pottery that was scheduled to open on April 13, 2013 has been postponed. It will now open October 19th, 2013.
Quarterly behind-the-scenes tours and lectures are available. Space is limited and reservations required.
- March 9 - Lecture Only
- April 13 - Lecture and Tour
- June 8 - Lecture and Tour
- September 14 - Lecture and Tour
- December 14 -Lecture and Tour
For more information on membership and other activities, stop by the main entrance and speak to the Visitor Services representative.
Restoration of the Cervantes Mural
A prominent work of art in the Mt. Washington neighborhood is local artist Daniel Cervantes’ mural, painted in 2004 on an existing retaining wall located on Marmion Way. Cervantes worked with the Autry’s Education Department staff and the local American Indian community to create a visual history of Native peoples in the mural. In the ensuing years, the mural has needed ongoing care and periodic restoration.
Recent graffiti, wear and tear and moisture intrusion from the backside of the retaining wall had once again marred the mural. But at the Autry’s request, the mural has just been restored again and is now back in all its vibrant color.
History of the Museum
The Southwest Museum of the American Indian was founded in 1907 by Charles F. Lummis and the Southwest Society (formed in 1903), the western branch of the Archaeological Institute of America. The Southwest Museum building was constructed between 1912 and 1914. Lummis worked with architects Sumner P. Hunt and Silas R. Burns to design the main museum building and the Caracol and Torrance towers. Lummis wanted the building to reflect Spanish culture and the Alhambra in Spain. The tunnel and elevator were added in 1919–1920 to provide easier access to the museum. In 1977 the Braun Research Library was constructed to house the ever-growing research collection, which had outgrown its space in the Torrance Tower.
The Southwest Museum is on the National Register of Historical Places at the national level, on the California Register of Historic Places, and both the Southwest Museum building and the Braun Library are listed as City of Los Angeles Historical Cultural Monuments.
The Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, the second largest collection of Native American objects in the United States, is widely regarded as one of the finest collections in the world. Artifacts range in age from prehistoric to the present, documenting Native history and culture in the Americas. Some of the earliest pieces in the collection include archaeological materials from museum- sponsored excavations, including those led by notable archaeologist and curator Mark Raymond Harrington. Other collection strengths include a stunning array of ceramics from the southwestern United States. Today, the Autry is committed to maintaining its stewardship responsibilities for this important collection by conserving these objects and ensuring their preservation for generations to come
The Autry’s Southwest Museum Preservation Project is a multimillion-dollar effort to inventory, preserve, conserve, and rehouse roughly 250,000 artifacts. We are currently focusing on the preservation of 157,000 artifacts that were specifically affected by the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Of those 157,000 artifacts, there are 9,000 ethnographic, 10,000 ceramic, and 138,000 archaeological objects.
Over the years, overcrowded storage rooms, poor climate controls, water leaks, pests, and dust imperiled the artifacts, advancing the deterioration of objects of great historic and educational value.
The Collections Management and Conservation team involved in the project works daily to safely rehouse and conserve each object. Our staff has established a process to preserve these artifacts, which consists of cleaning, condition reporting, photographing, stabilizing objects in fragile condition, storage mounting, housing, and mitigating pest activity, if necessary. Storage mounts are custom made and unique to individual objects, as the artifacts vary greatly in size, shape, material, and condition. The rehousing process helps ensure that objects maintain their present condition, whether they are being handled, moved, or stored.
Because of these preservation efforts, this culturally important collection can be accessed and shared with American Indian tribes, researchers, and the general public for many generations to come.