Press Release: June 11, 2018

Autry Museum Celebrates 30th-Anniversary Year

Gene Autry during the rope cutting ceremony with Los Angeles City Councilman John Ferraro (left), Gene Autry, and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley (right).

With Willie Nelson Concert, Programs, and Events

Los Angeles, CA (June 11, 2018)—The Autry Museum of the American West (then the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum) opened its doors to the public in 1988 with the goal to collect, preserve, and interpret materials related to the history of the American West. Throughout the last 30 years, the Autry has continued and extended its founders’ vision by offering a wide array of exhibitions and public programs exploring the West’s art, history, and cultures, ranging from its annual American Indian Arts Marketplace to vibrant exhibitions such as Play! (2017), Route 66: The Road and the Romance (2014), and How the West Was Worn (2002). To celebrate the museum’s 30th anniversary this fall, the Autry will host special events and programs—including a private concert by Willie Nelson, talks, screenings, special offers, and more. Taking a walk down memory lane, the Autry Store will offer limited-edition, 80s-themed commemorative memorabilia featuring the original, now-vintage Autry logo.

Founded by Jackie and Gene Autry and Joanne and Monte Hale in Griffith Park, the Autry is committed to bringing together the stories of all peoples of the American West, connecting the past with the present to inspire our shared future. The museum offers visitors world-class galleries filled with Native American art and cultural materials, film-related artifacts, historic firearms, paintings, and more. Throughout the year, the Autry presents a wide range of public events and programs—including lectures, film, theater, festivals, family activities, and music—and performs scholarship, research, and educational outreach. The Autry spans three campuses in Los Angeles: the Autry Museum in Griffith Park, the Historic Southwest Museum Mt. Washington Campus, and the Resources Center of the Autry (near-completion in Burbank). 

W. Richard West, Jr., Autry President and CEO, joined the Autry six years ago after founding the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to lead and participate in the continuing evolution of a museum that means so much to so many people,” West said. “Our mission is to tell the diverse stories of the American West, and I do not think we have ever shied away from that, not in 1988 and not in 2018. From offering exhibitions about the Chicano Rights Movement to presenting public programs about chuck wagon cuisine to providing a theatrical stage for Native playwrights and actors, the Autry remains a place with something for everyone. I hope and expect the next thirty years—and beyond—will be as exciting and vibrant.”

Since its founding, the Autry has grown to encompass a broad and inclusive representation of art, artifacts, cultural materials, and library holdings. In 2002, the Autry merged with Women of the West, a nonprofit organization highlighting the impact of diverse women’s experiences on the history of the American West. In 2003, the Autry merged with the Southwest Museum of the American Indian and began an extensive effort to document, conserve, and preserve more than 250,000 ethnographic and archaeological materials in the historic collection. As the extensive preservation project entered its final phase in 2015, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Autry’s historic Southwest Museum Mt. Washington Campus site a National Treasure, launching a collaborative process to identify a long-term sustainable future for the Los Angeles landmark.

For more information about upcoming 30th Anniversary programs and events visit,

Anniversary Public Programs and Events

Gene Autry’s 111th Birthday
Saturday, September 29, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Celebrate our museum’s founder and enjoy a complimentary piece of birthday cake in Crossroads West Cafe. General adult museum admission is only $9.29 to mark this special occasion.

Screenings of Films from 1988
See films with varying views of the American West from the year the Autry was founded–1988! 

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
Saturday, August 18, 1:30 p.m.
This update on the noir genre explores some of the ever-relevant issues that have shaped modern Los Angeles—from freeway construction to segregation to police brutality. Introduction by Jim Newton, UCLA Lecturer of Public Policy and former editor at the Los Angeles TimesScreened in 35mm

The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) 
Saturday, September 15, 1:30 p.m.
 A small farmer faces off against corrupt business interests that are trying to control a community’s water supply. This classic Western plotline is set in the fictional Hispano town of Milagro, New Mexico, with elements of magical realism. Screened in 35mm

Sunset (1988)
Saturday, October 20, 1:30 p.m.
While making a silent film about the life of the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp, veteran actor Tom Mix (Bruce Willis) discovers that the real Earp (James Garner) is on the film set as a technical advisor. The two become friends, but when a murder takes place, the two become partners and set about tracking down the killer.

Young Guns (1988)
Saturday, November 17, 1:30 p.m.
 A group of young gunmen, led by Billy the Kid, become deputies to avenge the murder of the rancher who became their benefactor. But when Billy takes their authority too far, they become the hunted.

30th-Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, October 13, 6:00 p.m.–Midnight
At this Autry fundraising event, enjoy cocktails, dinner, a live performance by Willie Nelson, and an after party under the stars with live music and dancing. Visit for more details.

Investigating Griffith Park Project Launch
Saturday, November 17
In celebration of the Autry’s three decades in Griffith Park, the museum is transforming one of its core galleries into an experimental, hands-on space dedicated to the land on which it stands, Griffith Park. In the coming years, this gallery will evolve through public feedback and ideas to become a full-fledged exhibition by the park’s 125th anniversary in 2021.

Way Back Wednesday
Wednesday, November 21, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Rewind to 1988 and pay original museum admission prices from the day the Autry opened (Adults: $4.75; Seniors/Students: $3.50; Children (2–12): $2.00). Dress in ‘80s-inspired attire for a special prize.

Image: Gene Autry during the rope cutting ceremony with Los Angeles City Councilman John Ferraro (left),  Gene Autry, and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley (right).

About the Autry Museum of the American West
The Autry is a museum dedicated to exploring and sharing the stories, experiences, and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West, connecting the past to the present to inspire our shared future. The museum presents a wide range of exhibitions and public programs—including lectures, film, theatre, festivals, family events, and music—and performs scholarship, research, and educational outreach. The Autry’s collection of more than 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, one of the largest and most significant of Native American materials in the United States.

Museum admission is $14 for adults, $10 for students and seniors 60+, $6 for children ages 3–12, and free for Autry members, veterans, and children age 2 and under. Admission is free on the second Tuesday of every month.


Museum and Autry Store:
10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Crossroads West Cafe:
10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

The museum, store, and cafe are closed on Mondays. Visit for more information.