May 20, 2020

Exhibitions as Data


By Julia Tcharfas, Collections Cataloger, Autry Museum of the American West

One goal of a museum is to conserve objects in perpetuity—stable and unchanged. By contrast, museum exhibitions are in constant state of flux. Temporary and traveling exhibits are regularly rotating within the gallery walls. Even the so-called permanent galleries undergo numerous transformations over the years.

Exhibitions come and go through a joint museum-wide effort. For museum curators, an exhibition is a carefully chosen group of objects and the... Read more

May 15, 2020

The Red Cross Shop of Los Angeles: Community Involvement in a Time of Crisis

Collections / Community / Revealing Women in the Archives

By Christina Hummel-Colla, Library Collections Assistant

Post-apocalyptic visions of a world populated by marauding bandits notwithstanding, examples of human bonding and mutual aid in times of crisis abound in our shared past and present. Despite the current need for social distancing, volunteers sew masks at home, offer one another support over voice and video chat, and donate their time and resources to help fulfill needs that may otherwise go unmet by existing infrastructures. This spirit of unity and aid echoes that which animated past movements mobilized to confront crisis,... Read more

May 11, 2020

The Autry’s Collecting Community History Initiative: The West During COVID-19

Collection Initiative / Collections / Community

By Tyree Boyd-Pates, Associate Curator

Several weeks ago, we launched our Collecting Community History Initiative: The West During COVID-19 . Within that time, we have received a slew of submissions. This week’s blog post highlights the diversity of the masks across the West.

As states have required individuals to wear face masks in public, communities of all sorts are using their creativity to design their homemade facemasks to free-up other PPE masks for medical... Read more

May 11, 2020

Sheltering in Place: Photographs from the Autry Collection

Collections / Community

By Sarah Signorovitch (Registrar, Loans and Exhibitions) and Julia Tcharfas (Collections Cataloger)

Since mid-March the Autry Museum, like many other similar institutions, has been closed to visitors and non-essential staff as we follow California state and local directives and do our part to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Our local response in Los Angeles is called “Safer at Home” and, in addition to the extremely vital work of healthcare providers, allows for grocery stores, hardware stores and other businesses supplying essential services to stay... Read more

May 8, 2020

The Webster Women: Mother & Daughter Kept Together Through the Archives

Collections / Library and Archives / Revealing Women in the Archives

By Victoria Bernal, Women in the Archives Social Media Manager; Caroline Sheehan, 2018-2019 Autry/Occidental College intern; and Liza Posas, Head of Research Services and Archives

On this Mother’s Day, we explore the archives of Edna Robb Webster, American author, poet, and historian of Mayan culture. Her archives were lovingly preserved by her daughter Marjorie Ellen Webster before she donated them to the Autry.

Edna travelled to Mexico’s Yucatan region in the early 20 th Century making her one of the first women explorers of are—which she vividly captured in photographs... Read more

May 5, 2020

Exploring old Los Angeles with the Pico House Register, June 1870 – May 1872

Collections / Library and Archives

By Marva Felchlin, Former Director Autry Library and Archives; Cheryl Miller, Head Library Metadata and Discovery Services

Pio de Jesus Pico was born at Mission San Gabriel on May 5, 1801. The son of soldier José María Pico, Pio Pico was of mixed African, American Indian, and European heritage. He moved to San Diego in 1819, where he kept a small shop. Pico served in the Mexican government of Alta California in the 1830s and 1840s. He became governor of California in 1845, but his term ended abruptly when the United States annexed California in 1846. Pico fled to Mexico during the... Read more

April 29, 2020

Collecting Community History Initiative: The West During COVID-19

Collection Initiative / Collections / Community
Focus: A preservation initiative to assist communities across the American West on saving and protecting objects of meaning.

By: Tyree Boyd-Pates, Associate Curator of Western History

The Autry Museum of the American West is helping communities across the West identify and preserve items of historical and cultural significance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting April 27, the Autry is launching its Collecting Community History: A Regional Collections Initiative of Exploration and Preservation . It is the first in a series of efforts to... Read more

April 24, 2020

The Stories Found When #ArchivingWomen

Collections / Revealing Women in the Archives
By: Victoria Bernal, Women in the Archives Social Media Manager and Liza Posas, Head of Research Services and Archives In January, the Autry embarked on a year-long Revealing Women in the Archives initiative that celebrates the 2020 centennial of women winning the vote by facilitating the discovery of women’s historical contributions. Through programming, a workshop series, a social media campaign and the exhibition, What’s Her Story: Women in the Archives... Read more
April 21, 2020

Safety First With Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

Collections / Community / Library and Archives

By Mallory Furnier, former Autry Project Archivist

Many Roy Rogers and Dale Evans promotions revolved around their licensed merchandise, though not every publicity bonanza centered on branded products. Rogers and Evans also made their name as champions of a variety of charities. Beginning first in the late 1940s, the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Safety Slogan Contest and School Safety Awards encouraged schools and individual students to consider safety issues and prevent accidents. It is unclear when the contests ended and how much they overlapped, but both appeared with regularity until... Read more

April 17, 2020

Aloha Friday: Truman’s Tropical Duds

Aloha Friday / Collections

By: Kristen Stalling, Museum Curator, Harry S Truman NHS/Independence Multi-Park Facility

This past Sunday, April 12, marked the 75 th anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt’s death and swearing in of Harry S Truman as 33 rd President of the United States. In the year that followed, President Truman secured victory in World War II, began reconstruction efforts and sought peace around the world. By the end of 1946, Truman badly needed a vacation. His personal physician suggested he get to a warm, secluded location to rest and rejuvenate. The Naval Station in Key West fit the bill and... Read more