Press Release: September 13, 2019

Autry Museum of the American West Announces $80 Million Comprehensive Campaign

Public phase commences as major fundraising initiative reaches 78% of goal.

Los Angeles, CA (September 13, 2019)—The Autry Museum of the American West announces the public phase of its campaign to expand exhibitions, public programming, and educational initiatives to engage audiences of all ages and abilities. Through the $80 million Challenge, Discover, Celebrate campaign, the Autry will renovate approximately 14,000 square feet of educational and public programming space, open a new Resources Center, and further elevate the experience of visitors and community stakeholders.

“The ‘Challenge, Discover, Celebrate’ campaign is both the most ambitious and yet also one of the most intimate the Autry has ever embarked upon,” said W. Richard West, Jr. (Southern Cheyenne), President and CEO of the Autry. “Our goal is to enhance the very personal encounters and experiences that people relish here at the Autry. This approach necessarily entails updating or constructing critical infrastructure—such as the Resources Center, which serves to protect and provide access to our vast collections—but it also means that we are putting our energies into more ephemeral but crucial areas such as visitor services and staff support.”

The Autry’s mission is to tell the diverse stories of the American West, and the institution has become a community gathering place for complex ideas of the West to flourish. Through recent exhibitions like Coyote Leaves the Res: The Art of Harry Fonseca, Investigating Griffith Park, LA RAZA, Route 66, and community programming such as Native Voices and the American Indian Arts Marketplace, the Autry is continuously deepening and expanding how visitors experience the West. All contributions to the Campaign—whether made online, via text (AUTRY to 855-735-2437), or through an Autry membership—will help the museum carry out this mission.

“As evidenced by its great success leading up to this public launch, the Campaign has captured the imagination of Trustees and major donors alike,” said David Cartwright, Board Chair and Autry Trustee. “We need museums like the Autry to challenge the past, discover the present, and celebrate the future of California and the broader American West. Through this Campaign, our collective efforts will ensure the Autry will continue to be a dynamic gathering space where people can learn, debate, and express themselves.”

Since the Campaign began in 2016, the Autry has raised $62 million (78% of the $80 million goal) with major support coming from Autry Trustees and generous contributions from individuals, foundations, and companies. The funds raised through the Campaign will go towards advancing the Autry’s mission to share all the stories of the American West in the following ways:

Expanded Exhibitions, Public Programming/Educational initiatives, and Support Services

Increased giving in areas such as new memberships, exhibition/program sponsorships, and general support gifts enable the Autry to provide innovative exhibitions, on- and off-site educational programs for K-12 students, and more than 100 public programs, in addition to supporting the ongoing operations of the museum. Growth of this support over the life of the campaign and beyond is essential to the museum’s fiscal health and stability.

Griffith Park Campus Enhancements

Completion of the Resources Center, where all the collections will be rehoused, will create new space for public and student activities at the Autry’s Griffith Park campus. Key enhancements include:

  • A new, immersive, hands-on space where children and their families can play, be creative, and have fun, all while learning about the diverse peoples and cultures of the West. As evidenced by the popularity of the Autry’s Play! exhibition (on view 2017-18), the new Family Play Gallery will meet a substantial local need for public spaces dedicated to experiential and educational activities for young children.
  • A state-of-the-art Education Center that will support the launch of the Autry Academy, a series of continuing education and lifelong learning programs to engage audiences in dialogue about critical civic, environmental, and social issues. The Autry currently serves more than 50,000 K-12 students annually from throughout the greater L.A. area; with enhanced and expanded classrooms, the Autry will also expand the number of students it serves onsite through its existing education offerings.
  • A renovated and upgraded Theater with sophisticated lighting and sound systems, improved seating, a larger stage, assistive listening devices, and additional technologies to make programs more accessible to all audiences. The enhanced theater will serve as a gathering space for debate, dialogue, and discovery about history, art, and cultures. It will also enable the Autry to expand its presentation of performing and visual arts, from Native dance performances and music to theatre and independent film premieres.

Resources Center

Located in Burbank, the Autry’s new collections-care, research, and education center will be home to the combined collections of the Autry and the historic Southwest Museum of the American Indian, numbering more than 600,000 objects, artworks, and cultural materials. Access to all its collections under one roof creates opportunities for advancing research, exhibition development, publications, and cultural investigations by curators, scholars, graduate students, journalists, archaeologists, and others. For Native American community members, access to collections items will support repatriation and the documentation of histories, languages, traditions, and cultural practices. Perhaps best described as the "hub" or "heart" of the Autry, the Resources Center will make art, artifacts, and archival materials available for exhibitions presented by the Autry and cultural partners at multiple locations—vastly increasing public access to the expansive collections and informing thinking about the past, present, and future of our region.

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:
Tuesday–Friday, 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.