The Autry Files

April 3, 2020

Aloha Friday: The Wild West Meets the Spirit of Aloha

Aloha Friday / Collections / Exhibitions

By Amanda K. Wixon, Curatorial Intern

Aloha shirts have always been part of my wardrobe. When I visited family in Hawai’i, I wore the colorful dresses and shirts that my grandmother made for me or the ones that were handed down to me from my older cousins. Later, I frequently wore aloha shirts to school, and it became a sort of signature look for me. I would scour thrift stores in Santa Barbara, looking for the most unique and odd shirts I could find. As a teenager growing up in California, the 1990s included a slew of punk rock shows – in garages, in backyards, on the streets, and... Read more

April 1, 2020

The Autry Donates Personal Protection Equipment to Area Hospitals

Collections / Community

In recent weeks, we have all been hearing about a shortage in many US hospitals of the personal protection equipment needed to protect healthcare workers as they care for sick patients. Museum staff, compelled by these stories, rallied to donate surplus supplies already on hand to hospitals in need. I’m pleased to share that, to date, the Autry has donated almost 200 N95 masks and 13,000 pairs of gloves to three area hospitals. While a modest gesture, we wanted to do anything we could for the community at large. Read more

April 1, 2020

Is This a Western? Episode 1: The Challenge

Is this a Western?

If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you’re a curator of Western history, popular culture, and firearms at the Autry, everything looks like a Western. Playing on his recent book, What Is a Western? Region, Genre, Imagination and the museum’s wide-ranging film series, Autry curator Josh Garrett-Davis can take any film, song, book, or pop culture reference and explain how it loosely relates to the mythology of the American West. We invite you to... Read more

March 30, 2020

Aloha Fridays

Aloha Friday / Collections / Exhibitions

By: Carolyn Brucken, Chief Curator


Over the past few days people around the world have been sheltering at home, working remotely, and cancelling travel plans. For me, this has meant that work on the Autry’s upcoming exhibition Dress Codes has shifted to a make-shift office space surrounded by cats where the dress code is definitely more... Read more

March 27, 2020

Sky King, Penny, and Nada Surf


For many, this familiar opening to the 1950s television series also meant sharing the adventures of Penny, the teenage niece of Uncle Sky (Grant Kirby), title character in the television series. Actress Gloria Winters-Vernon, who played Penny, passed away on August 14, 2010. She was a generous friend to the Autry National Center who donated many items from her television, film and personal appearance career including photographs, costume, scripts, and publicity materials from “Sky King.” Read more

August 7, 2019

Indian War Photographs


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

Those browsing the Autry’s Collections online will sometimes come across a “binder” icon on the upper-right-hand corner of the page. This icon is reserved for certain items in the archives and manuscripts collections that one might want to browse, page-by-page, in high resolution. Clicking on the binder icon will open a new window. This not only makes the documents easier to read, it also draws attention to the physicality of... Read more

July 15, 2019

Jean Bruce Scott and Randy Reinholz Reflect on 25 Years of Native Voices

Now celebrating 25 years as a theatre company—20 of them at the Autry— Native Voices is devoted to developing and producing new works for the stage by Native American, Alaska Native, and First Nations playwrights. Native Voices’ co-founders Jean Bruce Scott and Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) are known across the country for their tireless passion and advocacy for Native theatre. Their passion abides, but they have decided that it is time to recruit and guide the next generation of Native Voices leadership.... Read more

April 30, 2019

The Autry's Rube Goldberg Device

The Autry recently added a Rube Goldberg Machine to the Investigating Griffith Park exhibition. Co-Curator Carolyn Brucken sat down with Landon Jones, a museum Preparator and the builder of the Rube Goldberg machine, to ask a few questions:

What is a Rube Goldberg Machine anyway?

Reuben Garrett Luscious Goldberg (1883-1970) was a satirical cartoonist who became famous for his drawings of humorously impractical mechanisms, published nationally in The New York Evening Mail... Read more

January 3, 2019

In Memory of a Friend, Dr. Loren G. Lipson


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

This September the Autry Museum unveiled a new exhibition, Grounded: Contemporary Ceramics, Gifts of Dr. Loren G. Lipson . The display, like the man who donated these and many other works of art in the Autry collections, is a vibrant, colorful, and powerful presence, one that speaks to the dynamic nature of contemporary art. Sadly and unexpectedly, a month after the opening, the Autry Museum also... Read more

Charles Lummis
August 1, 2018

Linking the Lummis Family

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

Charles Fletcher Lummis (1859 – 1928) has an almost mythical role within the history of early Los Angeles – somehow both shaping the city’s cultural landscape and remaining a largely underground figure within it. Most accounts of his life begin when he was twenty five with a transcontinental 143-day-long walk from Cincinnati to L.A. narrated through his weekly dispatches to the Los Angeles Times. Upon arrival, Lummis took up the job as editor of the paper and by the turn of the century he had... Read more