The Autry Files

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

Aloha Friday: A Love Story

Aloha Friday / Exhibitions

Over the past four years we have been working on Dress Codes , an exhibition that looks at clothing and street fashions that emerged from Western work, communities, traditions, and social movements and which are now adapted around the world.

The Autry’s mission is to tell the diverse stories of the American West. We support a community where all feel welcome and safe. When we started this project, we did not foresee how Aloha shirts, whose long history we explore in this... Read more

May 15, 2020

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

Collections / 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 14, 2020

Griffith Park Yarnscape 3: How to Crochet a Butterfly

DIY / Exhibitions

Have you had enough passive screen-time and want to make something with your hands, maybe learning a new skill in the process? Join us in contributing to a gallery display of Griffith Park in crochet, with the help of these how-to videos.  

As part of our exhibition Investigating Griffith Park we’re inviting the Autry community to make pieces to represent various aspects of the park, from nature to recreational activities, and mail them into the Autry (or drop them off in person once the... Read more

May 12, 2020

Is This a Western? (Episode 6): Harry Potter

Is This a Western

A fifth-grade fan asks if Harry Potter qualifies as a Western, and Josh Garrett-Davis responds. Read more

May 11, 2020

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

The Autry's Collecting Community History Initiative / Collections

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


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 11, 2020

Eadweard Muybridge: Pioneer and Innovator

As part of a long-running partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), we are co-presenting a live stream screening of Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies on May 15, accompanied by a live score composed by Kite, an Oglala Lakota performance artist specializing in experimentation in new media and digital technologies.

If you are interested in how such events are developed and the thoughts behind them, we recently posted a... Read more

May 8, 2020

Leaving a Personal Legacy in the American West

Autry Campaign / Autry Legacy / Planned Giving

By Jenny Davidson-Goldbronn, Senior Director of Development

Snowdy Dodson is a long-time Autry supporter and a welcomed presence at the museum's unique exhibition openings, cultural activities, and special events, including American Indian Arts Marketplace and Masters Art Exhibition and Sale . Her many passions intersect at the Autry, including her appreciation for... 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