The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles


The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles

6060 Wilshire Boulevard

Los Angeles, California 90036

(323) 930-CARS

Written by Scott Messmore

Los Angeles and southern California have had a long love affair with automobile, especially hotrods, convertibles and sports cars. Very few cities in the world have been influenced so much by the impact of automobiles. Los Angeles is famous for its huge freeways and the massive traffic jams and rush hour traffic that accompanies them. The Petersen Automotive Museum is a 300,000 square-foot, three-story building with more than 150 touring cars, motorcycles, hot rods, cars owned by famous celebrities and actors and educational exhibits relating to automobile technology. The Petersen Automotive Museum was opened along Wilshire Boulevard where some of the earliest strip malls, built to accommodate automobile drivers, were built in L.A. The history of cars from the first horse and buggies to today's Indy cars is told on the museum's first floor. A 1901 streetscape is recreated with a blacksmith shop building some of the first cars in Los Angeles. A 1920s gas station, a 1932 bakery truck, a 1939 car showroom, a fabulous Fifties body shop and a 1960s family garage are included in the exhibits. The second floor of the Petersen Automotive Museum is where the car collections are shown including the Otis Chandler Motorcycle Collection and other changing exhibits. On the third floor, the May Family Children's Discovery Center to teach kids the science and technology of the age of the automobile. Professor Lugnut and Elena the Engineer lead kids through a tour of how police radar guns work, hop on a police motorcycle and drive away in automobile simulators.

Robert and Margie Petersen's Great Gift

The Petersen Automotive Museum was founded with a $5 million gift from Robert and Margie Petersen. Incredibly, in 2000, the Petersens made another donation of $25 million to pay off the museum's debt. The Petersen's charity has made the Automotive Museum one of the most well financed museums in the nation. Their contributions have made possible the art shows, educational programs and cultural events also held at the museum.

Cars and Guitars

Elvis loved his cars. Plenty of wealthy rock stars have had large collections of automobiles. Starting this summer, the Petersen Automotive Museum is showing Cars and Guitars of Rock n Roll. The exhibit details the interaction between rock stars and other musicians with their cars. Cars and Guitars opens to the public on June 15.

Hours of Operation and Location

The Petersen Automotive Museum is located in Los Angeles at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard at Fairfax. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. The Discovery Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays. Admission is: adults, $7; seniors and students, $5, children five to 12 years old, $3. Museum members and children under five years are admitted free. Guided and unguided tours are available. All tours are available in French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese. Groups of 10 or more can get a discount. For group rates, call 323-964-6346. To arrange a school tour, call 323-930-6642. For special events, call 323-964-6255.

For more information about the Petersen Automotive Museum, call 323-930-CARS.

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