The Southwest Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of the American West, and the Institute for the Study of the American West all joined together in holy matrimony to share their common interests in the American West. The result is the Autry National Center of the American West. The Autry National Center is located at Griffith park next to the L.A. Zoo. The museum features the American West, which should conjure up images of cowpokes, gunslingers, and hero’s riding away in the sunset.
The Museum contains a floating exhibit “The Art of Native American Basketry: A Living Tradition” (until May 6th 2012). During our visit a large collection of Western Artwork was also on display as part of the “Masters of the American West” show. The art collection is no longer on display (as of March 20th 2011), so be sure to check their website for the latest exhibits. Permanent museum fixtures include depictions of the life of early western settlers, the story of the Chinese and their involvement in California, a replica of a famous gunfight, seeing a (stuffed) buffalo, walking through an old western set, a collection of Colt firearms, a replica of an western saloon (minus the alcoholic beverages), small exhibits on Butch Cassidy and Jesse James, and Hollywood relics (including the New York Mets hat that Billy Crystal wore in the movie City Slickers). You also have the opportunity to ride on a saddle (if you aren’t too embarrassed) or get your picture taken behind bars (an opportunity you have probably waited a long time for).
Parking is free and easy. The L.A. Zoo is an obvious next stop for your day (especially if you have kids). We opted out of that in favor of the Old Abandoned L.A. Zoo, which is just a short drive away (featured here).
Admission: $10 (with discounts for those under 12, over 60, students, active military personnel, or veterans). Admission is free on the second Tuesday of the month.
Address: 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462