It’s no secret, I’ve got a thing for museums! And in 2016 hubby, Connor & I put ourselves on quite thee self-guided tour of some of the most well-known ones in LA County (The Huntington Library, The Getty, LACMA, The Museum of Latin American Art, The Museum of National History, and The Science Center). I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, that’s what happens when an art lover (yours truly) and a history buff (hubby) gets together. It’s just a way of life for us! And it proven to be one of our favorite family-friendly ways to get out the house, escape, explore, and learn something new.
And in true Kelley fashion we started off 2017 following suit. And in record timing (before the end of the first week), we’ve hit up two more museums. But this time a bit off the beaten path. And boy are these some hidden gems. Here are two LA Museums you’ve likely never heard of, but we’ve concluded are definitely a must see:
Autry Museum of the American West
As you may have gathered from it’s name, the Autry Museum of the American West (“The Autry”) was co-founded by Gene Autry. The prominent entertainment industry radio, tv, motion picture, rodeo and live performer from 1928 – 1988. We were so excited to visit this museum because both Hubby & I love a good western!
Known as “America’s Favorite Singing Cowboy,” he is the only entertainer to have five stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame: one each for radio, records, film, television and live theatrical performance (including rodeo). In his ability to transcend media and in the sheer scope of his output, Gene Autry was unsurpassed as a popular image-maker of the American West.
Located in Griffith Park, the Autry features beautiful Native American art and artifacts, film memorabilia, historic firearms, and paintings. It’s a merger of three museums: the Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage, Women of the West (a nonprofit organization highlighting the impact of diverse women’s experiences on the history of the American West), and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian.
It’s 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts includes one of the largest and most significant collections of Native American materials in the United States. And mixed with all the film memorabilia (we even found out some interesting facts about Michael Jackson) , it’s California Countinue’d exhibit, and this fun little “green room” for you to make your own western film” there is seriously something here from everyone to enjoy!
Craft and Folk Art Museum
In contrast to the Autry, The Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) houses much less historical artifacts and art. Founded in 1965 the CAFAM is located on LA’s historic Museum row just walking distance from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It’s a contemporary museum that refreshingly exhibits current artists, with unique perspective, and that often art not represented in traditional art institutions.
CAFAM offers consistently unexpected exhibitions of compelling work that takes traditional techniques in new, often surprising directions. Exploring the leading edge of craft, art, and design..
My favorite part about this museum is that it is a place to see as well as make art. It offers hands-on workshops and opportunities for visitors try different mediums of art (like loom making). This also extends to its “I wanna buy everything” (as I like to call it) gift shop that has beautiful handmade looms, scarves, bags, pottery, and unique crafts for adult and children.
One of my favorite museums thus far!
My hope is that I have peeked your interest to visit one of these amazing museums this year. Museums are an great place to see beautiful things and find creative inspiration. And most museums have weekly free days so it can be a very inexpensive family outing. Check your local museums website for these dates and create a fun field trip day to visit then. And if you live in the LA Area here’s a special annual treat: On Sunday, January 29th (2017) over 30 museums in Southern California, including these two museums are free all day. For more info click here: http://www.socalmuseums.org/free-for-all/ .
Enjoy! And Take Care,