TODAY: Southwest Museum Lobby to Reopen For Limited Hours

Visitors will be able to view some collection items and view restoration work.

The , which ceased public exhibitions in 2009, will resume limited hours on Saturday, May 19.

According to Yadhira De Leon, spokesperson for the Autry National Center, which operates the Southwest Museum, the museum's lobby will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday's starting on May 19.

De Leon said there would be some small pieces of the collection on display, but asked that visitors tamper expectations for any major exhibits.

"We don't want to make a big deal out of it, we don't want to raise expectations," she said. "We're just making the lobby accessible so people can walk into the building and see some highlights of collection."

De Leon said that visitors will also be able to see conservation work going on inside the museum's galleries through the lobby's glass doors, as well.

Visitors will also be able the access the grounds and gardens at the Southwest Museum, De Leon said. The Braun Research Library will remain open by appointment only.

De Leon said that the Autry will also be offering guided tours of the going on inside Southwest Museum in the near future. As more phases of the conservation effort are completed, De Leon said more rooms in the museum would be opened to the public.

"We just want to make it accessible so people can go back up there," De Leon said. "As soon as we can wrap up conservation effort, we can open up more spaces."

The Autry National Center merged with the financially struggling Southwest Museum of the American Indian in 2002, in an agreement that community members hoped would lead to a revival of the historical location. However, the Autry has claimed that Southwest Museum building is in need of $21 million worth of repairs, and is not a viable location to display the vast collection currently housed there.


The Los Angeles Times reports that the restoration of the collection should continue until at least 2014.

From the Times:

"It's been monumental, just the quantity," LaLena Lewark, director of collections and conservation at the Autry, says of the $9-million project, funded by grants and private sources. And she expects the labor to continue through 2013, possibly into 2014.

The times also reports that behind the scenes tours will begin soon, with the first one to be held on June 9 from 1-3 p.m. A reservation is required.

Hooper Humperdink May 01, 2012 at 03:52 PM
In a follow-up call, museu officials explained that although they now house a 4-star rated kitchen within the museum, guests will not be allowed to order or eat food. They will, however, be allowed to stand next to the grease vents adjacent the exterior of the kitchen to get an idea of what is cooking up inside. Prices for "admission" to this new museum program start at the campaign costs for winning both the 1st and 14th council district seats, and go up from there.
Hooper Humperdink May 01, 2012 at 03:56 PM
The real question here is: how close can we get to the glass barriers? Oh, and one more: do we get a refund if we show up in the lobby and there is no conservation work being done? What does conservation work look like, anyway? Ah! I have another one: how do we get to the museum from the train station parked in front of it? Are any other soon-to-closed museums working on this new multi-million dollar strategy?
mamacita May 01, 2012 at 06:05 PM
How do you get to the museum? We can't eat any food? Oh my God what will we do?! How bout walking up or you can give bike rides up the hill. There is a parking lot for people with cars! Maybe they should make a bike lane up the hill! And some taco trucks too. We should be glad that the first museum in Los Angeles is taking steps to reopen! Go ride a bike.
Rob Schraff May 02, 2012 at 01:57 PM
While even a broken clock is right twice each day, you may want to consider that one of the lead players in both the "Friends" of the Southwest Museum and one of only two groups supporting Dan Wright's self-serving lawsuit, the Mt. Washington Homeowner's Alliance, is none other than your friend Louis Mraz - as has been documented here on Patch. By the way, the conservation work is truly fascinating, if you care about such things, and well worth going to the "behind the glass walls" tour.


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