Petersen Museum: A history of cars

The Petersen Museum in Los Angeles
The Petersen Museum in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is famous for many museums, including LACMA, MOCA, and the Getty. But did you know that one of the great automotive museums is here? You can explore 100 years of the automobile, and its impact on our culture, at the Petersen Museum in Hollywood.

Located just down the street from the famous Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and close to The Grove and Farmers Market, the Petersen Museum is an easy add to an itinerary that includes these sights. Children will delight in seeing vintage cars up close, and parents will marvel at the curated exhibits.

Southern California, and specifically Los Angeles, is known for its car culture. L.A. invokes images of riding in a convertible, top down, along Mulholland Drive. Or perhaps the image of James Dean in his Porsche, cruising around Hollywood, comes to mind. Or Gidget, in her surfmobile, checking out the waves in Malibu. These cars, or those like them, are here to see in person. Famous movie cars are on display, like Herbie the VW Beetle, or The Green Hornet car from the TV show, or the taxi cab from the show Seinfeld (they used the same cab in over 30 episodes).

Cars owned by Elvis Presley, Clark Gable, Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford and Jack Benny are here. A motorcycle that once belonged to Steve McQueen is here. There's Hollywood history here, as well as car history -- in short, something for everyone.

The museum is huge, encompassing four floors, and houses over 150 classic cars, motorcycles and trucks. The third floor features the May Family Children's Discovery Center, an interactive exhibit for children to learn science through the workings of a car. A variety of tours are offered, and the museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Monday.

  • Petersen Museum: 6060 Wilshire Boulevard; (323) 930-2277
  • Admission price: Adults, $10; Seniors (+62), Students (with ID) and Military (with ID), $5, Children (ages 5-12), $3; Kids under 5, free

- Lesley Bracker

[Photo Credit: Flickr/ BiERLOS]

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