Autry Museum of the American West

The Autry Museum of the American West is a museum that has a mission to tell the story of the American West. The museum first opened in 1988 and has a huge number of exhibits and events that aim to promote this history. These include lectures, film festivals, and even musical recitals. There are also art pieces at the museum in a dedicated gallery named Art of the West. Discover the art, history, and cultures of the American West! Located in beautiful Griffith Park, the Autry features world-class galleries filled with Native American art and cultural materials, film memorabilia, historic firearms, paintings, interactive areas, and more.

Throughout the year, the Autry also presents a wide range of public events and programs—including lectures, film, theater, festivals, family activities, and music—and performs scholarship, research, and educational outreach. The Autry’s collection of more than 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts includes the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, one of the largest and most significant collections of Native American materials in the United States. The Autry is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation, and public accountability. AAM-accredited museums have demonstrated they meet standards and best practices and shown themselves to be core educational entities that are good stewards of the collections and resources they hold in the public trust. Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, approximately 1,075 are currently accredited. The Autry Museum of the American West—”the Autry”—brings together the stories of all peoples of the American West, connecting the past with the present to inspire our shared future. Co-founded in 1988 by Jackie and Gene Autry and Joanne and Monte Hale, the Autry has grown to encompass a broad and inclusive representation of art, artifacts, cultural materials, and library holdings. In 2002, the Autry merged with Women of the West, a nonprofit organization highlighting the impact of diverse women’s experiences on the history of the American West. In 2003, after many years of being on the verge of financial insolvency and with the collection and buildings in need of significant care and investment, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian sought a merger with the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, and a new organization was formed (now known as the Autry Museum of the American West). The Autry’s diverse collections include more than 600,000 artifacts, artworks, and archival materials that reflect the interconnectedness of cultures and histories in the American West.

The Autry currently spans three campuses in Los Angeles: the Autry Museum in Griffith Park, the Historic Southwest Museum Mt. Washington Campus, and the Resources Center of the Autry (under construction): The Autry Museum in Griffith Park, originally the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, was co-founded by Jackie and Gene Autry and Joanne and Monte Hale. With the opening of the Museum in 1988, Gene Autry realized his dream “to build a museum which would exhibit and interpret the heritage of the West and show how it influenced America and the world.” Attracting between 150,000 and 200,000 annual visitors, the Autry in Griffith Park presents a wide range of special exhibitions and public programs that explore the art, history, and cultures of the American West.

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