The Los Angeles area is famous the world over for all things related to the world of entertainment. With the Hollywood area establishing the film making industry in the early 1900s, much of the local area has developed around the idea of tourism. There are incredible high end shopping opportunities found on Rodeo Drive, interesting entertainment sites to be explored all over the city, and who could forget the amazing amount of quality amusement part attractions in the area, specifically anything associated with the world famous Disney name. When you couple all of these attractions with the main draw of Southern California, the beautiful sandy beaches and the Pacific Ocean, it is easy to see why the city of Los Angeles has earned its reputation as one of the go-to destinations for travelers from around the world. But, Los Angeles is much more than movie stars, beaches, and amusement parks, the city is also home to some of the best cultural and historical attractions on the West Coast.
Here are ten must-visit museums in Los Angeles, California:
Armand Hammer Museum of Art
Operated by UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture, among other things the Armand Hammer Museum of Art is home to more works by French satirist Honore Daumier than any other museum or private collection outside of Paris, France. The museum presents regular exhibitions from both contemporary and historically relevant artists for public viewing. Viewing these showings of contemporary artists is a great way to stay up on what is current in the world of art.
Chinese American Museum
Anyone interested in the history of Chinese Americans in the state of California would be well served with a visit to the Chinese American Museum located in downtown Los Angeles. The museum is home to many quality exhibits, some which are on display for only a limited amount of time. It is a very rare thing to be able to frequent a museum of this quality that is devoted to such an important and interesting group of people that have made great contributions to the entire United States.
The Drum Barracks is one of the more unique historical sites in the state of California. Located in the Wilmington section of Los Angeles, the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum is the last remaining original military facility from the American Civil War era in the entire Los Angeles area. It has been honored with being listed as a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument, a California Historic Landmark, and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learning about California during the time of the Civil War is something that should intrigue anyone with even the most minor interest in history.
Fort MacArthur Military Museum
Fort MacArthur, named after American General Arthur MacArthur Jr. (the father of General Douglas MacArthur), was built in the early part of the 1900s as a defensive fortification for the Los Angeles harbor area. The Fort MacArthur Military Museum is located on the site of the old fort and details the history of the defense of the Los Angeles area during both World War I and II, as well as the role the fort played in the cold war.
Japanese American National Museum
A fairly new museum, the Japanese American National museum opened in 1992 and is located in the Little Tokyo are of downtown Los Angeles. One of the big draws to the museum is the hours worth of home movies made by Japanese Americans from the 1920s through 1950s. A great place to get an eye opening look at the history of Japanese Americans.
Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial
In what at the time of its opening in 1930 was the largest fire station west of the mighty Mississippi River, the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial now sits ready to tell the story of the history of fire fighting in the Los Angeles area. Fire Station #27 houses some displays and artifacts from the early days of fire fighting and details the fire departments early interaction with the Hollywood movie stuios and stars. The station itself has even been used in movies too.
Los Angeles Maritime Museum
A great place for anyone with interest in shipping, transport, and waterway history, the Los Angeles Maritime Museum is home to some high quality exhibits. The museum itself is housed in what was the former Municipal Ferry Terminal Building and is home to exhibits related to commercial diving and the local fishing industry.
Museum of Tolerance
The Museum of Tolerance is devoted to studying racism and prejudice in both the United States as well as the entire world. There is a great amount of emphasis on the history of the Holocaust, including interactive activities followed by discussion groups. This is one of the more unique museums, and not just in the Los Angeles area, that a visitor can see.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
One of the oldest museums in the area, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County opened its doors in 1913. This is the largest museum in the Western United States and it isn’t surprising when those with strong interests in this area have to take more than a day to take in all that the museum has to offer. Within its inventory are more than 32 million specimens and artifacts that cover more than four billion years of history. The museum is especially proud of its high quality displays devoted to animal habitats and dinosaurs.
Petersen Automotive Museum
Located on famous Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, the Petersen Automotive Museum is home to an incredible amount of vintage automobiles. The museum was founded by Robert E. Petersen, the founder of both Hot Rod and Motor Trend magazines, and is stocked with a number of high quality examples of automobiles from nearly every phase of the industry’s history. There is a particularly interesting ground floor display that traces the history of the automobie in the Los Angeles area.
While Los Angeles will always be known first as the entertainment capital of the world, the city offers much more than that to those that are lucky enough to visit it. City leaders have long set aside buildings and memorials in a way to capture the history of the area. Many of the museums in the city of Los Angeles are not only devoted to local history and events of interest, but also worldly events and widespread areas of interest. When travelers with an interest in the cultural and historical events and information as it relates to the world or the local area visit the city of Los Angeles, there are more than enough first hand sources of quality information for them to be fully entertained and captivated by.