Autry National Center
(formerly Autry Museum of Western Heritage)



4700 Western Heritage Way 
Los Angeles, California 
Phone: 323-667-2000 


California Museums

Los Angeles, Calif.--The Autry National Center is devoted to the history and mythology of the American West. The museum complex contains a 148,000-square-foot building with 9 galleries, a "hands on" children's wing, beautiful theater, educational center, Golden Spur restaurant and a gift shop with books, CDs, posters, clothing, jewelry and collectibles. 


Built with an initial $54-million gift from the Autry Foundation,  the museum opened in 1988 and in three short years, received accreditation from the prestigious American ON HORSEAssociation of Museums.  On display are more than 45,000 pieces of art and artifacts which include priceless treasures such as the paintings of Remington, Bierstadt, Wyeth and Moran. Art by Native American Indians, chaps, spurs and saddles, armor of Spanish conquistadors and costumes and posters from America's most beloved Western films are also featured. The Colt Firearms Collection of significant and historical firearms is the nation's finest and also probably the best of its kind, anywhere.

When you read some of his credits below, you'll quickly see how the farm boy from the Midwest managed to acquire so many treasures.


Since the 1950's, Gene Autry envisioned a museum to house his artifacts and fine art relating to the American West. He said it was his love of the rugged land stretching from the Plains and Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, and the people who built communities on it, that inspired him.  He wanted the rich and varied history of those who settled and documented the West, and those who made their lives there to be forever remembered. That's why he felt it was so important to establish a museum which would permanently display his memorabilia. 


    Orvon Gene Autry was born September 29, 1907 on a farm near Tioga, Texas. He came from humble beginnings but set the world on fire with an entertainment career lasting over 60 years. His credits included five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, nearly a hundred movies, 16 years on CBS Radio, more than 600 records that sold millions (seven gold and two platinum), nearly a hundred television shows and ownership of a recording company, a rodeo and the Anaheim Angels baseball team. 


    He touched millions with his Singing Cowboy persona, but also left a legacy with the establishment of a world class museum.  While the Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum offers a tribute to the man who once worked as a telegrapher, the Autry National Center memorializes the history of a people Autry often portrayed and sang about. He died in Studio City, California on October 2, 1998 at the age of 91.


"It has always been my intention to build a museum which would exhibit and interpret the heritage of the West, and show how it influenced America and the world," said Autry.