Autry Museum of Western Heritage   

Colt Collectionchild on horsecowboy

 

  California Museums

 

 

The museum takes great pains to meet expectations set by Gene Autry whose goal it was "to build a museum which would exhibit and interpret the heritage of the West, and show how it influenced America and the world." Cowboys, cowgirls, native American Indians and immigrants are represented throughout the galleries and shows. 

 

The beautiful buildings offer air conditioned comfort and dramatic displays which break the mold.  Above left: The Colt Firearms Collection of significant and historical firearms is the nation's finest. An entire room is filled with hundreds of mint condition guns such as a Colt Texas Patterson Revolver, circa 1838. A jacket, Colt rifle and Custom shotgun belonging William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, a Winchester rifle, Colt revolver and holster used by Theodore Roosevelt in the West and a Smith and Wesson revolver used by Annie Oakley in her shows are a few samples of what's on display. 

 

Music and spoken dialogue are often played as you wander from floor to floor, one exhibit to the next. Graphic murals from Disney "imagineering" help bring history to life. Pictured middle: More than 40,000 area school children visit the museum each year. Hands-on Los Angeles Times Children's Discovery Gallery is the place  where children and families learn about history through games and exploration. Workshops, classes, and activities for children and school tours are offered. Arrangements can be made by calling: 323-667-0988 

 

Built largely with foundation funds, Gene Autry said, " The West has  been very kind to me over the years. I felt that I owed something." He called the museum, which covers the West  from prehistoric times to Hollywood, a gift to the world rather than a monument to himself. Among the items in the $54 million museum are an 1870s-era steam fire engine  from Nevada, guns owned by Annie Oakley and Wyatt Earp, and costumes of TV's Lone Ranger and Tonto.  

 

 

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Books, CDs, jewelry, fancy foods, socks, shirts, jackets, lights, key chains, cards, candy, toys and unique gifts are sold at Museum Store.  

 

Location: Historic Griffith Park at 4700 Western Heritage Way, across from the Los Angeles Zoo, where the 4 and 134 Freeways meet at the Gene Autry interchange.  Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday and on major holidays except Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Now open Thursday evenings until 8 PM.