Los Angeles 411: Peterson Automotive Museum, Los Angeles
When one typically thinks of an automotive museum, one is probably inclined to think of classic cars on display for a select group of car enthusiasts. But at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, all ages have been considered when assembling its exhibits and activity centers across its vast 300,000 sq. ft. facility. In fact, the museum hosts its own Education Department, which holds as its mission: “to serve a wide range of audiences through varied, interdisciplinary educational programs, integrating the study of history, art, culture, science and technology to appeal to all ages, backgrounds, and interests.” As children are central to the museum's focus, it offers many special programs designed just for kids.
On the the third floor of the museum is where families will find the museum's Discovery Center, a 6,500 square-foot, interactive “hands-on” learning center that teaches children basic scientific principles by explaining basic functions of a car. In addition, the museum offers an extensive curriculum available to teachers designed to complement California standards across disciplines. When schools schedule tours at the museum, they will be exposed to lessons in the visual arts and history-social studies in addition to science appropriate for most grade levels.
On the first Saturday of each month between 1 and 4 p.m., the Discovery Center also offers monthly arts & crafts activities. And at 2:00 p.m., actors from LABookPALS will come and read stories. BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), is a unique literacy program through the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. For Title 1 schools that may not have bus transportation funds, Peterson Automotive Museum offers a Free School Bus Program; selected applicant schools will benefit from free transportation for a school to visit the museum.
In addition to the third floor's child-friendly format, the remainder of the museum offers educational exhibits for all ages. When you visit the museum you will find four floors, each with its own theme. On the first floor, you will find dioramas you can walk through depicting the history of the automobile in early Los Angeles settings. The second floor exhibits showcase automobiles, including race cars, concept cars, celebrity cars and more in rotating galleries. The forth floor's penthouse, is encased in all glass walls and reserved for special events. To keep the exhibits at the museum fresh and interesting, the museum only showcases half of its 300+ car inventory on display at any one time.
Open year-round, Peterson Automotive's hours are: Tuesday through Sunday 10am to 6pm. The Discovery Center hours are Tuesday through Friday 10am to 4pm and Weekends 10am to 5pm. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children; kids under 3 are free. Peterson Automotive Museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036. For more information, please call: (323) 964-6373.