About The Autry Museum
The Autry Museum, also known as the Autry National Centre, explores the history and culture of the American West.
From Native American artefacts and artwork to equipment used in the famous gold rush and exhibits chronicling post-Civil War life in the region, the Autry Museum looks at a diverse range of issues and periods.
The Autry Museum history
The Autry Museum of the American West was founded in 1988 by Jackie and Gene Autry and Joanne and Monte Hale. Gene Autry was known as “America’s favourite Singing cowboy” and is the only entertainer to have five stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, one for each radio, records, film, television and live theatrical performance. Gene Autry was an iconic figure of the American West.
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. After many years of being on the verge of financial insolvency, in 2003 the Southwest Museum of the American Indian sought a merger with the Autry Museum of Western Heritage and the organisation now known as the Autry Museum of the American West was formed.
The Autry’s collections include more than 600,000 artefacts, artworks, and archival materials that reflect the interconnectedness of cultures and histories in the American West.
The Autry Museum today
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.
The museum’s mission statement is to bring together the stories of all peoples of the American West, connecting the past with the present.
Visitors can see engraved golden pistols given to Annie Oakley by her husband Frank Butler. There’s an extensive saddle display, a mail stage coach from 1855, Smith & Wesson revolvers, pioneer portraits, cowboy hats, buckskin jackets—even a saloon with a mahogany bar and roulette wheel.
The Autry celebrates the region’s contemporary artists, curating a Masts of the American West exhibition with works from over 70 Western artists each year. There is also an annual American Indian Arts Marketplace held where visitors can view and purchase paintings, sculpture, basketry, carvings and other items from roughly 200 artists and artisans representing over 40 different tribes.
Getting to The Autry Museum
The Autry Museum is located across from the LA Zoo at the junction of the I-5 and 134 freeways. There is free parking at 4700 Western Heritage Way directly in front of the museum. To travel by public transport take the Metro Local Line 96 to the Autry stop or the LA Zoo stop.