To: Councilmember José Huizar
Fr: John Gray, President
Re: The Autry’s Vision for the Southwest Museum and Casa de Adobe
On behalf of the Autry National Center I want to thank you for your leadership as we
move forward in saving the Southwest Museum and its world class collection. The Autry
has a strong vision for the future, and look forward to working with you and the
Northeast Los Angeles community to realize our mutual goals.
In summary, we share the following commitments for the future of the Southwest
Museum and the Casa de Adobe:
Expand and maintain the storage and public display of the Southwest Museum’s collections
in Mt. Washington
• Using Southwest collections, present the depth and breadth of the Southwest’s
collection with rotating exhibitions in the Sprague and Van Nuys Galleries.
When possible, host traveling exhibitions relating to the multiple cultures of the
• Refurbish the Plains and California Halls as public space. This will allow for
more diverse educational, cultural, community and museum activities.
• Continue to store the portions of the collection that may be appropriately
maintained at the Southwest Museum, such as archaeology and anthropology, and
make them available to scholars, and by appointment, to the broader public.
• Beginning with the reopening of the Southwest Museum, establish regular public
hours for the Museum’s public spaces, consistent with museum standards for
operations, by promoting the exhibitions and programs to a broad Los Angeles
• Maintain American Association of Museums accreditation for the Southwest
• Make available for public review at the Southwest Museum and on-line a
photographic inventory of the Southwest collection.
Preserve and protect the Southwest Collection of priceless artifacts
• Save the Southwest collections from substandard conditions and deterioration.
• Store the collection in museum-standard storage.
• Clean, repair and catalog, including barcoding, the more than 250,000 artifacts
that comprise the Southwest Museum collection.
• Make collections accessible to Native communities and the general public and
audiences throughout the world by putting artifact records and images on a
Collections On-Line website.
Preserve, rehabilitate and maintain the original historic Southwest Museum
building and the Casa de Adobe
• Create a phased plan to systematically maintain and improve the Southwest
Museum and Casa de Adobe over the next decade.
NOTE: The Autry has already invested more than $5 million to save the
collection and stabilize the Southwest Museum and Casa de Adobe, and is
committed to the project’s completion.
• As plans are finalized, publicly disseminate information about the rehabilitation.
• Conduct major repairs to the Southwest Museum and Casa de Adobe.
• Re-install the dioramas after the completion of the water proofing and the new
delivery system of lighting to the tunnel.
• Stabilize the underlying structure that joins the Caracol Tower to the main
• Upgrade mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems.
• Conduct earthquake retrofitting, perform critical water mitigation work, and
repair damages to Casa de Adobe kitchen and historic stove.
• Continue the water proofing and building improvements of the exterior of the
building, such as the current Caracol Tower renovation that is taking place today.
• Create a campus that is handicapped accessible, by bringing the elevator to the
second story of the Southwest Museum building, and upgrading the bathroom
• Improve the watering system, and stabilize the Hopi trail in the Ethno botanic
Expand the educational and programming activities of the Southwest Museum and
Casa de Adobe
• Continue the Arroyo Seco Museum Science Magnet program for junior docents at
the Casa de Adobe and then expand it to the Southwest Museum once refurbished.
• Establish appropriate educational programs for elementary schools students,
including fourth graders, with emphasis on early California History and Native
Keep community members and stakeholders well-informed on plans and
programming at the Southwest Museum and Casa de Adobe
• Provide monthly updates to the community on the rehabilitation of the Southwest
Museum and Casa de Adobe through the SWMFuture.org site and corresponding
• Continue attending community meetings and presenting new information about
the rehabilitation of the Southwest building and preservation of the collection.
• Continue to include in the Autry’s published materials all programming at the
Southwest Museum and Casa de Adobe, such as What’s Next and Convergence
Autry National Center fundraising for Southwest Museum and Casa de Adobe
The Autry’s multi-million dollar fundraising to date includes:
• Raised over $3 million from major foundations to support conservation and longterm
care of collections.
• Raised over $450,000 from the federal government for conservation of the
collections through the Save America’s Treasures grant. This was the highest
grant amount given that year by this program.
• Raised over $500,000 from the federal government for the Southwest’s electronic
catalogue, through grants from National Endowment for the Humanities and
Institute of Museum and Library Services.
• Raised $300,000 for the Southwest’s electronic catalogue.
• Raised a grant of $936,000 from the California Cultural and Historical
Endowment to waterproof buildings.
• Raised over $1 million in FEMA funds in 1994 for stabilization of the
Southwest’s buildings; funds were in peril of being lost as no work had been
conducted prior to merger.
• Raised funds from the National Park Services to assist in creation of Historic
Structures Report for Casa de Adobe.
• Raising $160,000 from CCHE to create greater ADA accessibility through
extension of the museum’s only elevator. (Pending)
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