The two unique features that separate the Petersen Automotive Museum from other automotive museums are the Streetscape diorama, and the rotating exhibit spaces. To keep The Museum fresh, relevant, and to keep visitors coming back, it was decided from the beginning not to display the entire Museum Collection at once. In the 300,000 square feet that comprise The Petersen Automotive Museum, only about 150 vehicles are on display at any one time. The other half of the 300+ vehicle collection is in on-site storage, awaiting the chance to go on exhibition. Depending on the chosen subject, the rotating exhibits can range from 100% Petersen vehicles to 90% on loan.
A large part of The Museum's focus is to collect and preserve historic vehicles, and a great deal of importance was placed from day one on acquiring a great number of significant vehicles of all shapes, sizes, makes, models, and purposes. As the Museum's popularity grew as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit educational institution, people came to realize that it was the perfect tax deductible home for their prized possession. Our first donation was a beautifully restored 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 Cabriolet from Annapolis, Maryland. Since then, we have taken in donations from all over the world varying greatly from single vehicles, to multiple vehicle collections, rare automobile components, artwork, photographs, books, and automobilia.
Our education programs are built around the curriculum of the California educational system, making The Petersen an excellent place to take children on a field trip. Our free bus program ensures that children that come from disadvantage schools can still visit The Museum. We educate people of all ages. From monthly Discovery Days in our Discovery Center, to Teacher Salary Point Workshops, to a full complement of very knowledgeable docents who volunteer their time every day to help educate visitors, we do our best to make sure that everyone who leaves The Petersen Automotive Museum learns something.
Since its inception, the Petersen Automotive Museum has been regarded as the focus of automotive enthusiasm on the West Coast. Our participation in local, national, and even international events has allowed us to reach out to those who might otherwise not have been aware of what we have to offer. Our outreach extends to the internet and beyond.
In The Richard Varner Family Gallery Presented By Bonnier - Petersen Partner Custom Revolution gathers the most avant garde and influential custom motorcycles from independent builders around the world. These young mavericks push the creative edges…Read More »
Out of the rubble of World War II, Porsche emerged to define the priorities of a new generation of sports car enthusiasts. How did this marque become a recognizable symbol of postwar affluence and an iconic producer of luxury vehicles. The Porsche…Read More »
Legends Of Los Angeles: Southern California Race Cars And Their Builders Through a display of 11 race cars constructed in and around Los Angeles by renowned designers and engineers such as Fred Offenhauser, Harry Miller, Frank Kurtis and Max…Read More »
The first automobile race was held in France in 1895 on a 732 - mile course from Paris to Bordeaux. Like most early races, this served more as a show of endurance than speed and helped prove that the automobile was a viable alternative to other…Read More »
The Bugatti family consisted of three generations of artists driven by experimentation, ambition, and beauty. Stonemason and artisan Giovanni Bugatti was born in 1823. His son Carlo was an audacious and widely admired decorative artist. Carloâ€™s…Read More »
The Brue Meyer Family Gallery Precious Metal Discover the second iteration of Precious Metal, Precious Metal II : Sporting Silver, now on display The chemical properties of silver (Ag) give it the status of one of the most sought after metals in the…Read More »
Beginning in 1914 the State of California began to issue license plates itself, creating an entirely new and fascinating branch of automotive history. The Petersen Automotive Museum is celebrating this centennial by presenting an exhibit that traces…Read More »