Los Angeles City Council takes control of Autry's renovation

The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday put the brakes on a planned $6.6 million "major renovation" of the Autry Museum in Griffith Park.

The city council responded to a vote by the Parks and Recreation Commission to approve the renovation. That vote sparked a storm of protests from people concerned about the Autry’s changes on the Southwest Museum.

Eight years ago, The Autry National Center and Southwest merged. The Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition worry the renovation at the Autry in Griffith Park diverts resources from plans to reopen the Southwest in Mount Washington, which closed for repairs two years ago.

The Southwest Museum’s collection of American Indian, pre-Hispanic and Spanish colonial is one of the biggest in the world. The museum has had various financial difficulties after the Northridge Earthquake damaged it in 1994.

Autry officials say reopening it remains a priority, but they’ll need to now convince the L.A. City Council of that to win approval for its own plans to revamp its facilities.

Those plans are made possible by a grant from the California State Parks’ Nature Education Facilities
Program.

"This grant will provide the funding for a major renovation and reinstallation of firstfloor galleries and outdoor areas into interactive exhibitions and public spaces housed within the existing museum footprint," a statement from the museum said.

"The renovation will highlight the history and culture of Native peoples and include two dedicated California Indian galleries and an indigenous teaching garden with bioregions and interpretive centers. The new spaces are designed to educate students and visitors alike," it said.

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