Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Asking Autry to Make Promise to Open Southwest Museum Official

Last week I asked a City Board considering an expansion project for the Autry Museum’s Griffith Park location to attach to the project’s lease a legally binding agreement to reopen the Southwest Museum in Mt. Washington. The Autry bought the Southwest Museum in 2003, along with its collection of 250,000 mostly Native American artifacts. They’ve instituted a number of upgrades at the Southwest Museum, including $7.5 million in improvements. In 2007, The Autry sent me an agreement memo, laying out their intentions to restore and reopen the museum in Mt. Washington, which is the City’s oldest. After working together with the Southwest Society, which was formed to monitor the Autry’s progress with the Southwest Museum, I decided to ask members of the Board of Referred Powers, chaired by Councilmember Janice Hahn, to require the Autry to make that agreement a legally binding document. The board, consisting of Councilmembers Hahn, Reyes, Cardenas, Rosendahl and Parks, voted unanimously to support my action, while giving the Autry and me a month to work out an agreement.