LA Museums are Opening

A guide to some of your favorite cultural institutions and their reopening schedules

Petersen Automotive Museum
Petersen Automotive Museum

After more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic forced Los Angeles County museums to temporarily shut their doors, our local institutions are ready for their comeback. However, visiting a museum will not be exactly as it was prior to the shutdown. All re-openings are taking place with new health and safety guidelines. It's a good idea to read through these guidelines when you plan your visit.


Note that some museums will be operating at a shorter schedule right now and that some exhibits might not currently be available to the public. However, many also have new shows making their debut with the re-openings. Some have also extended the runs of exhibitions that were closed due to the pandemic or opened virtually in 2020.


Since museums are re-opening with a limited capacity, even those that don't charge admission have timed-entry tickets available online. In many cases, these are required. At museums where advance tickets are recommended, you should take advantage of it, just in case they're sold out at the door.

California African American Museum

California African American Museum

California African American Museum in Exposition Park reopened on March 27 with five exhibitions on view. "Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh nor Fowl," which opened just before the COVID-19 pandemic, remains on view until May 2. Opening on March 27 are "Nikita Gale: Private Dancer," "Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.," "Enunciated Life," and "Sanctuary: Recent Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection." While CAAM admission is free, you will need to make reservations prior to your visit. See the museum's website for more information.

California Science Center exterior

California Science Center

California Science Center and the museum's IMAX theater reopened on March 27. Amongst the exhibitions on view are Nathan Sawaya's LEGO-centric "The Art of the Brick," as well as the Space Shuttle Endeavour and Kelp Forest. In the coming months, the Science Center will bring new exhibitions to its audience. These include "Covid-19: All in This Together" and "Life! Beginnings." Advanced tickets are recommended, due to the reduced capacity at the Science Center. Check the museum's website for more information.


Main image for guide_item titled


ESMoA in El Segundo reopened on March 26. It's current experience, "Freestate," which debuted last October and remains on view until September 18, will take place both inside and outside the museum. With its reopening, ESMoA's hours will be temporarily limited to Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but advanced timed tickets are required.

Petersen Automotive Museum

Petersen Automotive Museum is offering free admission to health care workers, fire department, law enforcement and other first responders, as well as three family members, for 2021. If you work in one of these fields, you'll need to reserve tickets through the museum's first responder page and show proof of your occupation, such as an employee ID. The museum reopened on March 25, although interactive exhibitions, like the Pixar Discovery Center, and photo ops will remain closed for the time being. Visitors will need to purchase tickets in advance of their visit. Find first responder tickets Here. Find safety guidelines Here.



Website Image


LACMA has reopened with six new exhibitions. "Yoshitomo Nara," a retrospective of the popular Japanese artist that had been scheduled to open last year, will be on view through July 5. Also now open are "Bill Viola: Slowly Turning Narrative," "Cauleen Smith: Give It or Leave It," Not I: Throwing Voices (1500 BCE-2020 CE)," "Vera Lutter: Museum in the Camera" and "View From Here: Recent Acquisitions." Meanwhile, "Do Ho Suh: 348 West 22nd Street" and "Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific," which opened last year, have extended their runs until May. Capacity at LACMA will be limited and advance tickets are required. See the museum's website for more information.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Although guests have had the chance to view select outdoor exhibitions in person at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (like the Butterfly Pavilion and Spider Pavilion), that hasn't been the case for its indoor sights. You'll now have the chance to check out "Rise Up L.A.: A Century of Votes for Women," which opened last year, but was only on view digitally. The museum will also introduce audiences to "Spiky, Hairy Shiny: Insects of L.A.," an exhibition of insect macrographs from their Biodiversity Science: City and Nature.

To start, NHMLA will be open Thursdays through Saturdays at reduced capacity. Guests should purchase timed tickets online, in advance of their visit. Some exhibits, like the Gem Vault, will still be closed when the museum reopens. NHMLA is continuing online programing at this time, including their First Fridays events. Check NHMLA's website for all safety guidelines. Tickets go on sale on March 25. As of April 8, admission for L.A. County residents will be free between 3 and 5 p.m. with advanced reservations.

Autry Museum of the American West

With The Autry's reopening comes three exhibitions. "When I Remember I See Red: American Indian Art and Activism in California" includes 70 works from 40 Native artists made over the course of five decades and will run through November 15. "What's Her Story: Women in the Archives," which will be on view through August 28, brings together the stories of women through journals, letters and photos. The annual "Masters of the American West Art Exhibition and Sale" will be open through April 11. Also on view will be the ongoing "Art of the West" exhibition. The museum's downstairs galleries and its Ethnobotanical Garden are anticipated to open by April 20. See The Autry's website for more information on planning your visit.

La Brea Tar Pits 1

La Brea Tar Pits

La Brea Tar Pits tickets are now on sale. Timed tickets, which you can purchase online, should be obtained in advance to your visit, as the Tar Pits will be opening at a reduced capacity and may not be available at the door. Like its sister museum NHMLA, La Brea Tar Pits is gradually reopening to the public and will be open from Thursdays through Sundays at present. As of April 15, admission for L.A. County residents will be free from 3 to 5 p.m. with advanced reservations.


Japanese American National Museum

The Japanese American National Museum is open on weekends as of April 16. While admission will be free, you do need to reserve tickets in advance of your visit. As of the reopening, hours will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays through Sundays, with the last entry time scheduled for 4 p.m. Inside the museum, JANM's permanent exhibition, "Common Ground: The Heart of Community" will be open, as well as the shows "Under a Mushroom Cloud: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Atomic Bomb" and two collections from artist Taiji Terasaki: "Transcendients: Heroes at Boarders" and "Transcendients: 100 Days of COVID-19 and Memorial to Healthcare Workers."

Hammer Museum 1

Hammer Museum

Although the museum is free, you will need to make an advanced reservation to visit and museum members have the first chance to do that. The reopening coincides with the launch of "Made in L.A. 2020: a version." The exhibition includes 30 L.A.-based artists and is presented jointly with The Huntington. Visitors at the Hammer will receive free passes to check out The Huntington's half of this exhibition. See Hammer Museum's website for more information on visiting.

Huntington Library

The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens

Reopening of the galleries at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens begins on April 17. At that time, visitors will be able to take in a view of Thomas Gainsborough's 18th century masterpiece "The Blue Boy," which has been recently restored. The Huntington will also debut its portion of "Made in L.A. 2020: A Version," a collaboration with The Hammer, which will be on view through August 1. As of April 17, the first floor of the Huntington Art Gallery, the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery and part of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, will be open to the public. Tickets must be reserved online prior to your visit to the Huntington. See the museum's website for more information on planning your visit.


Craft Contemporary: May 9

Craft Contemporary reveals the potential of craft to educate, captivate, provoke, and empower. With a focus on contemporary art made from craft media and processes, Craft Contemporary presents dynamic exhibitions by established and emerging artists and designers who are often underrepresented in larger art institutions. Craft Contemporary complements these exhibitions with a creative line-up of educational programs, including hands-on workshops led by professional artists. Craft Contemporary cultivates an environment for people in Los Angeles to deepen their relationship to art, creativity, and one another.

Grammy Museum : May 21

On Friday, May 21, downtown Los Angeles' Grammy Museum will reopen with three new exhibitions. "Dave Matthews Band: Inside and Out" will be on view through this fall. "Y Para Siempre," spotlighting five-time Latin Grammy winner Marco Antonio Solís, will also open at this time and is slated to run through next spring. Rounding out the trio of new exhibitions os "Motown: The Sound of Young America." Meanwhile, "This Is Nat King Cole" remains on view through this fall. The Grammy Museum will be opened at a limited capacity and with social distancing protocols. First responders, healthcare workers and essential workers can visit for free through June of 2021.