The story of African-Americans in California…right along Exhibition Park.
I’m African-American, and I gotta admit that African-American Museums make me nervous.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea. I want them to work. I desperately want them to work, but the fact that so many don’t leaves me a touch depressed.
Too many times have I gone into a place with the label African-American museum only to see something that looks like it was cobbled together at the last minute, with very little thought and planning to it.
Well, the good news is the California African-American Museum isn’t a total disaster. It’s not even a remote disaster or slight disaster. It’s…all right. It’s a nice big space with four or five small gallery spaces attached it. And yes, the Museum does focus its attention on African-Americans, particularly California African-Americans but between the Civil War exhibition and the remembrance on the March on Washington, it’s attention is still locked in on the wider African-American experience.
That all being said, while I don’t hate it, I didn’t love it either. I got the distinct impression that the California African-American Museum functions as much as a Community Center as well as a Museum. A place where you can see live performances every once in a while as well as Art.
You know what it reminds me of? Swear to God, it reminds me of the Hammer Museum in Westwood. Huge space, a lot of community activities, not at much Museum as you might think going in.
Yeah, it’s exactly like the Hammer Museum.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Nothing too much to worry about. First off, it’s free to get in. Hell, you’ll probably pay more for the parking than anything else. Second, no photography. Granted, it’s a pain in the ass for folks like me who depend on photographs to…I don’t know…maintain this site, but since I don’t know who holds the copyright for any of the items inside this museum, who am I to say?
PARKING: This will be the most expensive part of your trip, but at least it’s easy. Exhibition Park has a Parking Structure hugged up right against the California African-American Museum. It costs ten bucks to get in. If it’s full, there is a second lot on the other side of the Park, near the Natural History Museum. It’s the same price. It’s also a touch further away from the museum, but they’ll have spots.
You can try parking on the street, but…why? The neighborhood around Exhibition Park isn’t particularly dangerous, but you may not feel 100% safe leaving your car on the street, given the traffic and the who-knows-what parking regulations around there. Just pay the ten bucks and be done with it.
California African-American Museum
600 State Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90001
Tel: (213) 744-7432
Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am-5:00 pm