Autry Museum Collection celebrating Latinx Heritage Month

Naila Salguero, Staff Writer


Cerritos College hosted a presentation about the history of the Autry Museum Collection in celebration of Latinx Heritage Month on Oct 22.

This presentation of the museum is to represent the culture, art and history of the American West. With more than 600,000 pieces, artworks and archival materials, the Autry has a diverse collection that reflects the culture of the American West.

The museum showcases paintings, film memorabilia and cultural materials. The Autry Museum is located in Griffith Park right in front of the Los Angeles Zoo.

This museum has a long history which started about 31 years ago by Gene Autry.

Presenter Diana Terrazas has worked in the museum field for a decade in various roles from museum education, program developments and communications. She is currently the community outreach manager at the Autry Museum of the American West.

Terrazas talked about how Autry had a love for the west, the ideas, myths and the hearth-ship, made him decide to open his own museum, with the help of American film star Monte Hale.

She said, “In 2002, that institution merged with what is the Southwest Museum of the American Indian and the Women of the West which is now what is the Autry Museum.”

Southwest Museum was the first museum in Los Angeles, which is located in Highland Park.

Its founder, Charles Fletcher Lummis, was the first editor of the Los Angeles Times. He was a writer, poet, thinker and had a love for Southwest and started this museum which is now the second-largest exhibition.

Terrazas explains, “That in itself breathes what Autry exhibitions has its programs, stories we choose to tell and education opportunities.”

Her mission is to bring together other stories of all people from the American west connecting the past and present.

The Autry Museum also offers exhibitions, public programs and educational opportunities, with programs that offer K-12 tours and a team of volunteers and research.

There are currently two exhibitions one solo exhibition from renowned artist Harry Fonseca called “Coyote Leaves the Res: The Art of Harry Fonseca” now through January 5, 2020.

This exhibition features Fonseca’s paintings and sketches.

Both shows represent the Autry’s essential exploration of contemporary art from Native America.

To Terrazasm, this museum showcases and amplifies Native voices and indigenous voices. Culture and working with Native individuals to tell that story to their community is also important to her.

Terrazas encourages people to intern at The Autry Museum for a paid internship and ends with a motivational ending, “education is your foundation.”