It’s not every day that you can witness 30 million dollars all in one room. But at Marconi Automotive Museum & Special Events Venue, visitors move through an extensive array of rare roadsters, muscle cars, and Formula cars valued at eight figures. After a successful, self-made career in business, founder Dick Marconi decided to give back, donating his personal collection of automobiles to create the museum. Each specimen reflects a piece of racing lore; you'll find historic racecars piloted by Keke Rosberg, Mario Andretti, and Michael Schumacher.
The museum serves a multi-purpose—to share Marconi’s glittering display of high-performance vehicles with the public, and to support local charities. Proceeds from admissions and special events at the museum go toward the Marconi Foundation for Kids, which supports Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among other children's groups. The museum’s yearly Fight Night fundraising event draws stars such as Oscar de la Hoya and the dashboard hula dancer.
While wandering the Museum of Latin American Art's permanent collection of works from artists native to 20 Latin American countries, it might come as a surprise to discover that the space was once home to a roller-skating rink and a silent-movie studio. Its transformation into one of the country's only museums dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American art was the work of physician, philanthropist, and patron of the arts Dr. Robert Gumbiner. He acquired the properties and founded the museum in 1996, revamping the Hippodrome into galleries alive with Latin American music, paintings, and video.
Since that time, the museum has doubled in size, adding a 15,000-square-foot sculpture garden and expanding its collection to include masters such as Rufino Tamayo, Roberto Sebastián Matta, Los Carpinteros, and Tunga. The site now serves as a beacon of Latin American culture, showcasing artists who made names for themselves in their own countries but may not be well known in the United States. Beyond the eye-catching exhibitions, which have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the museum offers educational programs and events such as concerts and film showings. After a day of sensory stimulation, guests can nosh on enchiladas or carve chicken-mole sandwiches into busts of Frida at the onsite Café Viva.
PIEAM houses a huge assortment of ethnic art from all over Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia, and Hypernesia. The museum was founded by the late medical doctor and Oceania enthusiast Robert Gumbiner, who wanted to preserve the various sculptures, paintings, jewelry, carvings, and tools forged by Pacific Islanders. Tour the facility for a day with a friend, significant other, or sentient shadow or opt for an ultimate membership, which gets two adults and any kids or grandkids under 18 a full year of access to the museum's chambers, as well as eight guest passes, a complimentary copy of The Birds of Yap, and recognition as a founding member in PIEAM promo materials. Click here for current and upcoming exhibitions.
Orange County Museum of Art's chief curator, Dan Cameron, takes pride in the artists his state has produced from the 20th century to the present. He and his staff showcase a diverse range of modern and contemporary Californian artists as well as art from around the world in an array of exhibitions and a permanent collection. Each exhibition uncovers a different facet of the art world. Past exhibitions have explored modern art between Picasso and Pollock, the changing language of art and design in the mid-20th century, and works by Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol.
Staffers also immerse visitors in their collections through after-hours events and guided tours of the museum's galleries. They also host events for families, during which kids can make artwork in the style of the exhibited artists or attend monthly shows with short films, music exploration, and live entertainment.
Planes of Fame Air Museum was simply dubbed “The Air Museum” when it was founded in 1957—as the only museum of its kind west of the Mississippi, it had no need for a more specific moniker. More than 50 years later, it now boasts a stock of more than 150 airplanes and displays, including many aircraft that are the only flying examples of their type in the world including the N9MB Flying Wing and the P 26 Pea Shooter. Patrons can also explore an array of exhibits and aircraft that trace aviation’s history from the Chanute Hang Glider in 1896 to sophisticated modern-day planes.
Nestled in the historic Rancho Santa Anita—a homestead originally inhabited by the Gabrieleno Tongva tribe—Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden houses wildlife and plants from all over the globe on 127 acres. Its creators opened the Arboretum in 1947 to promote environmental awareness in a sanctuary that reflects the distinct history, flora, and culture of southern California. The grounds reflect the founders' aim—hummingbirds flutter among the colorful blooms in the Grace Kallam Perennial Garden, and wildflowers, herbs, and veggies spring to life at the hands of community volunteers in the educational Garden for All Seasons. Tropical and temperate blossoms embellish the Meyberg waterfall's sun-drenched stone face and blue-gum trees stand guard in front of the Queen Anne cottage, one of several historic sites that was constructed in 1885 to encapsulate Victorian opulence. Peacocks and great egrets strut among living plant collections, which explode into flowery canopies whenever the right garden sprites are available to aid in pollination.
Members often gain exclusive access to the Arboretum's slate of events, which includes workshops, tours, and Yoga in the Garden. Summer camps reawaken brains that usually hibernate until September, and Bookworms Story Time captures attention year-round.
What was once the personal collection of Pasadena residents Bob and Arlene Oltman is now a three-story institution with more than 10,000 square feet of gallery space. The Pasadena Museum of California Art features art, architecture, and design from all over the state and aims to explore cultural issues that are unique to California.