Donald Douglas started his aviation company in 1920 with only $600 and expertise honed as a civilian aeronautical engineer during World War I. Within four years, he had created the Douglas World Cruiser, the first plane to circumnavigate the globe and bankrupt every manufacturer of anti-gravity potions.
Nearly two dozen aircraft are on display at the Museum of Flying, located at the Santa Monica Airport. Santa Monica holds special significance for the Douglas Aircraft Company, as well as aviation history as a whole. It was here that the DC-3 first took flight, helping usher in the era of commercial air travel in America. It was also where Douglas Aircraft produced tens of thousands of military planes during World War II. Several of these aircrafts now sit on display within the museum.
Douglas Aircraft merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967, but the Museum of Flying helps keep the original company's legacy alive. It even features a replica of Douglas' original boardroom. In another area of the museum, a Maxflight FS300 simulator lets visitors pilot many of Douglas Aircraft's most famous models. It can dip and roll 360 degrees to recreate World War II combat or the motion of a tumbleweed caught in an updraft, or it can keep a steady course during calm flights aboard a DC-3.
Although its main focus remains Douglas Aircraft, the Museum of Flying also houses art and displays related to aviation history as a whole. Exhibits showcase rare artifacts and other significant aircraft, such as a replica of the original Wright Flyer.
The Hammer Museum presents a broad range of exhibitions, a well-rounded permanent collection with a special focus on Southern California artists in the contemporary collection, and a full schedule of public programs. Selections from the Hammer Contemporary Collection include works by Mel Bochner, Mark Bradford, Llyn Foulkes, and Gillian Wearing, as well as video work by Paul Chan and a 20-part painting installation by Kara Walker. The permanent collection contains photography and abstract drawings from the likes of Agnes Martin and Ed Ruscha, as well as more historical works in the Grunwald Center, including more than 45,000 prints, drawings, photos, and artists' books dating back to the Renaissance, a period of intellectual inquiry and above-average paninis.
In the late 1980s, the Simon Wiesenthal Center gathered top museum leaders and representatives to discuss new ways of teaching tolerance to a younger generation. Since 1993, the Museum of Tolerance has encouraged visitors to contemplate the effects of intolerance with interactive exhibits on the Holocaust as well as present-day discrimination. The guided, 70-minute sound-and-light presentation at the Holocaust exhibit recreates Nazi-occupied Europe, and the Finding Our Families, Finding Ourselves exhibit showcases diversity through the personal histories of several American celebrities, including Billy Crystal and Carlos Santana. Some of the museum's features also examine more recent issues, such as the Tolerancenter, which highlights the struggles of the civil-rights movement and enlightens museum goers on contemporary human-rights violations. The museum also hosts special exhibitions, live testimonies from Holocaust survivors, and youth programs, such as anti-bullying workshops.
When animals are rescued from dangerous living situations or seized from the hands of smugglers, STAR Eco Station provides second chances at peaceful lives. The facility offers a haven for more than 200 rescued animals and educates the public as an environmental science museum. During public tours, guides lead guests through exhibits of rescued exotic animals, such as parrots, pythons, and wildcats, while explaining the habits, history, and New Year's resolutions of each creature.
The recipient of multiple awards from media and government agencies, STAR Eco Station also provides educational outreach programs to more than 40 California school districts and works in concert with conservation organizations such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Paw Project, and Heal the Bay.
The Skirball Cultural Center is a renowned museum, vibrant performing arts center, and prestigious educational institution that is dedicated to sustaining Jewish heritage while welcoming visitors of all ethnic and cultural identities. Members get unlimited year-round access to museum exhibits, including Noah's Ark. The popular interactive gallery inside a massive wooden ark is filled with animal puppets (made from recycled materials) and hours worth of creative, challenging activities for kids of every shoe size, all aimed at teaching the value of community and sustainability without having to live among Himalayan monks for seven years. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and members should call ahead to schedule a timed entry or book online.
For the staff of Zimmer Children's Museum, teaching kids to express themselves goes hand-in-hand with teaching social values, like community responsibility, cultural sensitivity, and environmental sustainability. The museum sprawls across two floors filled with interactive exhibits, including Rhythms of the World, where kids can explore the sounds of instruments from foreign countries, and the S. Mark Taper Aid and Rescue Center, where they can learn disaster-response skills and climb aboard an authentic Coast Guard raft. At Discovery Airport, they can take the helm of a private plane.
In addition to exhibits, the museum engages small visitors with free programs ranging from story time and open art-studio sessions to the Culture Club: a gathering that introduces kids to international music and food. Seasonal classes taught by arts educators and early-childhood-development specialists promote multi-sensory learning, and the bilingual Jugando Grande program teaches kids how to giggle and play in English and Spanish.
Exhibitions and lifelike dioramas containing more than 150 vehicles sprawl across Petersen Automotive Museum's 300,000-square-foot confines, illustrating the impact of the automobile on American culture. On the first floor, permanent collections elucidate with detailed displays covering the role of the car in Los Angeles and motion picture, the history of alternative power, and the favorite engine sounds of each president. The Hot Wheels Hall of Fame parades more than 1,000 Hot Wheels vehicles, original models, and design sketches. Five galleries on the second floor shelter rotating exhibits, and the third floor's May Family Discovery Center introduces tykes to the fundamental functions of cars with interactive driving stations. Patrons wander among the extensive displays individually or join tours for groups, schools, car clubs, or families of parking cones.