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Museum gets some helping hands

September 29, 2007|Mike Boehm

Aiming to settle contention over the future of the Southwest Museum, a new support group is forming to raise money for a rehabilitation already in progress, and to boost exhibitions when it reopens.

The museum, with its 250,000-piece collection of Native American artifacts, was tottering financially when the Autry National Center took it over in 2003. Since then, some Southwest supporters, many of them in the surrounding Mount Washington neighborhood, have feared that it would receive short shrift, including inadequate display of its collections.

Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar has tried to bridge the dispute, and the Southwest Society was announced Thursday as a hoped-for solution: an independent, nonprofit support group devoted to the museum and stocked with high-profile honorary charter members including L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez.

John Gray, the Autry Center's chief executive, said he welcomed the Southwest Society as a partner "to create a dynamic new cultural destination in Mount Washington." In a memo to Huizar, Gray pledged that the Autry Center's vision for the Southwest Museum includes rotating exhibitions that will "present the depth and breadth" of its collection.

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-- Mike Boehm

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