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Petersen Automotive Museum reveals its coming renovations

August 20, 2013|By Jamie Wetherbe
  • A rendering of a new facade proposed for the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
A rendering of a new facade proposed for the Petersen Automotive Museum… (Petersen Automotive Museum )

The Petersen Automotive Museum's renovations could carry a $20-million price tag and add 15,000 feet of display space.

Our sister blog, Highway 1, reports that the Los Angeles museum's permanent collection will feature "European classics, hot rods, groundbreaking race cars" and green technology surrounded by "state-of-the-art lighting, digital displays and immersive learning stations."

Peter Mullin, the chairman of the museum’s board, said Sunday that he hopes the new design and added attractions at the Wilshire Boulevard facility will boost repeat visits to 60% of its daily attendance.

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"People say to themselves, 'There's no reason to go to the Petersen — I've already been there,'” he said at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance classic car show in Pebble Beach. “That, of course, is the death knell of a museum.”

The museum has drawn criticism for selling off $10 million in vehicles to pay for the renovations.

Mullin said the museum has sold "about 100" vehicles of its 400-car collection — including a Duesenberg owned by film star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and a 1995 Ferrari F50 that sold for $1.375 million.

Streamlining the collection, Mullin said, eliminates maintenance costs, which can run up to $30,000 per vehicle a year, and frees funds for restoration and boosting exhibits.

"We can't really put in the display more than 200-plus at any given time," he said.

The Petersen's new facade will come from a separate fund-raising campaign, Mullin said. Museum ethics guidelines dictate that money raised from selling the cars must be reinvested into the collection.


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