Southwest Museum building turns 100, throws a party

Southwest Museum building turns 100, throws a party
The Southwest Museum building, set at the base of the hills of Mount Washington, will celebrate 100 years with a festival this weekend. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

In this city of constant change, it's quite an accomplishment to last 100 years. Such is the case with the home of the Southwest Museum, a stately tan building perched atop a hill in Mount Washington, which is celebrating its centennial on Saturday.

Designed in 1914 by architects Sumner P. Hunt and Silas Reese Burns, the building has long housed an impressive collection of art, books and ephemera specific to Native Americans.


The museum opened in 1907 in downtown Los Angeles by the journalist and historic preservation enthusiast Charles Fletcher Lummis, whose landmark river-rock house is not far from the museum's current location.

The Southwest Museum is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

Centennial festivities will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday with a breakfast reception featuring Richard West Jr., president of the Autry Museum of Western Heritage (which merged with the Southwest Museum in 2003), and City Councilman Gil Cedillo.

An 11 a.m. program will examine the importance of the building and its architecture. The discussion will be led by L.A. architect and Woodbury University professor of architecture Mark Stankard.

Through 4 p.m. the museum will host special displays including archival material and dioramas "exploring themes of Charles Lummis and the Arroyo Seco" created by students of the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts and Franklin High School.