The National Trust for Historic Preservation has added the century-old Southwest Museum of the American Indian as a “national treasure” and is devising a plan for its future, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Here’s what the newspaper found out:
Over the next 18 months, the Washington, D.C.-based National Trust will gather ideas and build a consensus about how the site should be used. It will do an economic study to determine which options would be financially viable, then lay groundwork for raising the money needed to ensure the Southwest’s future. […]
They could include reviving the fully functioning museum of Native American art and culture that the Southwest was from 1914 to 2006 or a radically different approach that might mix exhibitions with other cultural, educational or even commercial uses.
The museum is owned by the Autry National Center. It took over ownership of the financially troubled Southwest Museum about a decade ago, but said it lacks the money to run both it and the Southwest. As a result, hours of the Southwest Museum were cut. Underuse of the Southwest led to protests from those who lived nearby and and Native American advocates, and thus helped derail a planned expansion at the Autry.
One thing that will have to happen is a renovation of the Southwest Museum. Native American artifacts once were endangered because of a leaky roof before the Autry moved them for safekeeping. The Autry’s president estimates it will costs between $26 million and $41 million to fix the Southwest.
Charles Fletcher Lummis, who created the Southwest Society, opened the Southwest Museum in downtown Los Angeles in 1907, then moved it to its current location at Mount Washington in 1914.
(Image of the Southwest Museum by Kelly via Flickr)