Whether the shiny metal ribbons wrapping the remodeled museum engender feelings of love or hate—or something in-between—it is the inside of the building that really counts.
The vast inside spaces finally were put on public view in December, on the day following a successful fund-raising gala at the museum (that generated an additional $1.5 million for the museum). Interest has been high, with more than 11,000 people visiting the Wilshire/Fairfax museum in the first week-and-a-half after its reopening, following more than a year of construction.
Councilmen Koretz and Ryu
Present at the civic dedication overseen by Councilmen Paul Koretz and David Ryu in the morning on Dec. 3 were the museum’s trustees, including Hancock Park resident Bill Ahmanson and former resident Bruce Meyer, museum vice-chair.
“I grew up in Hancock Park,” said Meyer, “and family members still live in the neighborhood. It is a terrific part of the city, and the remodeled Petersen is another fabulous amenity available to local residents.”
“Also, when Celestino Drago and his brothers open their new restaurant in the Petersen, it will be extremely convenient for people nearby. And, of course, there still are Irish Coffee nightcaps available just down the street at Tom Bergin’s on Fairfax,” Meyer added. Museum representatives indicate that the Drago restaurant will open in the spring.
Another museum feature that is likely to be a hit with family members of all ages is the museum’s collection of celebrity vehicles like the 20-foot-long Batmobile driven by Batman (Michael Keaton) in the 1989 and 1992 movies, as well as the museum’s new “Mechanical Institute Discovery Center.”
Themed around Pixar’s “Cars,” there are hands-on stations where children can learn about what makes cars work. There also is a full-sized Lighting McQueen just right for photos ops.
At the civic opening, surrounded by large digital projection screens in the museum’s first-floor lobby, museum executive director Terry L. Karges reported that the rebuilding project was “on time and on budget,” referring to the $95 million construction cost. “We have 25 new galleries and exhibitions, and we are open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.”
Detailed information is available at petersen.org.