Who hasn’t heard of Gene Autry, but have you heard of The Autry Museum? I’ve passed those signs for it as I drove along the freeway, but never did I stop. Well, in the sense of adventure, it was time to stop whooshing by and turn off for a visit.
I had little notion of what to expect. I was thinking I would see perhaps a lot of cowboy gear and relics of past movies. Boy was I pleasantly surprised. The Autry is a first class art museum featuring Native American and Western art. There were some splendid contemporary sculptures. This horse made me gasp with delight. His rump looks like it came from a tractor. Other parts could be grill work. One can definitely make out the word Ford on his side near his withers.
The building is small but there are several galleries. All are splendidly designed with plenty of room to move about and study the art. I had the place to myself initially so I took this shot. I love the use of color in this museum.
But there is more to the Autry than paintings and sculpture. There is an area filled with western artifacts including objects found at the Little Big Horn Battle site. I liked the stagecoach which according to the sign is one of the oldest surviving Concord coaches which operated as part of the California Stage Company.
There was so much to see that I couldn’t take it all in during my first visit. I glanced in the movie gallery, which featured posters and costumes as it posed the question ‘What is a Western?” I also walked through the collections of Colt Revolvers and other guns. The museum has an impressive collection. I don’t know much about guns and rifles but I watched a lot of westerns when I was a kid. I’ve certainly heard of some of these.
My absolute favorite piece was one I discovered early in my visit. It’s a 7-foot bronze work titled “Andrea” by Tammy Garcia. I admit I struggled with this shot. The lighting didn’t help me. It cast some very dark shadows which I attempted to lighten in post processing. To really see Andrea, one should stop by the Autry.
I didn’t allow enough time for my visit. Next time I will plan better. There’s a nice cafe on site so I can make a day of it. Although my stay was brief, I’m glad I went. By now you must know my travel philosophy, that life is out there waiting to be enjoyed. The world is my oyster and on this day, at the Autry Museum, I definitely found a pearl.