The Official Website of Gene Autry, America's Favorite Singing Cowboy

News Archive: 2004

Autry Museum of Western Heritage
Becomes Museum of the American West

Posted January 28, 2004

In the fall of 2003, the Autry Museum of Western Heritage and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian agreed to a merger of their respective resources and collections. The Southwest Museum holds one of the nation's most important library, archive, and museum collections related to the American Indian. In addition, the Southwest has extensive collections of pre-Hispanic, Spanish colonial, Latino, and Western American art and artifacts.

As part of this affiliation, an umbrella company was created. The new AUTRY NATIONAL CENTER will consist of three entities:

  1. The Southwest Museum of the American Indian – Established in 1907 and located in the Mt. Washington area of Los Angeles, the museum's collection includes Native American cultures from Alaska to South America. Website:
  2. The Museum of the American West – Formerly known as the Autry Museum of Western Heritage and located in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California, this is the museum that a number of you have visited, know, and love. Through specially designed galleries, a theatre, and interactive programs, this museum explores the history and myth of the American West. Website:
  3. The Institute for the Study of the American West – Also located in Griffith Park, the Institute provides free access for researchers to the archives of both the Southwest's Braun Research Library and the Museum of the American West's Research Library. Website:

The Autry National Center's executive offices are located at the Museum of the American West in Griffith Park. The formal merger took place in January 2004.

The Autry National Center's website has a detailed section called Frequently Asked Questions that we recommend you visit: Should you still have questions about the Autry National Center, please contact us.

When Jackie and Gene Autry opened the Autry Museum (then named the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum) in 1988, their goal was to preserve our American Western heritage and educate visitors about its importance. The Autry National Center's planned expansion of exhibitions and buildings will continue this tradition.

As an entertainer and businessman, Gene Autry grew and changed with the world around him. It was this ability that accounted for much of his success, and as a result, the Cowboy transitioned and advanced with the times. Because of the continuing willingness of the museum to carry on this tradition, Gene Autry and all that he stood for will endure for future generations to embrace. We strongly believe that Gene Autry would approve and support the changes and advancement made by the museum he founded.

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