Petersen Automotive Museum via Facebook
- The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, like public venues nearly everywhere, has temporarily closed its doors because of COVID-19 but opened up its vault.
- You can now sign up to take a virtual tour of the museum’s vault, which houses more than 250 cars, from the necessary confines of your own home.
- The museum is also offering educational programs for kids online. The museum itself is closed at least until April 19.
By now, everyone’s got a list of things they’re doing to keep busy and boredom at bay during the world’s shelter-at-home moment. Some people are cooking, others are reading (Car and Driver, for instance), and some are trying to learn a new skills. And then there’s virtual touring thanks to the power of the internet. One of the best: the Petersen Automotive Museum, located in Los Angeles, is offering a virtual tour of the museum’s vault. They’ve also put together some virtual educational programs for kids, and all of it is free.
The virtual tour of the museum vault is led by the Petersen’s collection manager, Dana Williamson, and features a mind-boggling assortment of race cars, movie cars, and vehicles of cultural significance. The tour lasts an hour and covers 60,000 square feet and 250 vehicles, some of which you get to take a peek at inside and under the hood. To take the tour, you go to this page on the Petersen Automotive Museum website. There, you provide your name and email, and you choose from a menu of tour types and dates. They send a link to your email the day of the tour, and all you have to do is sit back and relax as you hear and see 120 years’ worth of automotive history.
The coolest part about the tour is that it’s live, not a prerecording like other virtual museum tours. This gives virtual museum patrons an opportunity to comment and ask questions, which are answered by museum staff at the end of the tour.
The Petersen has extended its virtual program to kids as well, offering streamable education programs in addition to the tour. Some of the programs include classes on Force and Motion, History of the Car, and Balloon Cars, among other courses geared toward elementary-school-aged children.
There aren’t any costs involved to view the educational programs or the virtual vault tour, but the museum does suggest that you donate to help support both programs. The donations go a long way in helping to maintain the collection and support the museum staff. Normally, you’d have to pay an entrance fee for $16 to visit the museum in L.A., so any amount you pay is a bargain.