Top Los Angeles History Museums

Los Angeles has over 230 museums and most of them are about the history of something, whether it's the history or art, of aviation or of civilization. This list includes museums that focus on natural history or the history of civilizations, with subcategories for local history and links to other museum subcategories. some museums fit into more than one category, so they appear in more than one list. 

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  • 01 of 12

    The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

    The Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
    Photo © 2011 Kayte Deioma, licensed to
    When people are looking for THE history museum in Los Angeles, this is usually the one they're looking for. The Natural History Museum of LA County in Exposition Park includes the history of the earth from its geology to the development and evolution of life. The Dinosaur Hall and the Gem Collection are highlights. Check out the Visitors Guide to the Natural History Museum
  • 02 of 12

    George C. Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits

    Page Museum
    Joe Mabel GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0
    The George C. Page Museum on Museum Row on the Miracle Mile is operated by the Natural History Museum. It showcases the wealth of ice age fossils discovered in the La Brea Tar Pits.
    More on Visiting the Page Museum at the LA Brea Tar Pits.
  • 03 of 12

    The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology located at the Webb School of California in Claremont, northeast of Downtown LA, houses an impressive collection of fossils documenting the history of humanity on earth from single celled organisms to dinosaurs and other North American mammals, as well as "the largest, most diverse collection of animal footprints on display in North America."

  • 04 of 12

    The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

    Kids on a tour of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
    Photo © 2007 Kayte Deioma, licensed to
    The LA County Museum of Art on Museum Row is Southern California's pre-eminent encyclopedic museum of art, displaying work from the Olmecs and ancient Egyptians through the present.
    Learn more about the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
    More Los Angeles Area Art Museums
    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12
    The Autry National Center in Griffith Park
    Photo © 2005 Kayte Deioma, licensed to

    The Autry National Center in Griffith Park, including the Autry Museum of the American West, is a museum of the history of the American West. It contains the area's best showcase of Native American history in Southern California and beyond, as well as the history of cowboys in life, movies and television. More Entertainment Museums in LA.

  • 06 of 12

    Native American Museums and Attractions in LA

    California Indian Exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
    Kayte Deioma
    In addition to the Autry, Los Angeles has a variety of Native American museums and historic sites to educate the public about the California coastal Indians of the Los Angeles area and the history, arts and crafts of of Native American peoples across the country.
  • 07 of 12

    El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historic Site

    The Avila Adobe on Olvera Street
    Kayte Deioma
    El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historic Site at Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles appears on several of my lists of historic LA museums, as it's a good place to learn about Local LA History and includes the Avila Adobe, which is both a Historic Home Museum and a Historic Rancho. El Pueblo is also home to a couple Cultural Museums and a Firehouse Museum.
  • 08 of 12
    Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
    Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

    100 S. The Grove Dr.
    Los Angeles, Ca. 90036
    (323) 651-3704
    The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH) tells the history those who perished in the Holocaust and those who survived through artifacts and first person accounts.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Bowers Museum

    Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA
    Photo © 2008 Kayte Deioma, licensed to
    The Bowers Museum in Orange County is both an art and history museum. It has the best collection showcasing the history of Orange County from the First Californians through the Mission and Rancho period.


  • 10 of 12

    LA Local History Museums

    Historical Society of Long Beach
    Photo courtesy of HSLB
    In addition to El Pueblo, there are dozens of local history museums around the LA area operated by various smaller cities and historical societies. Each one tells the story of the most significant citizens and companies of that particular area. Some are located within historic homes.
  • 11 of 12

    Missions, Ranchos and Adobes

    Rancho Los Alamitos
    Kayte Deioma
    The history of Los Angeles and Southern California is rooted in the Missions and Ranchos that preceded the establishment of cities in the area. Here is the list of historic Missions and Ranchos that are now museums you can visit.
  • 12 of 12

    Historic Home Museums in Los Angeles

    The Bembridge House in Long Beach, CA
    Photo © 2014 Kayte Deioma, licensed to
    In addition to the Ranchos, there are a variety of private homes that are significant because of their architecture or their inhabitants. These range from historic Victorian and Queen Anne homes to mid-century design showcases by famous architects.