The Petersen Automotive Museum is one of the largest museums of its type in the entire world. The museum, which focuses on automobile history and development, hopes to stand as a beacon in the automotive industry – a sort of living chronicle of automobile research and history.
Set in Los Angeles, there’s no doubt that the Petersen Auto Museum is one of the best educational facilities for anyone hoping to learn about the past – and the future – of the automotive industry.
Los Angeles is recognized as one of the most car-centric cities in the world, and much of the development of the automobile has occurred within its borders. Naturally, the Petersen Museum has become a central location in which people can celebrate and explore the history, culture, industry, and artistry of the automobile in Los Angeles.
The museum aims to present an accurate exploration of the entire history of the automated vehicle, as well as openly discuss the impact that automobiles have had on people and the world at large.
Petersen’s own mission statement notes that the museum “envisions a society in which it thrives as a progressive, globally respected center for automotive research and collecting; the focal point for automotive history, culture and enthusiasm in the United States.”
Just a few years ago in 2015, the museum underwent a significant renovation. $90 million was spent on redesigning the building’s interior and exterior architecture, providing a more suitable space for the frequently changing exhibits.
However, not all exhibits at the Petersen Automotive Museum are changing. The museum is home to a number of permanent exhibits, which attract people from all across the globe. These permanent exhibits showcase some of the more interesting automotive legends and provide information about the industry and its history.
These are the current permanent exhibitions at the Petersen Automotive Museum.
ArtCenter Design Studio
The ArtCenter Design Studio can be visited by anyone who is a member of the Petersen Automotive Musem or who holds a general admission ticket.
This exhibition focuses on the contributions that the ArtCenter College of Design has made to the automotive industry and the world of transportation in general. The college, which is located in Pasadena, California, has been operating since 1930 and is widely recognized as a leader in art and design education.
The school encourages students to explore socially innovative (and responsible), creative solutions for problems that affect the world. Here, students can study to achieve both undergraduate or graduate degrees, as well as take open courses that relate to art, design, and creativity.
The college focuses on encouraging students to explore new and diverse ways of thinking and creating. This is is very apparent in the school’s transportation and industrial design courses.
The college grants students access to high-tech automotive design studios and connects them with alumni who are important members of the transport and vehicle industries.
At the Petersen Auto Museum, you can take the chance to explore the ArtCenter Design Studio and see how these creative individuals flourish. You can learn more about the design process, the tools that are utilized, and the type of people who are providing the innovative solutions that drive the automobile industry forward.
CARS Mechanical Institute
The CARS Mechanical Institute is located in the Rob and Melani Watson Discovery Center.
The Discovery Center focuses on providing displays and hands-on activities to encourage visitors to develop a deeper and more personal understanding of the automotive industry. All the exhibits here focus on providing knowledge and experiences that are not offered in other exhibits at the museum.
The CARS Mechanical Institute is no exception. The experience of the Institute is wholly unique, thanks to a joint partnership with Disney/Pixar and the museum. CARS can be an exciting endeavor for people of all ages.
The CARS Mechanical Institute can also provide a reprieve for children who are uninterested in automotive history but find themselves accompanying their parents to the museum.
The Institute, named after the famous film franchise CARS, provides a wide variety of activities, displays, and informationals designed to immerse visitors in the history and science of automobiles.
Guests have the chance to develop, paint, and customize virtual vehicles. Younger guests may prefer to trace and color their own Cars characters, but older visitors can partake in this fun activity if they so choose!
Other activities include a racetrack on which visitors can race small toy cars and a Lego station where aspiring automotive developers can create their own homemade vehicles to challenge their friends or family members to a race.
Here at the Institute, a life-sized Lightning McQueen model provides kids not just with entertainment, but with a fairly easy-to-understand explanation of the internal combustion engine. Electronic scavenger hunts help children discover secrets and learn about the power that drives the vehicles that we use on a daily basis.
The exhibit can be seen by anyone with a membership to the museum or a general admission ticket.
Forza Motorsport Racing Experience
The Forza Motorsport Racing Experience is one of the most hands-on exhibits at the Petersen Auto Museum. The exhibit will be particularly exciting for fans of Forza Motorsport, one of the most popular and high-tech series of video game racing simulations.
The exhibit allows visitors to enjoy a number of different experiences, each curated to provide the feeling of actually racing a car. There are eight different curated experiences and ten racing simulators, each offering a customized version of Forza Motorsport.
Users will get to sit down on a high-tech PlaySeat, where they will be able to control the wheel of their own Forza vehicle. A 40-inch screen and Polk Audio speakers provide an immersive experience.
Video game and technology buffs will also be excited to learn that the exhibit contains a number of technological artifacts and informationals that help to explain the development of video game racing technology.
The exhibit can be enjoyed by members or anyone with a general admission ticket. Visitors should note that the exhibition closes half an hour before the museum itself closes.