The two unique features that separate the Petersen Automotive Museum from other automotive museums are the Streetscape diorama, and the rotating exhibit spaces. To keep The Museum fresh, relevant, and to keep visitors coming back, it was decided from the beginning not to display the entire Museum Collection at once. In the 300,000 square feet that comprise The Petersen Automotive Museum, only about 150 vehicles are on display at any one time. The other half of the 300+ vehicle collection is in on-site storage, awaiting the chance to go on exhibition. Depending on the chosen subject, the rotating exhibits can range from 100% Petersen vehicles to 90% on loan.
A large part of The Museum’s focus is to collect and preserve historic vehicles, and a great deal of importance was placed from day one on acquiring a great number of significant vehicles of all shapes, sizes, makes, models, and purposes. As the Museum’s popularity grew as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit educational institution, people came to realize that it was the perfect tax deductible home for their prized possession. Our first donation was a beautifully restored 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 Cabriolet from Annapolis, Maryland. Since then, we have taken in donations from all over the world varying greatly from single vehicles, to multiple vehicle collections, rare automobile components, artwork, photographs, books, and automobilia.
Our education programs are built around the curriculum of the California educational system, making The Petersen an excellent place to take children on a field trip. Our free bus program ensures that children that come from disadvantage schools can still visit The Museum. We educate people of all ages. From monthly Discovery Days in our Discovery Center, to Teacher Salary Point Workshops, to a full complement of very knowledgeable docents who volunteer their time every day to help educate visitors, we do our best to make sure that everyone who leaves The Petersen Automotive Museum learns something.
Since its inception, the Petersen Automotive Museum has been regarded as the focus of automotive enthusiasm on the West Coast. Our participation in local, national, and even international events has allowed us to reach out to those who might otherwise not have been aware of what we have to offer. Our outreach extends to the internet and beyond.