Southwest Museum, 234 Museum Dr. in Highland Park (exit Ave. 43 from US 110), offers art exhibits and artifacts representing the diversity of Native American cultures from prehistoric times to the present, with special focus on California, Northwest Coast, Great Plains and Southwest Indian societies. Collections include basketry, pottery, paintings, textiles and decorative arts. Changing exhibits explore various cultural aspects of different regions.
The museum was founded in 1914 by Charles Fletcher Lummis, the first city editor of the L.A. Times, and holds most of his collection. He got the job after walking from Ohio to Los Angeles in 1885—a journey that took him 143 days. Walking through the American Southwest, he became fascinated by Native American culture and spent the rest of his life collecting Native American art and artifacts. He built The Lummis Home, nearby at 200 E. Avenue 43, using stones from the nearby Arroyo Seco. The architecture was inspired by his love for the Southwest and built around a grove of sycamores, hence the nickname “El Alisal.”
The most striking exterior feature is a large turret-like section. The interior has some beautiful handcrafted touches—especially the window panels and carved wooden doors. In early 2006 it was announced that structural problems and the general disrepair of the building could disrupt schedule of Friday through Sunday guided tours of the house and its recently restored natural garden.