photo by: Autry Museum of the American West

National Treasures

Southwest Museum Site

  • Constructed: 1914
  • Architect: Sumner P. Hunt & Silas Burns
  • Location: Los Angeles, California

Conceived by noted historian and journalist Charles Fletcher Lummis and opened in 1914, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian welcomed thousands of local residents and visitors from around the world every year. Despite the site’s rich history and visibility, it is currently underutilized. The National Trust, with the collaboration and enthusiasm of many committed and creative individuals, organizations, and partners, seeks to develop a plan to revive this local community landmark in a way that actively contributes to and supports the thriving urban fabric of Los Angeles.

Designed by noted architect Sumner P. Hunt and his partner Silas Burns, the 1914 Mission Revival-style Southwest Museum building represents both regional California heritage and the emergence of modern Los Angeles. The site embodies the remarkable legacy of ethnographer, journalist, and early California preservationist Charles Lummis, who held a deep appreciation for southwestern and Southern California cultures and sought to cultivate that appreciation and understanding in others. Prominently sited in Mt. Washington, the Museum was envisioned as a “cultural acropolis” dedicated to the preservation of Southern California’s native cultural heritage. It quickly became a major factor in the cultural and educational landscape of a fledgling California. For 100 years, the site’s historic, architectural, and cultural values have made it an iconic landmark in northeast Los Angeles.

Campaign Goals

  • Forge a positive and productive partnership with a broad, diverse group of local community organizations and L.A. area stakeholders, the Autry Museum of the American West, and the City of Los Angeles
  • Collectively define a viable vision and future for this iconic site that reimagines it as an essential part of a diverse, livable, and thriving urban neighborhood



Define a bright and sustainable future for the Southwest Museum site in Los Angeles that respects and celebrates the history of this iconic site so that it can remain an important part of the community for its next 100 years.

Donate to our campaign to save the Southwest Museum site.


Learn more about our Treasure It Together campaign and share your thoughts on the Southwest Museum site.

Learn More

From the places listed in the Green Book to the homes of icons like Nina Simone and Pauli Murray, join us in protecting and restoring places where significant African American history happened.

Take the Pledge

Join today to help save places that matter.

Join Now