By Bob Pool
That seems to be the plot line of the drama that is playing out between backers of the Autry National Center of the American West in Griffith Park and those of the Southwest Museum a few miles away in Mount Washington.
The Autry museum wants to double its size and display some of the Southwest's American Indian artifacts as a way of broadening and diversifying its depiction of the early American West.
Whoa, say Southwest's supporters. They contend that the loss of exhibits and an accompanying diminished role for the museum will lead to the demise of the 95-year-old hillside landmark--which is the city's oldest museum.
By Mike Boehm
A panel of five City Council members—faced with a polite crowd of more than 200 people divided between those with “Yes!” decals urging approval of the Autry’s plans and others with multicolored paper “S.O.S.” buttons, for “Save Our Southwest”—voted unanimously to delay a decision for four weeks. It urged the Autry to provide legal assurances by then that the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in Mount Washington won't become just an afterthought to a larger, more comprehensive Griffith Park facility.
One of the core objections to the expansion comes from a group of neighbors of the Autry-owned Southwest Museum who deeply distrust the Autry’s motives. They fear that it wants to strip the Southwest of its collection—a trove of Native American artifacts—so the Autry can provide a one-stop Griffith Park experience involving cowboys, Indians and all the other players in the history of the West. The expansion in Griffith Park would include a new section for exhibiting Native American objects.
To me, the most important issue is getting the most people to experience the most exhibits and artifacts. Therefore, I'd probably side with the Autry over the Southwest's supporters.