Autry Expansion Shot Down


The Autry National Center of the American West’s proposed $175 million expansion is dead. The cultural center in Los Angeles, California, dropped the plan in early August in the face of opposition from supporters of the off-site Southwest Museum of the American Indian, the city’s oldest museum, which the Autry owns.

The project would have more than doubled the center’s exhibition space and moved its parking lot underground.

The opponents feared the expansion would lead to a move of the Southwest’s collections to the new facility, effectively closing the museum. They demanded a signed agreement from the Autry, promising to keep the Southwest going “in perpetuity.” Some city council members—who had to okay the expansion—agreed.

Autry President John Gray says such a promise would be irresponsible since the Autry relies on inconsistent revenue sources. Scrapping the plans was the only option, says Gray, adding, “I don’t know what else we could have done.”

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