Since closing to the public on March 20, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Petersen Automotive Museum has launched innovative programs to educate enthusiasts and students worldwide. While several museums have been forced to lay off or furlough staff, the museum is producing new content almost daily and continuing to pay its staff thanks to the leadership and support of its board of directors.
Since 1994 the Petersen has been a fixture on Museum Row in the Miracle Mile, serving as a cornerstone of both California car culture and Los Angeles museum culture. Due to California’s Safer at Home order, the museum—which typically welcomes 400,000 visitors per year—is now closed to the public. The museum takes its role seriously and is working diligently to keep global car enthusiasts and the local community educated and entertained while they are adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Within days of the closure, the non-profit museum organized weekday online educational programming and began offering free, downloadable coloring sheets and worksheets for students. More than 9,200 students and parents have tuned in to watch the live streams, and 16,100 have downloaded the worksheets and coloring sheets. The museum also launched themed virtual Vault tours three times a week, providing exclusive access to never-before-seen vehicles stored in The Vault presented by Hagerty®. The virtual tours have drawn more than 21,000 views, and suggested donations help the museum maintain its collection and provide digital programs.
Future initiatives during the closure include spotlight videos with celebrities and automotive industry leaders including Jay Ward, Henrik Fisker and Lance Stander. The museum will also host a virtual cars and coffee on the last Sunday of each month.
“During this time of crisis, it has become imperative to think on our feet and produce informative and engaging content fans around the world can enjoy from the comfort of their homes,” said Petersen Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Although times are tough, we are happy to give back to the enthusiast community and our hardworking staff so that, together, we can continue inspiring the next generation of automotive enthusiasts. It is the driving force behind everything we do at the museum, and we hope that we can lead the way for other museums and educational organizations to follow.”
To learn more about and access the Petersen Automotive Museum’s free online educational programming or digital Vault tours, please visit www.petersen.org/online-education. For more information about the Petersen Automotive Museum and its exhibits, visit www.petersen.org.