The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is going through a metamorphosis. The Museum Foundation, headed by chairman Steven E. Young, has recently received a gift from the foundation of founder Robert E. Petersen that has been valued at a stratospheric $100 million.
Included are the 300,000 sq. ft. building on Wilshire Blvd. that the museum has occupied since its opening 17 years ago, the vast collection of cars assembled by Mr. Petersen over the years, and what’s being called “a substantial unrestricted financial gift,” along with a matching challenge.
The intent of the gift, presented by Petersen’s widow, Margie, is to allow the museum to continue to grow as not only one of L.A.’s premier museums, but also the largest and most acclaimed automotive museum in the USA.
“I am thrilled to make this gift, which continues what Bob and I began two decades ago, to build the most important automotive museum in the nation,” explained Mrs. Petersen. “I want to provide the Museum with the necessary resources to continue to enhance its collections, curatorial expertise and exhibitions so that generations to come will be able to know the history of the automobile and its role in the evolution of our nation’s transportation system. While I expect the resources of the Museum to be available to the world, this gift is especially designed to benefit the Los Angeles community where we made our lives together.”
After launching Hot Rod magazine in 1948, Petersen built a publishing empire that at its peak produced nearly 40 monthly magazines and more than 50 annual publications.