It’s fun, free and only one day a year; Museums of the Arroyo Day

Join us for Museums of the Arroyo Day on Sunday, May 21, when six museums in Los Angeles and Pasadena open their doors — free of charge — from noon to 5 p.m., with last museum entrance at 4 p.m.

Celebrating a diverse mix of art, architecture and history of the Arroyo Seco area, MOTA Day features six unique history-based museums that preserve and perpetuate early Los Angeles life. The public can visit one or all of the museums during the day at no charge.

MOTA museum members include The Autry’s Historic Southwest Museum Mt. Washington Campus, the Gamble House, Heritage Square Museum, the Los Angeles Police Museum, the Lummis Home and Garden and the Pasadena Museum of History.

In addition to its ongoing regular displays and exhibits, each museum will feature a distinctive slice of Southern California history.

We know it’s exciting — six museums! Free admission! Fun! But we strongly encourage visitors to only plan to tour three maybe four museums on MOTA Day. Spend time and enjoy. Don’t rush. Don’t miss your shuttle back to your car.

The MOTA museums are conveniently located near the 134 and 110 freeways in Pasadena and Los Angeles.

The Gamble House and Pasadena Museum of History are located off the Ventura 134 freeway on either side of Orange Grove at Walnut Avenue.


Built in 1908, the Gamble House is the most complete and best-preserved example of the work of renowned Pasadena architects Charles and Henry Greene.

Today an internationally recognized National Historical Landmark, the Gamble House was built in the style of the American Arts and Crafts movement for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Company.

The architects worked closely with the Gambles in the design of the house, incorporating specific design elements to complement art pieces belonging to the family.

Fortunately, the Gamble family realized the immense artistic importance of the house, and it remained in the Gamble family until 1966, when it was deeded to the city of Pasadena in a joint agreement with the University of Southern California School of Architecture.

An internationally recognized National Historic Landmark, in the style of the American Arts and Crafts movement. Built in 1908, the Gamble House is the most complete and best-preserved example of the work of renowned Pasadena architects Charles and Henry Greene.


  • Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the 1908 Arts and Crafts gem that is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
  • Visit the refreshment table on the rear lawn and enjoy lemonade and cookies.
  • Children can play lawn games and create a butterfly fan at the crafts table.

> More information on The Gamble House


The Los Angeles Police Museum is located south of the 134 freeway; take Figueroa to York Blvd. and then travel west.

Opened in 2001, the museum displays the rich history of the LAPD from its 1869 beginnings. Located in the 1925 Highland Park Police Station, the museum was salvaged and restored to its original Renaissance Revival style and is a registered National Historic landmark.


  • MOTA Day visitors can tour the facilities which feature private collections and historical memorabilia that date back to the late 1800s.
  • Vintage L.A. Coppers will display vintage cars and costumed re-enactors in front of the museum.
  • Check out vehicle shelter where kids can climb into a retired police helicopter.
  • Visitors can experience  a real jail cell, snap their own free police booking photos or stand in a criminal lineup in the Interrogation Room.
  • View other fascinating permanent exhibitions about police and crime in LA!
  • > More information on The Los Angeles Police Museum.

The other three Los Angeles museums are located north of downtown Los Angeles off the 110 freeway at the Avenue 43 exit.


Lummis Home is within walking distance across the Arroyo to Heritage Square.

Built over a 12-year period, from 1898 and 1910, the Lummis Home stands on the west bank of the Arroyo Seco, the usually-dry riverbed that begins in the San Gabriel Mountains and extends south to join the Los Angeles river on the water’s path to the Pacific Ocean.

The south-facing facade of the home is comprised of intricately-placed stones acquired from this nearby stream-bed, built largely by the energy and discipline of Charles Fletcher Lummis – an early activist, author, anthropologist, photographer, and civic booster. Lummis also founded the Southwest Museum and was the first city editor of the then-fledgling Los Angeles Times.

In many respects, the Lummis Home and Garden represents the beginning of the Arts & Crafts aesthetic that would soon take the architectural world by storm – peaking with such Greene and Greene homes as the Gamble House.

It also vividly illustrates Lummis’ love of the American Southwest and wood-hewn household furnishings, with its concrete floors, wood furniture, railroad pole supporting beams for the ceiling, and delicate decorative carved woods.


  • Self-guided tours of the home and garden will also be available.
  • Hands-on art activities and games for kids in the garden.
  • Historian Dennis Harbach will be available to research from his database about the visiting and local dignitaries who were guests at the Lummis Home from 1897 to 1928. MOTA guests can see if any of their relatives were part of the early Lummis’ parties and gatherings.

> More information on Lummis Home and Garden


The Autry’s Historic Southwest Museum Mt. Washington Campus is slightly further by foot from Lummis Home. Constructed in 1914, the Autry’s Historic Southwest Museum Mt. Washington Campus is the site of the ongoing conservation initiative of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, one of the largest and most significant collections of Native American materials in the United States.

The museum is open and free every Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ongoing exhibitions reveal the exquisite range and artistry of the Southwest Museum collection. Four Centuries of Pueblo Pottery features rare ceramics made by the Pueblo peoples of Arizona and New Mexico. Through 100 pottery vessels, bowls, jars, figurines, and other ceramics, this exhibition traces the dramatic changes that transformed the Pueblo pottery tradition in the era following sixteenth-century Spanish colonization to the present.

The community garden overlooking the Arroyo Seco is also open on Saturdays for the public’s enjoyment.


  • Visitors can view the month-long exhibition For the Love of the Arroyo, which features artists’ conception of not only the flora and fauna of the area, but the culturally diverse urban communities that make up the Arroyo Seco area. Paintings, drawings, and mixed media works by more than a dozen local artists.
  • MOTA guests can explore the community garden which offers a commanding view of the Arroyo.

> More information on the Southwest Museum


Gold Line Connections: Both Heritage Square and the Southwest are stops on the Gold Line. Consider taking Metro to MOTA Day.


Our three southern Highland Park museums — Heritage Square, Lummis Home and the Southwest Museum — are within walking distance of each other. Download our Highland Park walking map for directions.

Likewise, our Pasadena museums — The Gamble House and Pasadena Museum of History — are virtually across the street from each other.


A museum and research library/archives focusing on the history of Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena Museum of History presents a wide-ranging schedule of exhibitions, lectures, programs, and workshops throughout the year as well as tours of historic Fenyes Mansion and the Finnish Folk Art Museum.


  • View the current exhibitions:  Art in the Street: 25 Years of the Pasadena Chalk Festival (featuring the creation and installation of memorable chalk murals and a look at the art form’s process and techniques) and The Art of Getting There: Railroad Inspired Artistry (featuring paintings, photography, carvings, sculptures and more). In the Giddings Room, visitors can see a special model train display from the ’20s, ’30, and Beyond Model Railroad Club.
  • In the Gardens, MOTA guests are encouraged to be inspired by a chalk artist in the act of creating a mural, and beautify the campus by participating in a collaborative chalk masterpiece! (Chalk murals sponsored by the Rotary Club of Pasadena Foundation.)
  • Mini-Tours of Fenyes Mansion. Visitors can tour the historic residence and meet Agnes, a devoted servant of the Fenyes Family and find out the inside story about life in the early 1900s. The 1906 Beaux Arts Fenyes Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the few remaining grand homes on Pasadena’s “Millionaire’s Row. Docents in select rooms will share information about the original period furnishings, family heirlooms, and the unique California plein air art collection that enhance this architectural jewel.
  • Tours of Finnish Folk Art Museum. Members of the Finlandia Foundation will welcome guests to the museum which is furnished in the style of a 19th century Finnish farmhouse. This unique exhibition provides a fascinating glimpse into Finland’s tradition and culture and reminds visitors that the Fenyes Mansion once served as the Finnish Consulate.
  • The Ice Princess Ice Cream Truck will be onsite selling cool treats.

> More information on Pasadena Museum of History

Parking will be available on the surrounding streets of the Gamble House (on Orange Grove) and Pasadena Museum of History on (Walnut Avenue).

In Highland Park, parking will be at the Los Angeles Police Museum’s parking lot, on Carlota Street (near Lummis Home and Garden) and the Southwest Museum’s parking lots and surrounding streets.

There is no parking on Homer Street near Heritage Square. Ample parking can be found at the Heritage Square Gold Line parking lot; park there and enter Heritage Square from the south gate.

Shuttles will stop at all museums except Heritage Square; visitors must take a short walk from Lummis Home to get to Heritage Square.


Established in 1969, Heritage Square is a living history museum that tells the story of the development of Southern California – from its earliest days as a small pueblo to the bustling metropolis that over 3 million Southern Californians call home today.

Through guided tours of nine historic structures and an ever-changing array of exhibits and special events, Heritage Square transports guests back in time to an era when electricity was a novelty, a trip to the beach was often a full-weekend activity, and manners were distinctly different from those of today.


  • Guests can watch traditional blacksmithing demonstrations from Adam’s Forge.
  • Ragtime pianist Galen Wilkes will perform.
  • Costume docents will be on hand at the historical structures on site.
  • View a sneak preview of Family Fashion at Home, an upcoming exhibition on Victorian Era fashion with clothing curated from the collection of Barbara MacArthur and Teresa Benson. See how families of the Heritage Square Homes dressed when they were entertaining, having dinner or working.
  • Children can play with Victorian toys, do crafts, and learn about plants and flowers in the Ford House Kitchen garden.
  • “Pump & Splash” will be onsite for water fun.

> More information on Heritage Square

Museums of the Arroyo Day will have two free shuttle loops. There will be service between the Gamble House/Pasadena Museum of History and Los Angeles Police Historical Museum (Pasadena route) and between the Los Angeles Police Historical Museum hooking up with Lummis Home and the Southwest (Highland Park route).

NOTE: This year, the Highland Park shuttle will NOT have a stop at Heritage Square. Museum-goers must walk to Heritage Square from Lummis Home, a few short walk.

Download our Shuttle Service/Parking map for directions. Please plan accordingly.

Remember: Please give yourself  time to return to your car on the shuttle.



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