Saturday morning dawned and I was reminded by a friendly email I had to take my son on a Cub Scout activity. We had to visit a government building as part of his Wolf badge achievement. Yippee, sounds great! Can you hear the excitement in my voice? I hadn’t really paid attention to what building we were going to until I checked my email again and then realized we were actually going to a building steeped in history in Los Angeles and one I had wanted to visit for a while. Attitude adjustment commence!
The Los Angeles Police Museum is housed in Los Angeles Police Department Station Number 11. Originally opened in 1926, it is the oldest surviving police station in L.A. As we were with a bunch of Cub Scouts, our tour existed mostly of the station’s early history, the jail cells and the vehicles in the outdoor yard. I was thrilled to see a 1958 Chevrolet police car, as well as a 1929 Model A car. On the non-vintage side of things, it was also interesting to see the vehicles involved in the 1997 North Hollywood bank robbery.
While the boys were viewing the display of vintage police uniforms with their den leaders, I caught a glimpse of a special exhibit next to the uniform room. In this central area is the current exhibit on one of the most famous murder cases in Los Angeles history – that of Elizabeth Short, sometimes known as the Black Dahlia. Elizabeth: LAPD’s 65-year Crusade to Capture Beth Short’s Killer is tastefully done. There is little that is lurid about the exhibit, though if you have eagle eyes able to read some of the police reports there is some content that may bother those with sensitive constitutions – I found it more clinical than graphic. Fascinating to those interested in Los Angeles crime history, it includes never before seen information on the case, such as photos, files, memorabilia and other glimpses into the investigation as revealed from LAPD case files. Below is just a sample of the exhibit.
The exhibit closes on June 16, so if you wish to view it, catch it soon and note the unusual opening hours of the museum. It is only open on one Saturday a month, though it is also open on weekdays. However, you can also view it on Sunday, May 20, 2012 as the museum takes part in the Museums of the Arroyo Day. On this day, the Gamble House, Heritage Square, Lummis House, the Pasadena Museum of History, and the Los Angeles Police Museum open their doors to visitors free of charge from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. What a great opportunity to visit such beautiful pieces of Los Angeles history.