Petersen Automotive Museum

Last week, I took Elliot to LA for spring break. We had planned to go see the LaBrea Tar Pits - but when we got there, we decided to first check out the Petersen Automotive Museum across the street. 

We never made it to the Tar Pits. The Petersen Museum is amazing.

 Elliot boards the first exhibit at the Petersen: an electric streetcar.

Elliot boards the first exhibit at the Petersen: an electric streetcar.

I'll admit, I was initially skeptical. I mean, I'm making a movie about how gas-burning cars are ruining my son's future - and it seemed likely this place was just going to glorify the internal combustion engine. But the very first exhibit (which Elliot got to climb around in) was a streetcar. And - unlike the Mercedes Museum (which I got to visit last year) - the Petersen had plenty of electric cars on display. Like this one from 1917:

 Elliot fell in love with the 1917 Detroit Electric - an all-electric car designed for affluent ladies, and the first to include curved glass.

Elliot fell in love with the 1917 Detroit Electric - an all-electric car designed for affluent ladies, and the first to include curved glass.

And the pièce de résistance for Elliot - one of the only un-crushed EV-1 cars on the planet:

 OMG: an actual EV1! (Minus the motor and drive-train. Thanks, GM.)

OMG: an actual EV1! (Minus the motor and drive-train. Thanks, GM.)

The museum also had some wonderful life-sized replicas of early 20th century LA streetscapes, markets, and gas stations.

 Elliot gives an olde time gas station the thumbs-down. Looks pretty - but still worse than poop.

Elliot gives an olde time gas station the thumbs-down. Looks pretty - but still worse than poop.

The bookstore even had a DVD of a PBS series called E2, about  sustainable transportation. (They didn't, however, have any EVs among their matchbox cars for sale.)

My only beef was with the interactive kids display on the 3rd floor, which included a section about powering automobiles into the future. The section on battery electric cars (situated in between bio-fuels and hydrogen on the road to a clean-energy future) featured the EV1 and some classic "un-marketing" by Saturn/GM: phrases like "electric cars are expensive" did their best to discourage anyone from getting too enthusiastic. I was so mad, I forgot to take a photo.

But I did take a photo of Elliot next to the giant matchbox car racetrack. We raced three cars, and the Lamborghini won. (Surprise, surprise!)

 Elliot races matchbox cars at the Petersen Automotive Museum in L.A.

Elliot races matchbox cars at the Petersen Automotive Museum in L.A.