Children's Museum of Los Angeles

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Children's Museum of Los Angeles
EstablishedJune 11, 1979 (1979-06-11)
DissolvedApril 17, 2009 (2009-04-17)
LocationLos Angeles, California, U.S.
TypeChildren's museum
Visitors250,000 (2000)[1]

The Children's Museum of Los Angeles was a museum located in the Hansen Dam Recreation Area, part of the Lake View Terrace neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

It was specifically catered to children, with the purpose of educating, entertaining, and enriching children's lives in the greater Los Angeles area. It was modeled after the children's museums in Boston, Indianapolis and Brooklyn. It opened to the public on June 11, 1979, and was located for 21 years at the Civic Center of Los Angeles.

The museum featured a city street (with cars and motorcycles) with a sewer system that could be crawled through, Grandma's attic with wearable costumes, a large Lego play area, Sticky City consisting of large stuffed fabric blocks with velcro that stuck to each other and could be used for building, a TV studio where children could be camera operators or news anchors, a large photosensitive wall that would imprint shadows when the strobe light went off, a workshop where visitors could make their own Zoetrope animations, and other activities.

Closing and bankruptcy[edit]

Due to the need for space and access the museum's Board of Governors decided to close the museum on August 27, 2000, with the intention of creating two new facilities: one in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, and another at the San Fernando Valley's Hansen Dam.[1] The Little Tokyo facility was indefinitely postponed in October 2002,[2] and while construction of the Hansen Dam facility was begun with bond money in October 2005,[3] the non-profit running the museum was unable to raise sufficient funds to populate the interior.[4]

The museum filed for bankruptcy on April 17, 2009, after investor Bruce Friedman had his assets frozen by a judge at the request of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in March 2009, having accusing him of stealing $17 million from investors. His donation of $10 million was subsequently withdrawn. The museum needed a further $22 million for construction to be completed. The city of Los Angeles had also invested over $10 million.[5][3][6]

Discovery Cube Los Angeles[edit]

The City of Los Angeles entered into a partnership with Discovery Cube Orange County to take over and operate the empty Hansen Dam facility. City funding was allocated in April 2012, and federal funding was approved in January 2013.[7][8] This satellite campus, named Discovery Cube Los Angeles, opened on November 13, 2014.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Children's Museum of Los Angeles Announces Short List of Architects for its Two New Facilities" (Press release). The Getty Trust. September 27, 2000. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013.
  2. ^ Biederman, Patricia Ward (October 11, 2002). "Children's Museum Deferring Downtown Art Park for Now". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Bartholomew, Dana (March 6, 2009). "Children's Museum donation in limbo". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013.
  4. ^ Oldham, Jennifer (June 8, 2008). "L.A.'s big, fun, cool and empty thing". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013.
  5. ^ Doyle, Sue; Orlov, Rick (April 18, 2008). "Museum bankruptcy is official". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013.
  6. ^ Boehm, Mike (June 10, 2011). "Will Children's Museum of Los Angeles ever open?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013.
  7. ^ Kudler, Adrian Glick (April 12, 2012). "City Passes Plan to Finally Start Running the Children's Museum". Curbed Los Angeles. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013.
  8. ^ Clough, Richard (January 15, 2013). "O.C. science center finalizes L.A. museum financing". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013.
  9. ^ Branson-Potts, Hailey (November 13, 2014). "San Fernando Valley's Discovery Cube L.A. opens in once-vacant museum". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 16, 2014.

Coordinates: 34°03′14″N 118°14′42″W / 34.054°N 118.245°W / 34.054; -118.245