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The Petersen: 2020 Year in Review

Published on Sat, Jan 9, 2021

By: Doug Stokes

2020 provided no shortage of challenges, but the Petersen Automotive Museum - our local vehicular shrine - marched through adversity with creative solutions.


It seems that all we see in the news lately are numbers, including many that are far from great news. 

Well … as you can see here (and justifiably marvel at) our friends at the Petersen Automotive Museum have racked up some numbers that LACar readers across the spectrum should be quite proud of as car people at large. 

We certainly are here.


Like just about every other public meeting place in the country, the Petersen was hit hard by the Corona virus. Museums are, first and foremost, public places. Understandably they were not classified as essential businesses and the Petersen’s lifeblood - thousands of people coming to visit, learn, lecture, and just immerse themselves in a celebration of car culture - was abruptly ended in late March of last year.


As many in the Los Angeles area know and as the record here shows, the intrepid Petersen staff, led by Terry Karges, didn’t just hang a “Closed Until Further Notice” sign on the front door of the place and walk away. 

They went virtual, they went outreach, they even got viral (in a good way!) and most importantly, they went to work to keep their contract with the public intact about as good as any outfit could have under the trying conditions and tough restrictions.  They taught, entertained, and even admired each others “rides” in ways that were as innovative as they were good fun.


At this point, almost a year later, they’re still working, innovating … offering interesting and effective content, outreach, and contact.  And LACar is proudly aware of how they reacted as a team and came to the service of people who have a passion for automobiles that even a terrible pandemic can’t damage.


“All credit goes to our hard working passionate team and the brilliant execution driven by our Marketing Director/COO, Michael Bodell,” was the Petersen’s Executive Director, Terry Karges’ enthusiastic answer when we asked him how they did it.

Following that up with: “In a tough year we were voted ‘World's Best Automotive Museum’ because a talented group of car lovers created a whole new business model and that we’re supported by the best board of directors in the automotive world.” … and we agree.


We can only add, that the Petersen is there for everyone … not just those who live in LA, or California, or west of the Rockies.  As you’ve seen above, anyone, anywhere can (and they did … look at those numbers!) can be a part of the automotive adventure that radiates from that iconic building on Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of the Miracle Mile. 


And when it’s safe we sincerely hope that everyone who can will try to spend a wonderful day at what we’ve all known for a long time to be the World’s Best … the indomitable Petersen Automotive Museum.  -DS

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