The mission of the Petersen Automotive Museum’s Education Department is to serve a wide range of audiences through varied, interdisciplinary educational programs, integrating the study of history, art, culture, science and technology to appeal to all ages, backgrounds, and interests. The Department aims to build the community by being an educational resource for local schools, institutions, organizations and groups, facilitating life-long learning, growth, and a lasting relationship between these public groups and the Museum.
Public Programs are designed to highlight the Museum’s featured exhibitions as well as various automotive topics and are offered in a variety of formats such as: gallery talks, curator’s tours, film screenings, book signings, and hands-on workshops to engage adult audiences in life-long learning and entertainment. Check the home page and our Calendar of Events for upcoming exhibit-related programs.
Docent-led tours are offered to organized groups of 10 or more individuals on a reservation basis. Groups receive a discount and enjoy a one-hour tour led by trained docents. Groups include families, scouts, seniors, car clubs, tourists and interest groups.
Student & Teacher Programs
The Education Department reaches out to school and teacher audiences with a comprehensive slate of supportive programming for students and educators. K-12 education focuses on teaching students about history, social studies, science, technology, visual arts, and industrial design through the automobile. Curriculums are designed to complement classroom teaching and learning by complying with the curriculum standards set forth by the State of California in various disciplines. The Petersen also provides professional development opportunities for local educators so they can successfully connect classroom curriculum with visits to the Museum.
Schedule a School Tour
K-12 guided tours of the Petersen Automotive Museum meet California State Curriculum Standards in Visual Arts, Science, and History-Social Science for most grade levels. All school tours are 90 minutes long and are led by members of the Pit Crew, our volunteer organization of trained docents. Large groups are divided into smaller touring groups of 15-20 students and adult chaperones to explore the galleries. Special hands-on activities and a focused tour are recommended for K-2 classes. Schedule A Tour >
Theme Tours and Lesson Plans
The Petersen offers diverse optional thematic exhibit tours and lesson plan resources to provide relevant real-world examples that can supplement classroom learning before, after, or without a trip to the Museum. Learn More >
Each summer and fall teachers are invited to attend one of several afternoon sessions to learn about our school programs, take a guided thematic tour, and receive important information about applying for the Free School Bus Program. The Petersen offers preview workshops focused on either our permanent Streetscape exhibit or each of the two temporary feature exhibits on display.
Free School Bus
The application period for the Robert E. Petersen Free School Bus Program is closed for the 2013-2014 school year. Please contact the education department for more information about how to apply for next year: 323-964-6386.
More about the Robert E. Petersen Free School Bus Program:
When a Museum visit is not a viable option due to the lack of transportation funds, the Petersen Automotive Museum offers the Robert E. Petersen Free School Bus Program. The Program provides free transportation for a school tour to the Petersen Automotive Museum.
Title I schools in the Los Angeles County are eligible to apply. For non-Title I public schools in Los Angeles County with limited transportation budgets, please submit a letter from the school’s principal or chief administrator explaining the school’s financial situation. Request must be made at least 3 months prior to your desired tour date. Limit one (1) bus per school per academic year. Regular School Tour admission rates apply. Once approved, the school is responsible for handling the logistics of ordering the buses. The Petersen Automotive Museum will pay for the cost of the bus only. Buses must be filled to maximum capacity. Please call your school district’s transportation branch to ask for information about bus capacity and estimated cost.
Free Teacher Admission Card
Educators are encouraged to visit the Museum in advance of their school tour. Apply for a Free Teacher Admission Card to visit the Museum at any time during the Museum’s normal operating hours for FREE. Also includes admission to educational programs, such as symposia, panel discussions, gallery talks, film screenings and book signings by scholars and other experts highlighting subjects introduced in Museum exhibitions.
Youth & Family Programs
From the hands-on interactive Discovery Center to art and science workshops, various programs and services are offered by the Petersen to engage the entire family in the fun of learning and discovery.
On the first Saturday of each month meet us at the first floor between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for our monthly arts & crafts activities.The Discovery Day program is free for Museum members and included in general museum admission for non-members.
Discovery Center - Temporarily Closed
The Discovery Center offers hands-on, interactive displays through which children learn about the science and culture of the automobile. Older kids can experiment with the physical sciences of automotive technology while younger gear heads can race model cars and build their own toy city! The Discovery Center is also the only place where visitors can sit on three actual vehicles: a CHP motorcycle, a Ford Model T, and an Indianapolis racecar.
For more information on Children & Family Programs, contact the Education Department at 323-964-6386 or firstname.lastname@example.org.