A Temporary Closure Isn’t Stopping the Petersen Automotive Museum From Showing Off Its Collection

Starting to go stir crazy? Never been to the Petersen Automotive Museum? Lucky for you, Petersen is offering free digital tours of its famous Vault housing many cars that haven't seen the light of day.

Led by Collection Manager Dana Williamson, the tours will take about an hour each and grant you access to some very rare cars—like never-before-seen rare.

The tour schedule, below, is in Pacific Standard Time, so make sure to set your watches correctly.


Read the full release below:

LOS ANGELES (March 23, 2020) – For enthusiasts looking for digital entertainment during this time, the Petersen Automotive Museum will stream Vault tours for free during its temporary closure. Led by Collection Manager Dana Williamson, the hour-long digital tour will provide rare access to never-before-seen vehicles from the Vault presented by Hagerty®. Each live stream session is themed. The schedule is as follows:

  • Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 2 p.m. PST – Hollywood Themed
  • Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11 a.m. PST – Performance Themed
  • Saturday, March 28, 2020 at 11 a.m. PST – Full Tour
  • Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 2 p.m. PST – Presidential Themed
  • Friday, April 3, 2020 at 11 a.m. PST – Pre-War Themed
  • Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11 a.m. PST – Full Vault Tour

Admission to view online Vault tours will be by suggested donation. Donations allow the museum to continue to maintain its collection and support staff and digital programs during its closure.

Free Vault tours offer enthusiasts around the world an opportunity to enjoy our collection from the comfort of home,” said Petersen Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “These are tough times, but we are happy to give back to the community and fellow enthusiasts by providing a source of entertainment and education.”

In addition to the paid tour, the Petersen is also offering free online educational programming for students during the closure. To purchase a digital Vault tour or learn more about the museum’s free online educational programming, please visit www.petersen.org/online-education.

To learn more about the digital Vault tours, please visit www.petersen.org/vault-purchase. For more information about the Petersen Automotive Museum and its exhibits, visit www.petersen.org.

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View comments on the GRM forums
DirtyBird222 UberDork
3/23/20 4:07 p.m.

This is cool, especially if you've never gotten the opportunity to visit LA, let along this museum. 

gunner HalfDork
3/23/20 6:11 p.m.

I've always dreamed of visiting the museum. To have to the opportunity for a full virtual tour is amazing. Especially the vault.

bmw88rider UltraDork
3/23/20 7:37 p.m.

Oh nice.....bookmarking next saturday. This is a place I want to get to in person. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/23/20 9:58 p.m.

Group tour!

Aaron_King PowerDork
3/24/20 10:15 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

In.  Set a reminder for 4/4 and signed up.

pinchvalve MegaDork
3/24/20 10:50 a.m.

I signed up an donated, but got no information on how to access the event. Not very well done IMHO.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
3/24/20 9:40 p.m.
pinchvalve said:

I signed up an donated, but got no information on how to access the event. Not very well done IMHO.

I was wondering the same thing.  Usually when you sign up for something like that, you get a confirmation email with instructions.

Kevin Maffett
Kevin Maffett New Reader
3/25/20 1:39 p.m.

In reply to stuart in mn :

According to the folks at Petersen- you will receive an email with the link 20 minutes prior to your scheduled tour.  The email will come from gsanchez@petersen.org


bmw88rider UltraDork
3/25/20 3:04 p.m.

Good to know. I have signed up for the Saturday tour. Looking forward to it. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
3/25/20 6:34 p.m.
Kevin Maffett said:

In reply to stuart in mn :

According to the folks at Petersen- you will receive an email with the link 20 minutes prior to your scheduled tour.  The email will come from gsanchez@petersen.org


Good to know.  It was a little confusing as to what time the tours start since they listed them in pacific standard time instead of daylight savings time.

Patrick MegaDork
3/25/20 8:30 p.m.

In for Friday, Saturday and next Friday 

pinchvalve MegaDork
3/28/20 1:04 p.m.

Nope, never got a confirmation or a link, despite signing up and making a dontaion. Seems liks it might be a scam.

pinchvalve MegaDork
3/28/20 1:08 p.m.

You have to email gsanchez@petersen.org to get the link.  

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
3/28/20 1:59 p.m.

I got the email notification from Ms. Sanchez so it worked for me.  The Vault tour was pretty good, although not long enough - they have so many cars the host had to skim over the collection pretty quickly to fit it into one hour.

Patrick MegaDork
3/28/20 1:59 p.m.

I get the links emailed an hour and 20 minutes before each tour I signed up for

Danny Shields
Danny Shields HalfDork
3/28/20 2:17 p.m.

I signed up for today's tour, received the link right on schedule, and enjoyed the tour.  

PST is three hours behind Eastern Daylight Time.smiley

An hour certainly doesn't provide enough time to cover all the cars, but I gather that each scheduled tour is different, so you could come back and watch the other tours to see more.

I have to wonder, how many of those cars, at any given time, have a dead battery?

bmw88rider UltraDork
3/28/20 2:45 p.m.

It was a really good tour. 250 cars in 60 minutes means a lot of skimming. Just wetted my appetite for spending a full day there when I'm in LA next.

Patrick MegaDork
3/28/20 3:38 p.m.

In reply to Danny Shields :

Yesterday he tried to start one and the battery was not good enough to crank it over.  Part of me loves museums, most of me is sad the cars just sit there under plastic

chandler PowerDork
3/29/20 5:28 a.m.

I watched one last week, it was pretty good. Surprised how few cars I recognized. We've been twice, once for the Hot Wheels display in '06 once for the VW(?) display in '11. Want to go again! 

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