Petersen Automotive Museum Receives $100 Million Donation From Margie Petersen

Apr 26, 2011

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles has received a gift of approximately $100 million from Margie Petersen and the Margie & Robert E. Petersen Foundation, Steven E. Young, chairman of the Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation’s board of directors, announced in a museum press release.

The donation is comprised of a substantial unrestricted financial gift, a matching challenge, the 300,000 square foot building that the museum has occupied since it opened in 1994 and an important collection of cars assembled by the late Robert E. Petersen during his lifetime, according to a press release from the museum.

This gift ensures that the museum will continue to grow in importance as one of Los Angeles’ premier museums, and the largest and most acclaimed automobile museum in the nation.

“I am fulfilling a vision that Mr. Petersen and I shared and planned to do someday,” said Margie Petersen, in a museum press release.  “I am so happy that this day has come and that I can launch the museum into a new era of growth and expansion.  While I expect the resources of the Museum to be available to the world, this gift is especially designed to the benefit of the Los Angeles community where we made our lives together.”

“I am thrilled to make this gift which continues what Mr. Petersen and I began two decades ago, to build the most important automotive museum in the nation,” she added in the press release. “My intent in doing this is to provide the Museum with the necessary resources to continue to enhance its collections, curatorial expertise and exhibitions so that generations to come will be able to forever know the history of the automobile and its role in the evolution of our nation’s transportation system.”

A program of special importance to Mrs. Petersen has been the museum’s Free School Bus Program.  Since 2005, the museum has funded transportation that has enabled approximately 8,000 students per year from the Los Angeles Unified School District, grades K through 12, to visit the museum.

Many teachers have stated that without this program the children would not have the opportunity to explore learning outside the classroom at all during the school year.

“We are ecstatic to receive this extraordinary gift from Mrs. Petersen,” said Buddy Pepp, the museum’s executive director, in the press release. “The generosity that she and Mr. Petersen have shown has been legendary and the entire museum staff is overjoyed by this gift.”

More than 150,000 visitors a year tour the Petersen Automotive Museum, according to the press release. It features one of the largest and most diverse car collections in the United States.

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