Becoming Los Angeles

Explore how people, place, and possibility helped create Los Angeles.

A richly textured and colorful altar dedicated to the diversity of Los Angeles

Whether you’ve lived in L.A. for your entire life, or are visiting for the first time, Becoming Los Angeles is full of artifacts and stories that will surprise you. Meet the diverse groups of people who made this city their home—drawn to the fertile soil, mountains, beaches, and endless sunshine—and then, over many generations, helped it become Los Angeles. 

Content is provided in English and Spanish. Contenido está disponible en inglés y español.

Entrance to Becoming Los Angeles Exhibition filled with historic images and colorful banners

Entrance to Becoming Los Angeles.

Children looking into viewer to watch movie about cow poop in Becoming Los Angeles

Visitors watch one of the exhibition's videos—this one is about how cow poop changed Los Angeles!

Glass bottle of water souvenir from opening of L.A. Aqueduct in 1913

Souvenir from opening of L.A. Aqueduct in 1913.

View showing the whole gallery of the Becoming Los Angeles exhibition with glass cases filled with historic objects

View halfway through Becoming Los Angeles.

Brown and white taxidermied cow, Corriente breed, from Becoming Los Angeles

A taxidermied cow, symbol of Southern California's ranchos era. 

Close up photo of city model including the L.A. City Hall from Becoming Los Angeles exhibition

Model of Downtown Los Angeles from the 1930s.

Older woman and man in hat looking intently at a colorful altar in Becoming Los Angeles exhibition

Artist Ofelia Esparza (left) with her altar to Los Angeles.

Man and woman using a touch screen interactive in recording booth in Becoming Los Angeles

Leave a message about Los Angeles in this recording booth!

william s hart cowboy costume

From the collections of the William S. Hart Museum.

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Entrance to Becoming Los Angeles.

Visitors watch one of the exhibition's videos—this one is about how cow poop changed Los Angeles!

Souvenir from opening of L.A. Aqueduct in 1913.

View halfway through Becoming Los Angeles.

A taxidermied cow, symbol of Southern California's ranchos era. 

Model of Downtown Los Angeles from the 1930s.

Artist Ofelia Esparza (left) with her altar to Los Angeles.

Leave a message about Los Angeles in this recording booth!

From the collections of the William S. Hart Museum.

ALONG THE WAY, YOU'LL:

  • Learn about a city with far too little, and occasionally far too much, water.
  • Meet the first Angelenos and witness the arrival of the many diverse peoples who made L.A. home.
  • Count each of the neighborhoods that make up our altar, an ofrenda to Los Angeles.
  • Record your answer to the question “What does Los Angeles means to you”, and listen to other people's responses.