Visiting the Streetlight Museum
People often ask me how I find out about so many different places to visit in Southern California and the truth is I don’t often know myself. People tell me things, I see them online and I read about them in magazines. I just keep my eyes and ears open and anything unique I come across I make a mental note to research more about. For instance, I was reading a recent issue of Los Angeles Magazine and I came across a tiny blurb briefly mentioning the Streetlight Museum. What now? LA has a streetlight museum???? Immediately, I looked into it and made plans to visit.
In the heart of downtown is a nondescript government building that houses the Bureau of Street Lighting. Nestled amongst a sea of cubicles is a small room housing the Streetlight Museum. It’s only open the 3rd Friday of the month at 1oam and reservations are a must.
I dutifully made reservations and on a recent Friday I headed Downtown to check it out. There’s tons of construction in the area and it took me a good while to find parking. I rushed into the building, checked in with security and headed to the meeting point where I found myself joining over a dozen other curious citizens. Honestly, I thought I might be the only person visiting but clearly there are several other folks interested in the more unique corners of the city.
We were led to the museum by a department employee and soon came across a timeline of Los Angeles public lighting history. From the bureau I learned that LA has over 200,000 street lights with over 400 different styles and in the museum is displayed a variety of historic lights that date back over 100 years.
It was fascinating to see them up close and personal…and looking so shiny and clean! There’s beauty to be found in even the most mundane objects. About the only downside to the visit was that our guide really knew nothing about the lights themselves. Seriously, his go to answer was, “I don’t know.” If they could find a docent with a passion for these fascinating objects the museum could be one of the coolest spots in town.
As it is, I still loved the museum and it’s well worth the effort to pay it a visit.