Playing tourist at the Hollywood Museum

I’m born and raised in Southern California and it took a tourist to tell me about this place… probably because its in the heart of the touristy Hollywood and Highland.

My friends were visiting from the East Coast and saw this on a tv show and asked me to take them. Located off Hollywood and Highland, next door to Mel’s Diner is this little museum. Here’s a parking tip: Since it’s right around the corner of El Capitan, park at the Hollywood and Highland center and if you can get validated (Ghirardelli will do it). You can park for 2 or 3 hours for $4… Which beats the $20 parking at Mel’s!

We arrived at 11:30 on a Thursday and walked right in. There’s no ticket booth but a woman sitting at a vintage desk. She explained there’s 4 levels: the ground floor, the basement and 2 upper levels. This museum used to be the office for make up giant Max Factor, and the items displayed are real artifacts donated by industry people.

The ground floor had rooms dedicated to the Blonde room, the Brunette room, the “Brownette” room, and a Redhead room dedicated to the most famous mousy brown hair red-head: Lucille Ball. Sorry, no ethnic room like Asian, Latin, or African Americans. It is 1940/50, afterall.

There’s a room with vintage photos of old Hollywood landmarks, legendary Hollywood stars and vintage media newspapers reporting the rise and fall of Hollywood stars.

In addition there are walls covered with hundreds of autographs obtained by self proclaimed “autograph hound” Joe Ackerman, memorabilia from famous pop culture movies like Star Wars, Star Trek, Hunger Games, Rocky, and more.

The basement is where the monsters, mummies and mayhem memorabilia were held. You’re greeted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and the great horror characters from Dracula, to Psycho contemporary villains from Silence of the Lambs to the Walking Dead.

The elevator was down so we walked up 3 flights to the Hollywood iconic costumes, from contemporary shows like Dancing With the Stars and RuPaul’s Drag Racing, to vintage shows like Beverly Hillbillies, to pop movies like Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

Heading down to the second floor was an exhibit of Academy Award nominees, including animation like the Peanuts. There was an statuette of the Academy Award “Oscar” and statues of the Golden Globe.

The museum took about 2 hours. They have bathrooms on the 1st and 3rd floor, and they were actual bathrooms used by the Max Factor staff. There’s no water fountain and food isn’t allowed, but they offer a coupon for 10% off at Mel’s next door.

The museum is worth a stop, especially if you’re a Hollywood film and tv buff.Opened Wednesday to Sunday from 10:00-5:00.  Parking is $20 if you park at Mels. There’s street parking if you can find it, or park at Hollywood and Highland. It’s $4 for 2 or 3 hours if you get validated at any shop.  Hard Rock Cafe and the Ghiradelli’s will validate.

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