- The Spanish Mission Era
- The Mexican Rancho Era
- The early American Period
- The emergence of a new American city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
- The Great Depression
- World War II to the present
Mexican independence from Spain changed the way Californians traded with the world and also triggered permanent ongoing environmental change. The cattle ranching industry affected the land in many ways: livestock fed off local and exotic grasses, spread the seeds across the region, and changed the plant life of Southern California.
The Early American Period
When California became part of the United States, Los Angeles shifted from Mexican ciudad ("city") to American city.
During the mid 1880s, early city infrastructure and government services began to emerge. This shotgun, made in 1847, belonged to Swiss immigrant Charles Louis Ducommun, who trekked across the country on foot and built a successful business in Los Angeles, which allowed him to invest in the railroad, agriculture, and oil industries.
The New American City (Late 19th Century/Early 20th Century)
One of the earlier start-up businesses in Los Angeles was the Auto Vehicle Company, which manufactured this 1902 Tourist automobile, the only survivor from the car's first year of production.
World War II to present
This strikingly designed section features everything from World War II fighter plane models to vintage graphics and an engine emblematic of America's growing industrial power.
Come experience more about L.A.'s colonists and settlers, Native Americans, rancheros, citrus growers, oil barons, boosters, radicals, filmmakers, innovators, and more! To plan a visit, click here.
Scarlett O'Hara's famous "Barbecue Dress" from Gone with the Wind is on public view for the first time at NHM. The dress will be displayed in Becoming Los Angeles for a six-month run beginning December 2014, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of film's release. This newly conserved green-and-white dress worn by Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) to the barbeque at Twelve Oaks Plantation in Gone With the Wind will be featured in a specially made costume case near the exhibition's other Hollywood treasures.