Skirball Cultural Center: Where History Comes Alive in Los Angeles

skirball cultural center

Exploring the Skirball Cultural Center

The Skirball Cultural Center, located in Los Angeles, offers a unique and enriching experience that brings history to life. Let’s delve into the history and founding of the Skirball Cultural Center and explore its remarkable architecture and design.

History and Founding of the Skirball Cultural Center

The Skirball Cultural Center was founded by Uri D. Herscher, a visionary leader who guided the institution from its inception in the early 1980s until June 2020. Under Herscher’s guidance, the center opened its doors to the public in April 1996, quickly becoming the largest Jewish cultural institution in the nation, with an annual visitorship of over 600,000 (Skirball Cultural Center).

The center owes its name to Jack H. Skirball, a philanthropist and advocate for Jewish education and culture. Skirball provided the initial funding that enabled Herscher to develop the center, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come (Skirball Cultural Center).

Architecture and Design of the Skirball Cultural Center

The Skirball Cultural Center’s campus was designed by the world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. Safdie’s design took into account the site’s topography, resulting in a fifteen-acre campus comprised of building clusters, outdoor courtyards, and landscaped ravines. This unique design seamlessly integrates the buildings with the surrounding landscape, creating a contemplative and immersive environment for visitors (Skirball Cultural Center).

Moshe Safdie, known for his architectural works worldwide, including cultural institutions, neighborhoods, and public parks, approached the Skirball Cultural Center as his first cultural project in the United States. His design showcases his expertise in creating spaces that harmonize with nature and provide a serene setting for exploration and discovery (Skirball Cultural Center).

The Skirball Cultural Center stands as a testament to Dr. Uri D. Herscher’s innovative business model, which generated diverse sources of earned income. This model has allowed the center to operate debt-free and ensure its long-term financial stability, enabling continued operations, exhibitions, and programs (Skirball Cultural Center).

Visiting the Skirball Cultural Center allows you to witness the captivating blend of history, culture, and architecture, making it a must-visit destination for individuals and families seeking an immersive experience in Los Angeles.

Visiting the Skirball Cultural Center

If you’re looking for a place to immerse yourself in history and culture in Los Angeles, the Skirball Cultural Center is a must-visit destination. In this section, we’ll provide you with all the essential information you need to plan your visit, including the operating hours and admission details, visitor policies and amenities, as well as location and parking information.

Operating Hours and Admission

The Skirball Cultural Center welcomes visitors from Tuesday to Friday, from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and on Saturdays to Sundays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please note that they are closed on Mondays. These hours provide ample time for you to explore the center’s exhibits and programs at your own pace.

General admission to the Skirball Cultural Center is $18 for adults, $13 for seniors, full-time students with ID, and children aged 2-17. However, admission is free for members and children under 2. Additionally, the center offers free admission to all visitors on Thursdays, allowing everyone to experience the cultural richness it has to offer.

To make the most of your visit, it’s worth noting that the Skirball Cultural Center also participates in the Museums on Us program, which provides FREE or discounted admission to Bank of America cardholders on the first weekend of each month. However, reservations are recommended, and additional guests will need to purchase tickets separately. This program is a great opportunity to explore the center’s offerings while enjoying some savings (Skirball Cultural Center).

Visitor Policies and Amenities

When visiting the Skirball Cultural Center, there are certain visitor policies in place to ensure a pleasant and enjoyable experience for all. These policies cover various aspects, including bringing food, securing personal items in lockers, service animals, wheelchair availability, and more. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these policies before your visit to make sure you’re prepared.

The center offers several amenities to enhance your visit. If you prefer to bring your own food, you can enjoy a picnic in designated outdoor areas. For those driving electric vehicles, the Skirball Cultural Center provides electric vehicle charging stations. Additionally, lockers are available for securing personal items during your visit. These amenities aim to make your visit more convenient and comfortable.

Location and Parking Information

Located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049, the Skirball Cultural Center is easily accessible for visitors. Its prime location allows you to combine your visit with other attractions in the city.

Parking is available on-site at the center. The parking fee is $20 per vehicle, with a reduced rate of $10 per vehicle after 3:00 pm on weekdays and all day on weekends. However, parking is free for members. Keep in mind that availability is subject to capacity, so it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a parking spot.

If you prefer to use public transportation, the Skirball Cultural Center is also accessible via Metro Bus Line 233. Check the Metro website for the most up-to-date information on routes and schedules.

For any inquiries or additional information, you can contact the Skirball Cultural Center at (310) 440-4500 or via email at The friendly staff will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.

With its rich history, engaging exhibitions, and vibrant programs, the Skirball Cultural Center offers a unique and enriching experience for visitors of all ages. Plan your visit today and immerse yourself in the cultural tapestry of Los Angeles.

Exhibitions at the Skirball Cultural Center

The Skirball Cultural Center offers a rich array of exhibitions that showcase diverse themes and artistic expressions. Visitors can explore both popular and permanent exhibits, as well as look forward to upcoming and special exhibitions.

Popular and Permanent Exhibits

One of the most beloved and acclaimed permanent exhibits at the Skirball Cultural Center is Noah’s Ark. This immersive and interactive exhibit brings the biblical story of Noah’s Ark to life, inviting visitors to embark on a creative journey filled with animals, storytelling, and hands-on activities. Noah’s Ark is a must-see for families and individuals of all ages, providing an engaging and educational experience.

Upcoming and Special Exhibitions

The Skirball Cultural Center regularly presents a diverse range of exhibitions that captivate and inspire visitors. Currently, visitors can explore the thought-provoking exhibit The American Library by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, which will be on view through September 1, 2024. This exhibition reflects on the concept of democracy, freedom of speech, and the power of books to connect people across cultures and generations.

Another notable exhibition is Common Ground, on view through January 5, 2025. This exhibit explores the history and experiences of various immigrant communities in the United States, emphasizing the shared humanity and struggles that unite us all. Through personal stories, artifacts, and multimedia presentations, Common Ground encourages visitors to reflect on the importance of inclusivity, empathy, and understanding in our society (Skirball Cultural Center).

Looking ahead, the Skirball Cultural Center has an exciting exhibition titled Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak scheduled to open on April 18, 2024. This exhibition celebrates the imaginative and enchanting work of Maurice Sendak, the renowned author and illustrator of beloved children’s books such as “Where the Wild Things Are.” Visitors will have the opportunity to explore Sendak’s creative process, view original artwork, and delve into the magical worlds he created through his illustrations.

The Skirball Cultural Center continuously curates engaging and thought-provoking exhibitions that offer unique perspectives on art, history, culture, and society. Whether you’re interested in immersing yourself in the permanent exhibits or exploring the latest special exhibitions, the Skirball Cultural Center provides a dynamic and enriching experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.

Programs and Events at the Skirball Cultural Center

The Skirball Cultural Center offers a diverse range of programs and events that cater to individuals and families of all ages and backgrounds. These offerings aim to inspire connections with one another and the world, while promoting hope, discovery, and connection through unique experiences. Let’s explore some of the programs and events available at the Skirball Cultural Center.

Multigenerational Offerings

The Skirball Cultural Center provides a wide array of multigenerational programs, ensuring that there is something for everyone to enjoy. These programs include talks, films, concerts, public tours, and classes for adult learners. It’s a wonderful opportunity for individuals and families to engage with art, culture, and ideas in a vibrant and inclusive environment.

Whether you’re interested in attending a thought-provoking lecture, experiencing a live musical performance, or participating in an interactive workshop, the Skirball Cultural Center has something to offer. These multigenerational offerings foster dialogue, encourage learning, and create memorable experiences that can be shared across generations.

Skirball Cultural Center Membership

Becoming a member of the Skirball Cultural Center provides numerous benefits and exclusive access to special programming. Membership allows you to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural community of the Skirball. It’s a way to support the center’s mission and enjoy the perks of being a valued member.

As a member, you gain benefits such as free admission to exhibitions, priority access to programs and events, discounts at the Skirball Café and Gift Shop, and exclusive invitations to member-only events. Additionally, membership provides the satisfaction of supporting the Skirball Cultural Center’s educational initiatives and diverse programming.

To learn more about the membership options and the various benefits they offer, visit the Skirball Cultural Center’s official website. By becoming a member, you not only gain access to an array of engaging programs and events but also contribute to the center’s mission of promoting cultural understanding and connection.

The Skirball Cultural Center strives to provide an enriching experience for visitors through its engaging programs and events. Whether you’re looking for educational opportunities, cultural immersion, or simply a fun outing with your family, the Skirball Cultural Center offers a multitude of options to choose from. Check their website regularly for upcoming events, exhibits, and new programs, and make the most of your visit to this vibrant cultural hub.

The Mission and Values of the Skirball Cultural Center

At the heart of the Skirball Cultural Center’s mission is a commitment to celebrating discovery, hope, and human connections. The center aims to build a more just society by fostering a sense of community and seeking human connection (Skirball Cultural Center). Guided by Jewish traditions and American democratic ideals of freedom and equality, the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles has become one of the world’s most dynamic Jewish cultural institutions.

Guiding Jewish Values

The Skirball Cultural Center operates under six essential Jewish values, each deeply rooted in Jewish heritage. These values shape the center’s approach to programming and community engagement:

  1. Welcoming the Stranger: The Skirball Cultural Center embraces the concept of “hachnasat orchim,” welcoming and embracing the stranger. This value promotes inclusivity, understanding, and empathy towards all individuals, regardless of their background or beliefs.

  2. Honoring Memory: The Skirball Cultural Center recognizes the importance of memory in preserving and passing on cultural heritage. It honors the memory of the past through exhibitions, educational initiatives, and artistic expressions that reflect the experiences and contributions of diverse communities.

  3. Seeking Learning: Education and lifelong learning are central to the Skirball Cultural Center’s mission. Through a wide range of programs, the center fosters intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and personal growth, inviting visitors to explore Jewish history, culture, and values.

  4. Pursuing Justice: Inspired by the Jewish value of “tzedek,” the Skirball Cultural Center promotes social justice and equity. It strives to address issues of inequality, prejudice, and discrimination through exhibitions, programs, and partnerships that encourage dialogue, understanding, and action.

  5. Building Community: The Skirball Cultural Center serves as a gathering place, fostering a sense of belonging and connection among individuals and communities. It provides a space for dialogue, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas, strengthening bonds and promoting mutual respect.

  6. Showing Kindness: The value of “chesed,” or kindness, guides the Skirball Cultural Center’s interactions with visitors, staff, and the larger community. It encourages acts of compassion, empathy, and generosity, creating an environment that is welcoming and supportive.

Educational Initiatives and Partnerships

Education is a cornerstone of the Skirball Cultural Center’s mission. The center offers a wide range of educational initiatives and programs that engage visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Through interactive exhibitions, workshops, performances, and lectures, the center aims to inspire curiosity, promote understanding, and encourage a lifelong love of learning.

The Skirball Cultural Center also collaborates with schools, community organizations, and cultural institutions to extend the reach of its educational programs. These partnerships enable the center to create meaningful connections and enrich the educational experiences of diverse audiences.

Additionally, the Skirball Cultural Center offers resources for educators, including curriculum materials and professional development opportunities. These resources support teachers in integrating Jewish history, culture, and values into their classrooms, fostering dialogue and promoting cultural understanding.

By upholding these guiding Jewish values and investing in educational initiatives and partnerships, the Skirball Cultural Center continues to be a vibrant cultural institution that celebrates diversity, promotes dialogue, and enriches the lives of individuals and communities.

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