Located right at the entrance to Peppertree Lane, the gentle slope that leads up to the Box Office and entrances, the Hollywood Bowl Museum is a bite-size look at the history and performers over the 100-plus years of the iconic music venue.
Surprisingly, the museum’s first exhibit showcases two stone fossils found on a hill above the stage in 2000. They date back to roughly 15,000,000 years ago, and are a reminder that the Hollywood Bowl is located among the ancient Santa Monica Mountains.
Inside, the museum has brief displays, photographs, programs, and videos showing examples from events that have taken the stage here over the decades: Dance, Pop, Rock & Jazz, Opera, Symphonic Music, the LA Philharmonic Orchestra, and also a list of Film and Television productions (and live albums and videos).
Of particular interest are the early history and the architecture displays, the latter of which features blueprints and small-scale models of what the Hollywood Bowl’s stage has looked like over the last century. Who knew it was once shaped like a pyramid, or that the 1929 design was meant to be temporary—and lasted 75 years?
The many old, black-and-white wall photographs are evocative too—huge crowds of 20,000-25,000 in the open air, looking down at the distant stage—or the colorful retro posters warning pilots to be aware of the spotlights flashing across the Hollywood skies during the season.
As the display lists attest, almost every major music artist (except for Elvis Presley) has played here over the last century. It has also hosted opera, ballet, circuses, presidents, religious revivals, and Monty Python, among others. During the roughly June-September season, over a million people take a seat there.
The second floor of the museum hosts rotating exhibits. Headphones that allow you to listen to recordings are dotted all over the museum, and though some might say this isn’t worth a special trip to see, it’s surely the ideal way to get an appetizer of the Bowl, especially if you’re already coming for a concert.
Summer Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am – Showtime, Sunday 4pm – Showtime Off-Season: Tuesday-Friday 10am – 5pm
Don’t forget to pick up your free historic Hollywood Bowl poster on the way out!
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