Museums in and around Malibu

The Adamson House was built in 1929 by the Rindge family. Tour groups are taken to the outside second story patio for dramatic vistas of Malibu's crescent coastline. Diana Funaro / TMT

Renowned worldwide for its beach culture, Malibu also has a cultural base of unique local museums including an historical landmark home, a university art gallery, a Native American cultural center and two major fine arts complexes all within an hour or so of its city limits.

Starting on the south side of Pacific Coast Highway is the Adamson House. Built in 1929, this Moorish-Spanish Colonial Revival Style, now part of the California State Parks, is open to the public for highly informative tours. Designed by Stiles O. Clements, this beach home was built for Rhoda Rindge Adamson and her husband, Merritt Huntley Adamson, descendants of the Rindge family, the last owners of the Malibu Spanish Land Grant.

Docents tell dramatic tales of Malibu history, including how the coast guard used the property as a headquarters during World War II and that a shade was constructed to shield their skylight during wartime blackouts. Tour groups are also taken outdoors onto second story patios for dramatic vistas of Malibu’s crescent coastline including the Malibu Pier and Surfrider State Beach.

Also on the property is the Malibu Lagoon Museum, which is currently closed for renovations.

Adamson House

Hours : Wed.-Sat. 11a.m. to 3 p.m. (Last tour leaves at 2 p.m.)

23200 Pacific Coast Highway

Cost: $2 for the house/garden tours

More information: 310.456.9432,

Across PCH on the campus of Pepperdine University is the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, which features historic and contemporary art exhibits, changing every two months. Last year, this 3,000 square-foot gallery celebrated its second decade on the site.

Exhibiting through April 4 is “Jimmy Ernst (1920-1984): A Retrospective.” Son of the famous surrealist painter Max Ernst, this collection of 35 paintings provides an overview of his changing artistic periods from the ’40s when his style reflected his surrealist roots to works from the ’50s and ’60s, which represent his own artistic maturing. These later abstractions resemble crystals or webs, and have been described as depictions of the unconscious with doors opening upon doors.

Frederick R. Weisman

Museum of Art

Hours :Tues.-Sun., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Jimmy Ernst: A Retrospective,” Jan. 10 – April 4. Pepperdine University Campus 24255 PCH

Admission and parking free.

Michael Zakian, museum director

General information: 310.506.4851

Venturing over the Santa Monica Mountains into the city of Thousand Oaks is the Satwiwa Native American Cultural Center, which features traditional arts and artifacts of the Chumash Indians, the first inhabitants of the area. The center is part of the National Park Service and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which was visited last August by President Bush.

After entering through the gates and parking, visitors can walk along an easy 1.5-mile loop trail, which will pass a replica of an ancient Chumash habitat called an Ap and continues onto the main exhibit center. Workshops, art shows and programs are available year round and special events are held on Sundays, which feature Native American storytellers, dancers and music.

Satwiwa (meaning “The Bluffs”)

Hours: Saturdays and Sundays,

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

401 Hillcrest Drive

Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Information: 805.375.1930,

Continuing inland to Brentwood is the great Getty Center complex that opened in 1997 and includes permanent collections featuring Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, 18th Century French royal furnishings and one of the largest permanent collections of European and American photography from the 1830s to the 1990s.

The Getty makes full use of the latest high-tech conservation techniques along with unique viewing facilities. One extraordinary example of this blend of art and technology is the current exhibit of the ancient roman sculpture of Emperor Marcus Aurelius on loan from Berlin for conservation work. The sculpture is shown in a separate room in the West Pavilion, along with video monitors around the walls featuring live action and animation footage illustrating details of the conservation work as well as the mantling and dismantling efforts required to mount this impressive piece. Other current exhibitions include “Images in Light: Newly Acquired Stained Glass” through April 4. The Getty also offers Artist-At-Work demonstrations, Point-Of-View Talks and other music and film events.

Getty Center

Hours: Tues. – Thurs. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

1200 Getty Center Drive

Admission is free; parking is $5 per car.

General information:


Finishing up on Wilshire Boulevard in mid-city is the venerable Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Over the decades, LACMA has offered extraordinary visiting collections from Tutankhamen to Van Gogh. On view this summer

is “Salvation: Images of the Buddhist Deity of Compassion,” Aug. 14 – July 5; and currently, “Erte Costume Collection from the Ballet Russe,” through April 4. “The Ardabil Carpet: A Sixteenth-Century Masterpiece Conserved” shows through May 11.

LACMA also offers concerts, classic film retrospectives and one of the hottest cultural tickets in town, the Institute for Art and Cultures. This forum is the brainchild of Paul Holdengraber who invites renowned artists from various fields to discuss and debate relevant issues.

Los Angeles County

Museum of Art

Hours: Mon., Tues. and Thurs.

12 p.m.-8 p.m.; Fri. 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sat. and Sun. 11a.m. to 8 p.m.

5905 Wilshire Boulevard

General information: 323.857.6000, 323-857-0098 (TDD),

Admission: $9 adults; children under 17 free

Malibu’s art landscape will continue to expand as back on PCH is the original site of the Getty Villa museum, which is currently undergoing renovations and is projected to reopen in 2005, exclusively showing ancient Greek and Roman art and artifacts.