LA Fridays with Bob and Tom: Autry Museum

LA Fridays with Bob and Tom

 Week 28. Autry Museum

This week we visit the Autry Museum of the American West in LA, dedicated to exploring an inclusive history of the American West.  Founded in 1988, the museum presents a wide range of exhibitions and public programs, including lectures, film, theater, festivals, family events and music, and performs scholarship, research and educational outreach.  The Autry was established by actor Gene Autry and presents contemporary and historical exhibitions, year-round programs for children, intellectual forums and Native Voices at the Autry performing arts series, the only equity theater that has focused solely on producing new works by Native Americans, Alaska Natives and First Nation playwrights since 1995.


 The museum is organized into three theme areas:  Religious Ritual, Land and Landscape, Migration and Movement and two mini galleries with revolving exhibits.  The Gamble Firearms Gallery shows the context and place of firearms in the Old West.  Curators grouped firearms by themes: “hunting and trapping, the impact of technology on firearms, the conservation movement and the West in popular culture.”  This is part of the Western Frontiers: Stories of Fact and Fiction Gallery, one of Bob's and my favorite viewing areas.


The museum is located in Griffith Park across from the zoo, admission is free.




Robert (Bob) is a PhD physicist whose career has spanned academia, government and private industry. As a faculty member of the Department of Physics at the University of Tennessee, a Branch Chief at the United States Department of Energy and Vice President of an American International Group Company, his scientific endeavors include radiation physics, environmental research, environmental insurance and nanotechnology.

Originally from the East Coast, Bob was seduced by his sons and their families (and the California weather) to leave Washington, DC after retiring in 2010. While recovering from culture shock, Bob found many outlets to reconcile his eclectic interests. As a member of Senior Scholars for over six years he continues to take courses in a myriad of subjects ranging from film to art history to brain science and finds great intellectual and social rewards in Senior Scholars and the Plato Society.

As a latent artist, he sketches scenes about town once a week with an artist friend from his college days and is attempting to learn to play the electric guitar.

On moving to Los Angeles, he found Tom Jacobson, another recent transplant. They became great friends and decided to explore their new town together leading to over 113 sites in our city. Dubbed “LA Fridays with Bob and Tom” they are happy to share their experiences with others.

Bob lives in Brentwood with Phyllis, his wife of 56 years, an education policy executive. They have two sons and four grandchildren, one of whom plays a guitar a lot better than Bob.




Thomas (Tom) is an attorney who practiced trial and constitutional law in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in 1938 in Bamberg Germany, he was one of the youngest passengers on the ill-fated voyage of the Damned, the SS St. Louis, turned away from Cuba in 1939.

Tom represented local civil rights activists and Dick Gregory and twice argued cases successfully in the United States Supreme Court. In 1970 he was the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Attorney General.

Retiring in 2008, he and wife, Peggy, moved to California to join their two sons and four grandchildren, and enjoy the warm weather.

Tom has kept busy as a member of Senior Scholars and Plato for the last six years keeping his brain stimulated and active. Yoga and swimming have kept his body in shape.