Woah! The Petersen Automotive Museum Has Just Been Gifted $5m
How’s this for a 25th anniversary present? The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles has received a $5 million gift from the Otis Booth Foundation in order to help “to explore and present the history of the automobile and its global impact on life and culture using Los Angeles as a prime example”. The catch? There’s not a catch, unless you count the Petersen’s offer to rename its History Floor as the Otis Booth History Floor. Seems a fair trade. If you’re wondering who Otis Booth is, he was actually Franklin Otis Booth Jr., a Los Angeles-based philanthropist, investor and an executive at the LA Times. He passed in 2008 aged 84. Booth made his money through his early investment in US conglomerates company Berkshire Hathaway, and in 1967 set up the Otis Booth Foundation, which is known for its multi-million-dollar gifts to local institutions supporting education, the arts, hospitals and youth programs.
Otis Booth also once held the role of chairman on the board of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, which was involved in the founding of the neighboring Petersen Automotive Museum. “We are grateful for the magnanimous support given to us by the Otis Booth Foundation in honor of its namesake Otis Booth, whose passion for the conservation of historical artifacts resonates with us deeply,” said Petersen Automotive Museum executive director Terry L. Karges. “As we move into our silver anniversary, this gift inspires us to take stock and give back to our community by continuing Otis Booth’s vision and legacy.” As an aside, Otis Booth was second cousin and close friend of Otis Chandler, another newspaper executive, whose many interests included classic cars and motorcycles. Chandler’s collection was kept in a building in Oxnard, California – which is now home to the Mullin Automotive Museum, founded by Peter Mullin, also chairman of the Petersen. Now that’s full circle!