The Venice Heritage Museum has just launched a community-supported campaign on INDIEGOGO to help fund the first-ever museum for Venice!  Watch the video above, view message from VHF below, and join their campaign.


The Venice Heritage Foundation (VHF), run by native Venetians and longtime locals, kicks off an Indiegogo fundraising campaign today. The funds will support their mission to build a museum dedicated to Venice’s diverse cultural heritage, preserving and celebrating the history of Venice, California for generations to come.

The Venice Heritage Museum (VHM) will have a “campus-like” atmosphere and will be a place for locals and tourists to experience more than a century’s worth of stories, art collections, and archives from one of the country’s most innovative and culturally diverse communities—Abbot Kinney’s Venice-of-America.

A rendering of the historic Tokio Station and Red Car museum spaces in Venice of America Centennial Park. Image courtesy of Venice Heritage Museum & the Studio for Environmental Architecture.

In a recent Venice Living magazine article VHF Board Secretary, Kristina von Hoffmann, explains “…Venice is a mecca that competes only with Disneyland as the top attraction for tourists in Southern California. Yet for far too long what’s been missing is a museum…” The city is world-renowned for its unique cultural appeal—spanning art, music, skate, surf, and more—as well as its boardwalk, commercial districts, and canals, drawing 10 million visitors annually (as of 2015). Now this historic city is set to get a long overdue museum to document the stories of its people, places, and events.

“Most people are very surprised to hear that a storied city like Venice does not have its own museum. We’re not only going to showcase the historic images and treasures collected by our board members and partners—we’re aiming to preserve facets of our history, including the stories of community members past and present that are otherwise at risk of being forgotten,” said Grant Francis, VHF Board President and retired shop teacher of 35 years at Venice High School.

Many already recognize Venice as the birthplace of countless cultural and countercultural movements such as the music of The Doors, the architecture of Frank Gehry, the home of Muscle Beach, the Light and Space art movement, the boundary-pushing style of the Dogtown and Z-Boys skateboarders—not to mention the generations of diverse community members who have all called Venice home. VHM Board member and Venice native, Takara Tomeoni Adair, opines, “Our mission is to reflect Venice’s varied subcultures in an accurate and meaningful way, not letting them be drowned out by convenience or gentrifying their voices. Venetians have great range and there is a place for every level of expression. Museum visitors should leave having gained knowledge of Venice’s culture, and also having something to ponder.”

The community-supported Indiegogo fundraising campaign, which goes live today, will move the museum from concept to reality. Attractive perks include Venice-themed art, apparel, naming opportunities, and other exceptional donor benefits. The campaign creates an opportunity for community members, history lovers, and visitors alike to glimpse the museum’s plans, and to contribute to, and celebrate the preservation of Venice’s essential legacy in the fabric of Los Angeles.

The project has the endorsement of Senator Diane Feinstein, Assemblymember Autumn Burke, Senator Ben Allen, LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin (District 11), and the Venice Neighborhood Council, as well as partnerships with fellow community-led groups and organizations such as Beyond Baroque, Save Venice, and the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee.

Indiegogo campaign page:

Venice Heritage Museum online:

Venice Heritage Museum Plans

The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks has conditionally approved the Foundation’s plan to build the Venice Heritage Museum in Centennial Park situated at Abbot Kinney Blvd. and Venice Blvd., which the museum team calls “The Gateway to Venice.” In order to obtain the lease to Centennial Park, the VHF must first present proof of sufficient funds to complete and operate Phase I of their business plan.

Phase I outlines the restoration of an original Pacific Electric Red Car trolley (that will serve as the primary museum structure), and its transportation to the museum campus site. This historical gem was generously donated to the VHF by the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, Calif., where the trolley is currently housed. The Red Car once took passengers from Downtown L.A. all the way to the beach on the Venice Short Line, right along Venice Boulevard where Centennial Park stands today.

An illustrated site plan of the future Venice Heritage Museum campus in Venice of America Centennial Park. Image courtesy of Venice Heritage Museum

Once the museum inside the trolley car is established, the team plans to add an additional structure that will replicate the Tokio Station trolley ticketing booth that once stood in front of Venice City Hall (now home to the literary arts organization, Beyond Baroque). This nostalgic building has also been donated to the team—in this case by their project architect, David Hertz and the Studio of Environmental Architecture, who is providing a local historic bungalow from a client’s project that would otherwise be demolished. Tokio Station is an important addition to the museum campus as it will provide archival space and serve as a meeting center for the community. Timing is critical to ensure VHF is able to receive the donated building.

In total, the Venice Heritage Foundation fundraising campaign must collect $115,000 to execute Phase I, and prepare for Phase II of their business plan. The goal is to obtain the lease to Centennial Park from the Department of Recreation and Parks by late summer, to then begin off-site preparations, followed by onsite construction commencing at Centennial Park in early 2022.

About the Venice Heritage Foundation

The Venice Heritage Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded for the specific purpose of building the city’s first-ever museum. Their mission is to create an inclusive museum that preserves, showcases, and nurtures Venice’s historical legacy. VHF aims to establish a public campus that enriches the lives of current and future generations of Venetians and visitors through educational exhibitions, events, and activities, improving the present with the past.

Their multigenerational volunteer Board of Directors is composed of born and raised Venetians, historians, artists, educators, event planners, and other creative types who all share a passion for the preservation of Venice history, past and present.

To request interviews or additional press materials on the Venice Heritage Museum or Foundation, please contact Fly PR: T. 323-667-1344 E. [email protected] or E. [email protected] or [email protected].

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