The Venice Heritage Foundation is raising money to build a museum dedicated to the neighborhood’s diverse cultural heritage and preserve its history for future generations.
The fundraiser, which was launched Tuesday on Indiegogo, had raised $9,405 of its preliminar y$115,000 goal as Wednesday afternoon.
Organizers envision a museum with an atmosphere reminiscent of a campus in Centennial Park, where the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks has conditionally approved the foundation’s plan.
The foundation plans to begin leasing the park by late summer, but must present proof of sufficient funds, about $115,000, to complete the first part of its business plan, which includes restoring an original Pacific Electric Red Car trolley to serve as the primary museum structure.
The trolley car, which used to take passengers from downtown L.A. to Venice on the Venice Short Line, was donated to the foundation by the Orange Empire Railway Museum.
Along with the trolley car, the foundation plans to create a second structure that would replicate a trolley ticketing booth that previously stood in front of Venice City Hall. That structure, which would repurpose a local bungalow that had been marked for demolition, would be used as an archival space and meeting center.
The foundation says the museum would be a place for locals and tourists to experience stories, art and archives to learn about the neighborhood, which it notes is the birthplace of cultural movements including the music of The Doors, the architecture of Frank Gehry, the home of Muscle Beach and the Z-Boys skateboarders.
“Most people are very surprised to hear that a storied city like Venice does not have its own museum,” said foundation board President Grant Francis.
“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 Francis, a retiree who was a shop teacher at Venice High School for 35 years.
According to the foundation, the project is supported by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, Sen. Ben Allen and L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, as well as the Venice Neighborhood Council and community-led organizations like Save Venice, the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee and Beyond Baroque.
The foundation hopes the Indiegogo campaign will make the museum into a reality. People can donate at tinyurl.com/veniceheritage.
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