Even with one less zero it would have been a significant chunk of change, but at $100 million, the “wonderful, generous” donation announced by the Petersen Automotive Museum is expected to secure its future and expand its displays significantly.
Opened in 1994 by the late magazine publisher Robert E. “Pete” Petersen, the museum has had plenty of struggles over the years, especially when it was operated as part of the Los Angeles County government. Petersen rescued the museum shortly before his death in 2007. But the new donation takes things to a whole new level.
The donation by his widow, Margie, and the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation actually consists of three components collectively valued at $100 million, explained Buddy Pepp, the museum director:
- The 300,000 square-foot museum building, on Wilshire Blvd., at one of the busiest intersections in Los Angeles;
- Petersen’s personal collection of approximately 135 vehicles housed in the building but not available, until now, for public viewing;
- And what Pepp would only describe as a “monstrous” check.