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Field trip LAist: LA Police Museum

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Los Angeles a big city with big cultural institutions like Disney Hall and LACMA. And we also have tons of smaller cultural institutions, including several little museums in unexpected neighborhoods. That's where LAist headed on our first field trip, to the Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum. It's in a decommissioned police station that went operational in 1925 in Highland Park.

Parts of it still looks a lot like a police station: the imposing brick structure, the counter in the entryway, the rusting cells on the first floor (we took pictures: check them out in our Flickr pool). There are community offices in the front of the first floor, but the back rooms are full of displays. One room is filled with old sirens, lights and car radios; those you can touch. You can't actually handle the billy clubs or hundreds of styles of handcuffs, which are behind glass (but that's probably a good thing).

Upstairs has a wide open space surrounded by rooms on the periphery. Right now the big room has a few displays: one of two decades of photos from Skid Row, one sponsored by the History Channel, and one from the people who put together the photo book Scene of the Crime from the LAPD archives. The side rooms are dedicated to the mundane (police uniforms) and the dramatic (a horrific 1997 shootout in North Hollywood, the fiery seige of the SLA). You won't be surprised to find a display dedicated to the TV shows "Dragnet" and "Adam-12," complete with lunchbox thermos. And there are guns, of course. It wouldn't be a police museum without a gun room.

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Out back there are some vintage police cars, which are pretty snazzy, and a police helicopter. That's probably the highlight for the kids. What we loved were the old photos, a scrabbled confession and the notes that told some of the stories of the LAPD. Well worth our $5.

The Los Angeles Police Museum
Open M-F 10am-4pm and every 3rd Saturday from 9am-3pm
Adults $5, Seniors $4, kids 12 and under free