The Italian American Museum of Los Angeles, or IAMLA, is located in the historic Italian Hall, which was constructed in 1908 to serve as a gathering place for the Italian community. Today, the Italian Hall is the oldest remaining structure from Los Angeles’ Italian enclave, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The IAMLA opened in 2016, and is jointly operated by the Historic Italian Hall Foundation and the City of Los Angeles.
Although Los Angeles is home to the nation’s fifth-largest Italian American population, the community’s history, which predates California’s statehood, was seldom explored until recently. By examining Southern California’s Italian roots, the IAMLA aims to promote understanding about a region and its history that is a microcosm of the nation and the world.
The 5,000-square-foot IAMLA presents the Southern California Italian American experience with an emphasis on Los Angeles, a story that is inextricably linked to the region itself and represents a unique chapter of the Italian American Diaspora. Admission is free; donations are encouraged.
The IAMLA’s permanent exhibition consists of seven individual color-coded exhibits, which are arranged chronologically and thematically. Documentary-style videos, projected onto large, smart glass panels, provide an overview of each exhibit. The complete exhibition can be found on the tablet attached to each exhibit’s corresponding artifact case. Exhibition content is also accessible online via Google Cultural Institute.
The IAMLA also presents a variety of cultural and educational programming, temporary exhibitions, and events.