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The Hollywood Museum

Home > Los Angeles > Museums | Exhibitions | Cinema
by Beth McGowan (subscribe)
I am a British traveller with a love for writing, photography, and fun! Hoping to share some of my experiences with the world. :)
Published May 20th 2013
A museum with a lot of character(s)
I'd researched pretty much every attraction in Hollywood and written them down and then organised them into priorities and time management. I really wanted to see The Hollywood Museum but after one of my friends said she'd taken one look at it and it looked a cheap tacky rip off, I was fairly skeptical.

After looking at their website, I felt a bit better and after learning that the museum was in the original Max Factor building, my mind was made up. For $15 entry we could spend a morning in the museum and fit something else into our evening. And even if it was awful, I could say I was in the Max Factor building!


I was aware that city pass had a great deal which included the museum and other attractions but unfortunately because I was so set on going to Universal Studios we would not have the time to do all attractions offered and so wouldn't save us much money.

The museum didn't look fantastic from the outside and I could understand why my friend would have looked over it as it's not quite as glam as other attractions.

I was pleasantly surprised. The entrance level had about 4 rooms still set up like they would have been when Max Factor was still using the building. I was ecstatic to see this, the idea that I was standing in the same room as some of Hollywood's iconic people including Marilyn Monroe! Looking in the mirror and on a desk full of make-up I visualised all the great people who could have sat right there whilst getting ready. Suddenly I was well aware I was in Hollywood!
max factor building


Moving past these rooms, there was a photo room. This included photographs of the history of Hollywood to original screen shots of actors including Bela Lugosi and Charlie Chaplin.

Another room included props from Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Lost, Along Came Polly, Alien and many more. I was very impressed by the variety of films as I was a little too young to appreciate some of the screen shots.

After turning back, I actually thought this was the end of the museum. I was a little disappointed but thought it was fair for the $15. As we were about to walk out the friendly staff made us aware that they also had a basement and another 2 levels.

Both levels included more props and to my delight, costumes, from Men in Black, the original Superman, Moulin Rouge and Baywatch. Photographs of celebrities getting their stars were also plastered on the walls with other large movie props including a couple of cars.

An out of bounds level also caught my attention. It was a banquet hall available for private functions. From the pictures it looked amazing. Imagine having your event in the Hollywood museum where you walk in the footsteps of stars of the past. Contact events@thehollywoodmuseum.com for more information.

Finally we headed for the basement or the 'Dungeon of Doom.' Even though this was the part I was looking forward to most, there was something really quite scary about heading down the stairs in the dark on our own! My boyfriend reassured me this was not a house of horrors, then made me jump out of my skin as a man cleaning one of the empty exhibits moved as I went past!

The Dungeons included costumes and props from iconic movies such as Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, The Mummy, Indiana Jones, Elvira and Vampira. This was truly awesome!



Around the corner was a complete set. The cell block from Silence of the Lambs, including the chair that Jodie Foster sat on to interview Hannibal Lector. This was very creepy! It was a definite look over your shoulder situation when you walked down this set.

Every cell included costumes from the amazing The Walking Dead series, to Sweeney Todd, to all the original serial killers including Jason, Freddie and Michael Myers. Finally that chair drew closer and the bars had turned to glass. The cell covered in detailed drawings, a jump suit and the famous Hannibal mask on the bed. Amazing! Definite highlight of the tour!


The great thing about the museum is that you can spend as much time as you like in there. There is so much to see and read up on. I personally, am more of a wow, quick read, quick picture, moving on type person and we were in there a good 2 1/2-3 hours. So if you are the type of person who wants to get their money's worth and read and take in every single item then you could spend a lot longer in there.

Overall, I do think this is something you should see in Hollywood. It has definitely dated but I think that worked in its favour. It was amazing to be in the Max Factor building and learn more about how much detail and thought went into the make up and special effects department and how the technology has changed over the years.

The museum may not hold young children's attention as much as other attractions Hollywood offers. Madame Tussauds might be more of an interactive option however if you are a movie buff and would appreciate seeing some amazing history then The Hollywood Museum is definitely worth a visit.
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Why? For a real feel of Hollywood
When: Everyday
Phone: (323) 464-7776
Where: Hollywood
Cost: $15 standard entry
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