Visiting the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Hammer Museum, Westwood, Los Angeles, California.

Last week David and I were down in Los Angeles to see his cardiologist and for a small procedure at UCLA. We were down for two and a half days–just the two of us–and we did some exploring around UCLA to fill the time when we weren’t seeing doctors or in the hospital. I’ve been wanting to visit the Hammer Museum.
I feel a little silly admitting this, but I get nervous taking David new places alone. Especially when I don’t know if there will be easy access to elevators. Also museums can be intimidating because it’s generally quiet and I don’t know how he’ll behave. But I pushed through those feelings of nervousness, reminding myself, David has a right to be in any space–even if he is loud or has a meltdown. Also, I’m allowed to be an imperfect mom who doesn’t have everything figured out. Thankfully, we both did well.
Admission is free and I wanted to see the incredible staircase pictured below. We ventured out and had so much fun! The staff was amazing and even though they are still building a ramp for handicapped accessibility, the staff helped us with his wheelchair and made everything easy.

The lobby staircase was painted by artist Yunhee Min in abstract, kind of surreal patterns.
I thought it looked so cool, I really wanted to see it in person! Isn’t is cool?

There was a super cool coffee bar and restaurant. Maybe we’ll eat there next time we visit!

I think David felt disoriented by the patterns and shapes on the staircase. In general he struggles with depth perception and is cautious when walking across changing flooring or uneven ground. it makes sense the stairs would feel a little overwhelming for him. I loved it though!

I asked one of the docents to snap a pic of us. David wasn’t really in the mood for a picture so I tried to comfort him and she snapped the pic. I love what she captured.

The Armand Hammer personal collection was incredible! There are so many incredible artists represented–Cezanne, Degas, Manet, Monet and Pisarro. I felt a little starstruck.

I’d like to know more about the art I’m viewing but without much time to read about the pieces {since I was chasing David around} I just tried to take it in and enjoy each piece. Also, the space itself was so lovely!

We visit museums when we travel, but we don’t often visit museums at home. I want to do more exploring wherever we are! Have you visited a museum lately? What was your favorite part?


  1. Not recently but extremely memorable is City Museum in St. Louis, MO. The staircase there is very cool too with repurposed conveyor belt rollers uniquely painted.

    “Expect the unexpected. City Museum is a hundred-year-old warehouse in downtown St. Louis in which artists have repurposed the pieces of old cities to build miles of tunnels, slides, climbers, bridges, and castles. There are secret passages and grand galleries. Playgrounds and ball pits. A circus and a train. A rooftop school bus and a Ferris wheel.”

    “City Museum is not done, and it won't ever be. We are always building. None of our construction is behind closed doors. You can see the work and installation in progress. From mosaics to jungles of rebar, art happens right in front of you. You will find something different every time you come.”

    My sister & I joked how it would never be possible somewhere like our hometown of Los Angeles because they would deem it as unsafe. This junk is so cool!!

  2. Love the pictures, and you should never worry about your son misbehaving , there are many children out there that don’t have any special needs , and they are loud and misbehave . You are a lovely family!

  3. I love all the pictures! You are such an inspiration! Your David reminds me so much of our Granddaughter Maya. Thank you for always sharing!! ❤️?

  4. So do I.

    “We visit museums when we travel, but we don’t often visit museums at home. I want to do more exploring wherever we are! Have you visited a museum lately? What was your favorite part?”

    I last visited the Buxton Contemporary in Southbank, just out of Melbourne’s Hoddle Grid and into the Arts Precinct.

    The Bauhaus in Australia exhibition is so excellent.

    On the upper floor there are all sorts of intriguing lights and sounds, causes and effects, toys to keep hands, minds and hearts occupied.

    The lower floor is full of community and exploration. I enjoyed going through the manques and puppets which were in a march through the City into the Buxton – they were created with all sorts of objects.

    Then there were several blackboards full of conceptual and practical material; and plants growing; and multimedia experiments and experiences.

    The Buxton is in the Victorian College of Arts and I spent time there eating Tibetan noodles with chilli and vegetables – it was indeed a vegetarian meal – and also dumplings.

    I am hoping to check the Lionel next.

    Also I am hoping to find a weekday to check the Jewish Holocaust Museum in Selwyn Street, Elsternwick, which is in the south-east of Melbourne near the beach and proximate to lots of cultural worlds.

    The real last time I went to a Museum qua Museum was to see Revolutionaries and Rebels which had been imported/assimilated from the Victoria and Albert Museum on 10 May 2019.

    It shows a lot of the Silicon Valley world and the Swinging London world.

    I was so surprised when I was able to talk about Haight-Ashbery – and they do do the Paris/European student movement and work in fashion and culture and contentious issues.

    There were doors to walk through and audio to try with music from 1962-1975 – prog-rock and all this.

    Again the museum is wide and accessible. There are lots of chill out spots and calm spots and outdoors too.

    There is also the Heide Museum of Modern Art which is in north-east Melbourne and there I went to see Mirka Mora’s work and some very modern artwork of two women and LED and postmodernism and feminist art.

  5. Lisa, I absolutely love your stories about your family but especially about David. I have a special needs son – a little older than David but so similar in so many ways it really strikes a chord. Your book was – without trying to sound dramatic – life changing for me in so many ways – especially in my relationship with my Matthew. I love that you share the good, bad and ugly without apology and am a fan for life. Not to get lost in all this, but your jewelry is gorgeous and I love all my pieces.
    P.S. the museum looks amazing!

    1. Wow Amy, thank you for your kind words. I am so glad my book spoke to your heart. That absolutely makes my day! Sending you a huge hug.

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