Every year since 1977, global citizens unite to celebrate the importance of museums in society on International Museum Day. This year's celebration falls on May 18, 2012 and the theme is "New Challenges, New Inspirations."

Whether we like it or not, Los Angeles is constantly evolving. This year let's move past the challenges caused by the economy and new technology, and allow ourselves to be awe-inspired by art, education and photography at some our best local museums.

After all is said and done, isn't art an expression of what we've been through in the past?

GET CULTURED: BROWSE 15 FANTASTIC LOS ANGELES MUSEUMS BELOW

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  • Autry Museum of Western Heritage

    <strong>Highlights:</strong> The iconic American West artifacts of The Cowboy Gallery. <strong>Hours:</strong> Tues - Sat: 10:00am - 4:00pm, Sun: 11:00am - 5:00pn <strong>Admission:</strong> $10 for adults, $6 for students <em>4700 Western Heritage Way Los Angeles, CA 90027 (323) 667-2000</em>

  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

    <strong>Highlights:</strong> The Dinosaur Hall is an epic experience that is not to be missed. The Butterfly Pavillion is a new and exciting addition. <strong>Hours:</strong> Daily 9:30am - 5:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> $12 for adults, $9 for students <em>900 Exposition Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90007 (213) 763-3466</em>

  • The Getty Museum & The Getty Villa

    <strong>Highlights:</strong> <em>Arii Matamoe</em> by Paul Gauguin and <em>Irises</em> by Vincent Van Gogh. <strong>Hours:</strong> Wednesday - Monday: 10:00am - 5:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> Free, $15 for parking <em>1200 Getty Center Dr., Los Angeles (310) 440-7300</em> <strong>Highlights:</strong> <em>Victorious Youth</em>, a life-size Greek statue and the entire collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities. <strong>Hours:</strong> Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00am - 5:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> Free, $15 for parking <em>17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA (310) 440-7300</em>

  • The Los Angeles County Museum Of The Arts

    <strong>Highlights:</strong> Works from Cezanne, Cassatt, Gaughin, Rembrandt, Miro, Koon, Oldenburg and Twombly. As well as the Urban Light sculpture by Chris Burden and Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer <strong>Hours:</strong> Thursday - Tuesday 12:00pm - 8:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> $15 for adults, Under 18 is free. <em>5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA (323) 857-6010</em>

  • Japanese American National Museum

    <strong>Highlights:</strong> The Little Tokyo museum contains over 130 years of Japanese American history, dating back to the first Issei generation. <strong>Hours: </strong>Tues, Wed, Friday - Sunday 11:00am - 5:00pm, Thursday 12:00pm - 8:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> $9 for adults, students and youth $5 <em>100 N Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA (213) 625-0414</em>

  • The Paley Center For Media

    <strong>Highlights: </strong>The Paley Center comprises 150,000 television and radio programs and advertisements. It's the most comprehensive archive of media from the past. <strong>Hours:</strong> Wednesday - Sunday: 12:00 - 5:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> Free, suggested contribution $10 <em>465 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA (310) 786-1000</em>

  • The Hammer Museum

    <strong>Highlights:</strong> The Hammer features the most works by French satirist Honoré Daumier, outside of Paris. The museum also holds contemporary art works by artists such as Pollock, de Kooning, Warhol, Ruscha. The Hammer also manages the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden. <strong>Hours:</strong> Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat 11:00am - 7pm, Thursday 11:00am - 9pm and Sunday 11:00am - 5:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> $10 for adults, Free on Thursdays to all visitors <em>10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA (310) 443-7000</em>

  • The Museum Of Contemporary Art

    <strong>Highlights:</strong> MOCA comprises seminal works by artists such as Basquiat, Warhol, Mondrian, Pollock, Stella, Schnabel, Twombly, Lichtenstein, Kline, Ruscha, Sherman, Hockney, Rettibon, Motherwell and even Paul McCartney. <strong>Hours:</strong> Mon and Fri 11:00am - 5:00pm, Thurs, Sat, Sun 11:00am - 6:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> $12 for adults, $7 for students <em>250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA (213) 621-2766 </em>

  • California African American Museum

    <strong>Highlights: </strong>CAAM's permanent collection includes paintings, photographs, sculpture and artifacts representing the diverse contributions of African Americans. <strong>Hours: </strong>Tues - Sat 10:00am - 5:00pm, Sunday 11:00am - 5:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> Free, $10 for parking <em>600 State Drive, Los Angeles, CA (213) 744-7432</em>

  • Travel Town Museum

    <strong>Highlights: </strong>The Travel Town Museum is home to a permanent collection focused on the history of railroad transportation from the 1880s to the 1930s. The 17 locomotives on site are legendary. <strong>Hours:</strong> Sat and Sun 10:00am - 5:00pm, Mon - Fri 10:00am - 4:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> Free <em>5200 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA (323) 662-5874</em>

  • Chinese American Museum

    <strong>Highlights:</strong> The CAM is the first museum in Southern California dedicated to the history, experience and preservation of Chinese American heritage. <strong>Hours:</strong> Tues - Sun 10:00am - 3:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> $3 for adults, $2 for students <em>425 North Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, CA (213) 485-8567</em>

  • Los Angeles Maritime Museum

    <strong>Highlights:</strong> The Navy Hall which houses the model of the U.S. Navy cruiser Los Angeles is a must-see of the Museum. <strong>Hours:</strong> Tuesday - Sunday 10:00am - 5:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> $3 for adults, $1 for youth <em>329 West 6th Street, Urban Feet, Los Angeles, CA (310) 548-7618</em>

  • The Museum Of Tolerance

    <strong>Highlights:</strong> The Tolerancenter discusses contemporary prejudices in our daily lives, which is very powerful set against the backdrop of the Holocaust Section. <strong>Hours:</strong> Monday - Friday 10:00am - 5:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> $15.50 for adults, $11.50 for students and youth <em>9786 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA (310) 553-8403</em>

  • The Norton Simon Museum

    <strong>Highlights: </strong>The $750 million collection comprises numerous 19th Century European Art works from artists such as Ingres, Goya, Manet, Corot, and Courbet. The impressionist collection encompasses Monet, Degas Renoir, van Gogh, Cezanne and Gauguin. <strong>Hours:</strong> Wed, Thurs, Sat, Sun, Mon 12:00pm - 6:00pm, Friday 12:00pm - 9:00pm <strong>Admission:</strong> $10 for adults, Free for students <em>411 West Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA (626) 449-6840</em>

  • Los Angeles Fire Department Museum

    <strong>Highlights:</strong> The building itself was the largest fire station west of the Mississippi river when it was build in 1930. The Fallen Firefighters memorial honors all the Los Angeles firefighters that have died while on active duty. <strong>Hours: </strong>Saturday 10:00am - 4:00pm <em>1355 North Cahuenga Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90028 (323) 464-2727</em>