Autry leaders, curators, educators, and other staff are available to speak on a variety of topics related to the American West.
Stephen Aron, PhD
Calvin and Marilyn Gross Director and President and Chief Executive Officer
Expertise: Frontier and Western American history, Colonial North America, 19th-century U.S. history, The American West in Global Perspective
Stephen Aron assumed leadership of the Autry in July 2021 after a three-decade career as a professor of history, first at Princeton University and then for a quarter-century at the University of California, Los Angeles. A specialist in the history of frontiers, borderlands and the American West, Dr. Aron holds degrees from Amherst College (B.A.) and the University of California, Berkeley (M.A., Ph.D.). He is the author of How the West Was Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky from Daniel Boone to Henry Clay (1996); American Confluence: The Missouri Frontier from Borderland to Border State (2006); The American West: A Very Short Introduction (2015); and Peace and Friendship: An Alternative History of the American West (2022); and the co-author of Worlds Together, Worlds Apart: A History of the World from the Beginnings of Humankind to the Present (2017, 5th edition). His scholarship, which also includes scores of articles and book chapters, has earned several prizes, been recognized by his election to the Society of American Historians and as President of the Western History, and by his appointment to the Peter and Margaret D’Angelo Chair in the Humanities at St. John’s University.
Aron’s formal affiliation with the Autry began in 2002, when UCLA allowed him to split his appointment and become Executive Director of the Autry’s newly created Institute for the Study of the American West. In that position, Aron oversaw the Autry’s libraries, research, publications, programs, and education departments. He also served as the editor of its Convergence magazine. After returning full-time to UCLA, Aron served a term as the chair of the history department.
Joe Horse Capture
Vice President of Native Collections and Ahmanson Curator of Native History and Culture
Expertise: Native American art, Plains Indian culture
Joe Horse Capture (Gros Ventre) has been in the museum field for over three decades and is widely published in the area of Native American art with a specialization in Plains Indian culture. Horse Capture graduated from Montana State University- Bozeman with a bachelor's degree in art/art history. A second-generation museum professional, Horse Capture has served as a curator at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the National Museum of the American Indian-Smithsonian Institution and was the first director of Native American Initiatives at the Minnesota Historical Society where he led a team who facilitated relationships with regional Native American communities. He has served as a consultant, curator and advisor at several national and international institutions. Horse Capture is a member of the A’aniiih (Gros Ventre) tribe, from Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, north central Montana.
Expertise: Native American history, 20th-century history, American Indian identities
Amanda Wixon (Chickasaw Nation) joined the Autry Museum of the American West in 2017. She is also a volunteer curator at Sherman Indian Museum in Riverside, California, and a doctoral candidate in Native American History at the University of California in Riverside. Her research interests are Native American boarding school histories, Native art, and American Indian identities. She is the co-editor and contributor of the recent publications Indigenous Activism: Profiles of Native Women in Contemporary America and Medicine, Education, and the Arts in Contemporary Native America: Strong Women, Resilient Nations. Her exhibitions at the Autry include Sherman Indian School – 100+ Years of Education and Resilience and she has curated displays in When I Remember I See Red (2020), Dress Codes (2022), and Rowen Textiles.
Associate Curator of Anthropology and Repatriation Supervisor
Expertise: Archaeology, Anthropology, Osteology, California, Channel Islands, Great Basin and the Southwest
Karimah Richardson has worked with Autry Museum of American West's Southwest Museum of American Indian Collection for over 10 years. She is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at the University of California-Riverside. Her research interests include California Indian identity, California and Channel Island Archaeology and their intersections. Her exhibitions at the Autry include Highlights from the Expeditions of Mark Raymond Harrington, Making a Big Noise: The Explorations of Charles Lummis, and Human Nature: Waterways - a collaborate community-based project. She actively seeks opportunities to engage with Native communities and to include their voice and perspective in anthropology and museum practices.
Tyree A. Boyd-Pates
Associate Curator of Western History
Expertise: The African American Experience in the American West: Chattel Enslavement, Social Movements, Civil Uprisings, Film, Religion, Music and Fashion
Tyree A. Boyd-Pates started his career as a Professor of Africana studies at California State University Dominguez Hills and taught introductory courses into the discipline and African American history. Shortly thereafter, Boyd-Pates served as the History Curator and Public Program Manager at the California African American Museum (CAAM) in Los Angeles. During his tenure at CAAM, he has organized several acclaimed exhibitions, including Cross Colours: Black Fashion in the 20th Century (2019), Making Mammy: A Caricature of Black Womanhood, 1840– 1940 (2019), How Sweet the Sound: Gospel Music in Los Angeles (2018), California Bound: Slavery on the New Frontier 1848 -1865 (2018) and No Justice, No Peace, LA 1992 (2017). At the Autry, Boyd-Pates spearheads American history exhibitions and historical initiatives that engage communities across the region for archival purposes, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests across the American West.
Additionally, Boyd-Pates also teaches at UCLA's Luskin Center for History and Policy. Boyd-Pates holds a bachelor's degree in communications (with an emphasis in public relations) with a minor in African American studies from California State University, Bakersfield and a master's degree in Africology and African American studies from Temple University. Recently, Tyree was named both a 2021 Innovation Fellow with the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy and a Civic Media Fellow with the Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC.
Expertise: Collections preservation and conservation
Richard Moll and his staff see to the preservation of the over 600,000 artifacts in the Autry collections by performing conservation treatments, establishing policies and procedures for artifact preservation and collaborating with other Autry departments to ensure the safety, security, and responsible public access to those collections. Moll started at the Autry in 1999 and was promoted to Chief Conservator in 2007. Moll has given presentations and seminars to various institutions regarding the preservation of their own collections, with a focus on firearms conservation. Moll has a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Regina and a master's of art conservation from Queen’s University (Canada). His post-graduate studies
Director of Education
Expertise: American public art, landscape architecture, interdisciplinary approaches to storytelling, museum evaluation
Sarah Wilson joined the Autry in 2013 and has held positions in both the Curatorial and Education departments. She has worked on Revolutionary Vision: Group f/64 and Richard Misrach Photographs from the Bank of America Collection, New Acquisitions Featuring the Kaufman Collection, California Continued, PLAY!, LA RAZA and Out of the Ashes: Snapshots of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Her previous museum experience includes an internship with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and positions at the Bates College Museum of Art and Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History and Material Culture. Wilson holds a master’s degree in art history from SUNY Stony Brook, a master’s degree in arts management from American University and a bachelor’s degree in art history from Bates College.
Virginia Scharff, PhD
Chair of Western Women’s History
Expertise: American women’s history, gender studies, women in the West, American Civil War, history of automobiles, 20th-century American history
Virginia Scharff is a Distinguished Professor of History Emerita at the University of New Mexico. Her books include Taking the Wheel: Women and the Coming of the Motor Age (1991); Twenty Thousand Roads: Women, Movement, and the West (2003); Seeing Nature Through Gender (2003); Home Lands: How Women Made the West (coauthored with Carolyn Brucken, 2010); The Women Jefferson Loved (2010); and Empire and Liberty: The Civil War and the West (2015). Scharff’s books have been widely reviewed, and several, including The Women Jefferson Loved have been named as New York Times “Editor’s Choices.” Scharff has served as Women of the West Chair and Senior Scholar and now Chair of Western History at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles from 2003 to the present. She is a Fellow and former Executive Board member of the Society of American Historians (elected 2004), was President of the Western History Association (2008), served on the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians and currently serves on the Scholarly Advisory Board of the Gilder Lehrman Institute. Under the name of Virginia Swift, Scharff is also author of four “Mustang Sally” mystery suspense novels, published by HarperCollins. She is working on a historical novel set in the time of the French Revolution, featuring four women who meet as students in a convent school in Paris.
Amy Scott, PhD
Executive Vice President of Research and Interpretation, Marilyn B. and Calvin B. Gross Curator of Visual Arts
Expertise: History of the art of the American West, women in Western art, Yosemite, landscape painting
Amy Scott received her B.A. in art history at the University of Kansas and M.A. from the University of Missouri Kansas City while working as a curatorial assistant at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In 2000, Scott assumed the role of Curator of Visual Arts at the Autry Museum and in 2013, earned her Ph.D. in visual studies at the University of California Irvine before being advanced at the beginning of 2019 to her current role. Throughout, she has curated several of the Autry’s signature exhibitions and core galleries including Coyote Leaves the Res: The Art of Harry Fonseca (2019); LA RAZA (2017); Art of the West (2013) and Yosemite: Art of an American Icon (2006). She has likewise contributed to many books and catalogues on the art of the American West including LA RAZA (2019); Art of the West (2018) published by the University of Oklahoma Press with a grant from the Luce Foundation and Paul Pletka Imagined Wests (2017).
The Autry Museum of American West acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). We recognize that the Autry Museum and its campuses are located on the traditional lands of Gabrielino/Tongva peoples and we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.
The Autry Museum in Griffith Park
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462 Located northeast of downtown, across from the Los Angeles Zoo. Map and Directions
Free parking for Autry visitors.
MUSEUM AND STORE HOURS Tuesday–Friday 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Saturday–Sunday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
DINING Food Trucks are available on select days, contact us for details at 323.495.4252. The cafe is temporarily closed until further notice.