Fort Macarthur Museum – Los Angeles, California - Atlas Obscura

Fort Macarthur Museum

A historic fort commemorating the United States' naval history. 


Fort MacArthur is now a small WWII museum located in the yawning corridors of an historic coastal defense battery.

The fort was originally a U.S. Army post that guarded the Los Angeles harbor from 1914 to 1974. The museum was established in 1985 and is housed in the galleries and corridors of Battery Osgood -Farley. The museum is small, the lighting is dim and the knowledge that you are underground lends an air of mystery to the experience. The interior is a little like a labyrinth, around one corner there might be an armored truck, around another a bomb sitting on a cart and around another a fully stocked galley. There is a small gift shop on site which carries a variety of unusual trinkets. It is also possible to walk all over the top of the battery and down into the pit where the guns were housed. This was an active military site so there are no railings and can be dangerous.  

The Fort also hosts different events throughout the year. One of the most popular is the great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942. This annual fundraiser is a reenactment of a controversial air raid which happened on February 24th 1942. That evening several unidentified objects were seen over Los Angeles. This triggered an ordered blackout and response by U.S. Army planes. Nearly 1500 shots were fired into the sky but many people believe it was all a false alarm. The event recreates that night with vintage music, pyrotechnics and a period dance exhibition. 

The Marine Mammal Care Center is housed on the fort grounds, and there visitors can get up close and personal with seals, and sea lions which have been rescued. You can watch the volunteers working with the animals and they are happy to answer any and all questions.  

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