LOS ANGELES, June 22 — When one of the country's premier collections of American Indian artifacts joined forces three years ago with the collectibles of the Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry, the move was officially billed as a merger of equals.
This being Hollywood, however, the storyline was reduced to something simpler: the cowboys were once again battling the Indians.
Guess which side won.
Instead of celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding next year, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian will lock its doors here on June 30. Over the next three years, the 240,000 objects in its collection, many of which have not been out of storage for decades, will be cleaned, cataloged and prepared for a move to a proposed new building next to Autry's Museum of the American West, in Griffith Park.
That is where the Autry National Center, as the merged museum complexes are now known, will celebrate another 100th anniversary next year: the Gene Autry Centennial, a birthday exhibition that, according to the museum, will explore "the Singing Cowboy's influence on myth and history in the American West."