The William S. Hart Museum is the beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival style Mansion atop the hill in William S. Hart Park. Construction started on the retirement home of the famous silent film star in 1926. When the mansion was finished later the next year, Bill Hart moved in with his younger sister Mary Ellen, and lived the remaining 20 years of his life here. The incredible 22-room mansion today displays Hart's collection of Western artwork, Native American artifacts, mementos from early Hollywood, and personal furnishings and effects.
Guests may visit the Hart Mansion on 30-minute guided tours, which start on the hour and half hour during the Museum's hours of operation. As Bill Hart's gift to the public, these tours are completely free - guests need only wait outside the front door of the Mansion until the next tour begins. The tour guides open the door and welcome guests inside at the start of each tour.
Once through the mansion's iconic redwood front door, you will step back in time to the days of silent film star, William S. Hart, and you will experience the luxuries and amenities of his beautiful 1920s-era home. The mansion features Bill Hart's personal possessions - his collection of art by renowned artists (and good friends) Charles Russell, James Montgomery Flagg, and Joe de Yong, his collection of Native American artifacts including an impressive array of baskets and Navajo rugs, his furnishings and home amenities, and even his daily and formal flatware, which sit on the cowboy movie star's dining tables.
As part of the tour, you spend some time in the formal dining room, the service area, and the grand foyer on the first floor before heading up the stunning “floating” staircase to the living room, the guest wing, and the dogs' bedroom (yes, there is a bedroom in the home for Bill Hart's dogs). The Hart Museum's team of incredible tour guides focus on different elements of the Hart home, so each tour is unique and no matter how many visits you make, you will see and learn something new each time!
The William S. Hart Park and Museum is a perfect day destination for your group! Come enjoy a picnic in the large grassy picnic area under the shade of California oak trees, and then pay a visit to the live collection of farm animals in the Animal Barnyard. You can even purchase handfuls of feed pellets for these friendly Barnyard residents. And don't miss the final resting place of Bill Hart's beloved pinto pony, Fritz. His memorial is behind the Barnyard.
After spending some time enjoying the Hart Museum's Ranch House at your own pace, hike on up the Museum Trail and stop by the Dogs Graveyard to see the final resting place for 11 of the movie star's beloved dogs. Continue up the hill and pass by the charming Bunk House, a 1-room structure Bill Hart used as both guest house and game room, and be sure not to miss the American bison viewing station, where you can see the herd of bison that call Hart Park home.
Your walk will take you past the iconic guard's tower, the round structure that bears a remarkable resemblance to a castle turret, before you head through the wide-open wood gates to the Hart Museum Mansion.
The Hart Museum is always delighted to schedule tours for groups of all sizes, but reservations are required. Please call the Museum at (661) 254-4584 to schedule your group for tours of the Mansion. Group tours are completely free. If you wish to reserve other areas of William S. Hart Park, including parts of the picnic area, please call the William S. Hart Park Office at (661) 259-0855.
The Hart Museum is an excellent resource to complement classroom curriculum. With the Museum's focus on California Native Americans, local Santa Clarita Valley history, and early Hollywood history, elementary school students of all ages gain a deeper appreciation of their classroom studies when they visit the Hart Museum. Not to mention, a visit to the Hart Museum is a chance for the students to compare and contrast their modern-day lives with daily life almost 100 years ago!
One guided 30-minute tour is scheduled for each class that visits on a field trip. If more than one class is scheduled, the tour start times for each class are staggered at 15-minute intervals. Each class should have 1 adult for every 10 students. The tours are age and curriculum appropriate, and the Museum welcomes all ages and grades (including preschool).
School tours can be scheduled by calling the Hart Museum at (661) 254-4584 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. School tours are free, and times available are Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 9:30am and 11:30am. A confirmation packet will be sent with information for the date of the visit including times scheduled for the tours, where to park buses, how to reach the Museum's Mansion, and what else to see in Hart Park.
LAUSD schools are encouraged to contact the School Journeys Program at (213) 580-2952 to schedule their visits to the Hart Museum.