Nestled between North Highland and Hollywood Boulevard, The Hollywood Museum is a hidden gem with a rich history that dates back to its original owner, Max Factor, the legendary make-up artist to the stars. The visionary behind The Hollywood Museum is its founder and president, Donelle Dadigan. Her influence and dedication to preserving Hollywood’s legacy have earned her the title of Hollywood’s most influential woman. Dadigan takes pride in preserving and sharing iconic costumes, props, and memorabilia from films spanning 100 years, as well as representing popular new digital platforms. This year of 2023 is particularly special as it marks the museums’ 20th year anniversary.
Today, The Hollywood Museum boasts four floors of exhibits, offering over 35,000 square feet of exhibit space. The ground floor houses original displays from the old Max Factor Make-up Studio, including dedicated rooms for blondes and redheads, which were used by Marilyn Monroe and Lucille Ball, respectively. The second and third floors are devoted to costumes worn by famous stars in famous films, along with corresponding props and posters. The museum’s collection of Hollywood memorabilia is extensive, ranging from the earliest Technicolor film to iconic pieces like a Roman bed from Gladiator and the gold Cadillac from Dreamgirls.
Since its opening in 2003, The Hollywood Museum has become one of Hollywood’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting visitors from around the world. Initially open only two days a week, the museum now welcomes guests five days a week, offering a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the glamour and history of Hollywood.
Its rich history dates back to 1928, when Max Factor purchased the building that now houses the museum. However, it wasn’t until 1935 that the building was finally opened to the public. Designed by renowned architect S. Charles Lee in the Hollywood regency art deco style, the structure exudes elegance and glamour. Max Factor himself was considered the father of modern make-up. Originally from Poland, he began his career as the beautician and make-up artist to Russia’s Czar Nicholas II and his family. In 1908, Max Factor immigrated to the United States with his family, where he pursued the American Dream. Through his innovative ideas and hard work, he built a cosmetic empire that changed the perception of beauty. The Hollywood Museum now features Max Factor’s world-famous makeup rooms, allowing visitors to step into the history of theatrical and street make-up. It’s the place where Marilyn Monroe became a blonde and Lucille Ball got her famous red hair.
With its captivating exhibits, iconic memorabilia, and commitment to preserving Hollywood’s legacy, The Hollywood Museum stands as a testament to the enduring allure and cultural significance of the entertainment industry.
This article feature is from our annual special edition issue, the L.A. STYLE Magazine Most Influential of 2023.