LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The oldest museum in northeast Los Angeles has been designated a national treasure, officials announced Thursday.

The Southwest Museum of the American Indian located in the Highland Park and Mount Washington neighborhoods was selected for the designation for “its historic and cultural significance, and its importance as an iconic community landmark,” according to Virgil McDill of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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The Southwest Museum, which is a part of the Autry National Center of the American West, is home to the second largest collection of Native American objects in the U.S., widely regarded as one of the finest collections of Native American history and culture in the world.

The Mount Washington campus features over 100 pieces of rare ceramics in an exhibition that traces the dramatic changes that transformed the Pueblo pottery tradition in the era following 16th-century Spanish colonization to the present, according to officials.

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But the museum – which merged with The Autry over a decade ago – has struggled in recent years to stay afloat financially and currently opens just one day a week, Christina Morris of the National Trust told KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta.

“The building has been underused for a number of years,” said Morris. “It’s such a prominent site and it’s been so meaningful to so many people, it really should be playing a much more active role not just in northeast Los Angeles, but all across Los Angeles.”

Founded in 1907 by archaelogist Charles F. Lummi, the Southwest Museum is already on the National Register of Historical Places at the national level and on the California Register of Historic Places. Both the Southwest Museum building and its Braun Library are listed as City of Los Angeles Historical Cultural Monuments, according to officials.

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Museum officials are asking the public to weigh in on their thoughts about how to best preserve the Southwest Museum site by visiting TreasureSWM.org.