Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

When it comes to natural and historical artifacts, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is unrivaled in the western United States. Nearly 35 million specimens and artifacts spanning 4.5 billion years of history are housed there. This massive collection includes not just display specimens but also extensive research collections kept both on and off site.

The Page Museum in the La Brea Tar Pits in Hancock Park and the William S. Hart Ranch and Museum in Newhall are both affiliated with the institution. The three institutions share a goal of “inspiring wonder, exploration, and responsibility for our natural and cultural surroundings,” and they collaborate to make that happen.

The Natural History Museum (NHM) first opened in 1913 as The Museum of History, Science, and Art at Los Angeles’s Exposition Park. Formed in 1910, the Museum Association was the driving force. Its main building is notable because to its fitted marble walls, as well as its domed and colonnaded rotunda. The original structure was expanded in 1925, 1930, 1960, and 1976.

In 1961, the museum was divided into two separate institutions: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of History and Science. In 1965, the Museum of History and Science became the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, and LACMA relocated to its current location on Wilshire Boulevard. The museum eventually changed its name once more, this time to The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The museum has been working on improving its displays and the overall experience for visitors since 2003. Renovated since its original opening in 1913, the museum’s rotunda reopened in 2010 alongside a new exhibition devoted to the Age of Mammals, which had been made safe from earthquake damage. Dinosaur Hall first welcomed visitors in July 2011. In 2013, the museum Becoming Los Angeles opened to the public, showcasing Los Angeles’s recent past. A year later, in 2013, the Nature Gardens and Nature Lab, both of which focus on the natural history of Los Angeles, CA, were opened to the public.

Exhibits in the museum are always on display on all three levels. Popular exhibits at the museum include those focusing on dinosaurs, pre-Columbian civilizations, The Ralph M. Parsons Discovery Center and Insect Zoo, and the brand-new Nature Lab, which investigates the wildlife of Southern California’s metropolitan areas.

Mineralogy and Pleistocene paleontology are two of the museum’s most celebrated collections, with the latter benefiting greatly from the abundance of fossils recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits. With around 30,000,000 marine biology specimens, this museum is a veritable treasure trove. A warehouse off-site houses one of the greatest collections of marine animal remains in the world, second only to The Smithsonian’s with more than 5,000 specimens. The museum’s archival materials can be found in the Seaver Center for Western History Research.

California Science Center
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