News / USA

Los Angeles Natural History Museum Redefined

Los Angeles Museum Redefines Natural History Museumi
X
August 10, 2013 4:07 PM
In many cities, the place to see old dinosaur bones is a natural history museum. But this kind of museum is evolving, offering objects and exhibits that a visitor would never imagine in a natural history museum. The new exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is an example of how the natural history museum is being redefined. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Museum Redefines Natural History Museum
Elizabeth Lee
In many cities, the place to see old dinosaur bones is a natural history museum. 

But this kind of museum is evolving, offering exhibits that a visitor would never imagine in a natural history museum. The new exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is an example of how the natural history museum is being redefined.  

First time visitors expecting dinosaur bones may be surprised to find live turtles, rats and snakes on the first floor. The dinosaurs live on the second floor along with relics of the past.

Among the museum's newest exhibits is one called "Becoming LA.”  It tells LA’s history from a different perspective, says Jonathan Gillett, the museum's assistant collections manager.   

“Not only are we interpreting natural history. We also, as a part of our mission statement, are interpreting cultural history as well.  So it shows the way that the environment has influenced people and how people have influenced the environment," said Gillett.
 
The collection includes a wooden cross from the mid 1700s when the Spanish established missions in California. There is also a locally made car from 1902.  The history of Los Angeles would be incomplete without Hollywood. The exhibit includes a camera that was used to film silent movies.  Also on exhibit, a costume worn by silent movie star Charlie Chaplin.

“Hollywood was incredibly close to a lot of other natural habitats that could stand in for other places around the world," said Gillett.

In addition to Hollywood artifacts and relics of the past, the museum is also focused on the living, says the museum's Kristin Friedrich.

“In the cracks of sidewalks or in the chimneys of buildings of Los Angeles, there’s incredible life.  And a lot of these species that we explore here find ways to live in the city like we find ways to live in the city," said Friedrich.

There are live plants and animals in an outdoor garden and an indoor nature lab. Friedrich says this is a departure from the traditional natural history museum.

“Traditionally the natural history museum is a 19th century model.  Back then you would put dead things in a cabinet. You would have a text panel and people would walk around and look in a very dark hall," she said.

She says natural history museums are reinventing themselves, exploring themes like conservation and human's impact on the environment.  Tim Waters likes this museum.

“This whole exhibit is an on-going history, and so it’s giving us not just an ancient history but our place and how we form history," said Waters.

His eight year-old son, Wyatt, prefers the older residents here.

“I think the dinosaur exhibit is a little bit more interesting than this exhibit," he said.

The dinosaurs are not going away. They’re just sharing the space with livelier critters.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocidei
X
Elizabeth Lee
August 31, 2015 8:23 PM
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the end of the civil war in Guatemala. During the conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed in what is known as the Guatemalan genocide. Researchers are now collecting video testimonies of the survivors to preserve the memories of what happened to prevent future genocides. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the end of the civil war in Guatemala. During the conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed in what is known as the Guatemalan genocide. Researchers are now collecting video testimonies of the survivors to preserve the memories of what happened to prevent future genocides. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs