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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More