Monday, November 30

Visiting an Art? Museum in LA

Today’s Image
The Museum of Jurassic Technology

I’m back at the blog after a long holiday week-end in the US. I was out of town, and, as always, I try to shoe-horn in an art visit when I’m traveling, if at all possible. Being on a short schedule, I didn’t know if it would be possible on this trip.

But, as luck would have it, there were a couple of free hours on one afternoon, and I had made a short list of art venue possibilities if time allowed. I tried to select ones that were relatively close geographically so that travel should not be a factor.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I was in Los Angeles, one of the largest metro areas in world, and traffic is always a consideration. Travel times can double or triple at the slightest freeway provocation. That turned out to be the case, so my plans went out the window.

However, some of the locals said there was an interesting museum nearby they’d been wanting to visit. While it was not an art museum, they did think there was some kind of art exhibited.

I should have known this would be a little bit different. For one, this was Los Angeles, and second, they said it was called something like the “museum of strange things" or something like that. So, we Googled the place, which is actually called The Museum of Jurassic Technology. From the name, I assumed it had something to do with dinosaurs or something but not art.

Their website doesn’t exactly explain what all is there, although it does say “guided along as it were a chain of flowers into the mysteries of life,” as if that explained everything. It also says the museum serves both the academic community with a specialized repository of relics and artifacts from the Lower Jurassic as well as the general public by providing a hands-on experience of “life in the Jurassic.” What on earth?

Well, now I had to go.

It’s tucked away in an old building so unassuming that you hardly notice it. See Today’s Image. It’s so unassuming there was a hand-written sign on the door that said something like “yes, we’re open, please come in.” When we entered, we could barely see because it was so dark, but there was a person at a desk who gladly took our “suggested donation” of $5US each.

I was surprised to see there were actually a good number of other people there, too, enough so that you had to move around each other carefully and say “excuse me.” I wondered how they had heard of this place, but didn’t really want to know.

I am not going to attempt to explain anything, and certainly not everything, we saw. That’s mainly because I can’t. I’m still not sure what some of the exhibits were. For one, it was so dark that you could barely see anything, and reading the placards placed next to the exhibits was almost impossible. The descriptions of the exhibits on the placards, while grammatically correct, made little sense.

One exhibit was a model of a waterfall, with actual flowing water, on a river between Brazil and Argentina where, in the 1930s, there had been an attempt to build a bridge; but the bridge had collapsed, and although there were many attempts by the Sonnenbergs—I think that was their name—to rebuild it, it never happened. There were three “listening stations” that you progressed through to hear this “fascinating” story.

Many of the exhibits are enclosed in glass cases, and you had to look through a magnifying glass to actually see what it is—one was intricate artistic carvings on what looked like an almond.

Another exhibit was the head of some furred creature that looked like a weasel, or maybe it was a hyena, and when you looked through the viewer, you could see--and hear-- a woman barking and making sounds like the animal, or so I assume. And don't miss the one on trailer park culture.

The closest thing to artwork were colorful collages of flowers, flowers in vases, crystal chandeliers, and other “objects” produced entirely from the scales of butterfly wings. Did I mention you had to peer through microscopes to look at each one? There was also a room full of x-ray photos of flowers that you had to look through 3-D opera glasses to see—if you want to call that art.

I won’t attempt to describe other exhibits, other than to provide a link to the Wikipedia article on The Museum of Jurassic Technology.

When you’re in LA, don’t miss it!



  1. Hahaha! Sounds like quite the adventure, if I'm ever in LA I'll have to check it out!

  2. Thanks for the comment! Yes, it was quite unexpected--next trip,I think I'll stick to The Getty, LACMA, or Norton Simon.