Thursday, September 2, 2010

Los Angeles' Natural History Museum 1913 Building restored

Restored facade at L.A.'s Natural History Museum: the Eagle sculpture soars again

I've been to L.A.'s Natural History Museum many times: the 1913 Building was the home of the infamous Discovery Room--a creepy crawly extravaganza known as the bug room at my house.  $100 million dollars later, it's now been redone and houses the new interactive and very modern Age of Mammals exhibition which manages to encompass 65 million years of history in one room.

Age of Mammals at the Natural History Museum
As I wrote in September 2010's Los Feliz Ledger: Among the highlights of the restoration is the return of a picturesque terra cotta eagle sculpture, with 7-foot wingspan, that is dramatically perched above the building’s oft-photographed facade. Guided by 24 pages of original drawings, the architecture and engineering team brought back architectural details, such as the 30 arched windows and glass roof in the wing that holds the Age of Mammals.  The restored windows remarkably brighten the space, giving it a very contemporary feel. Newly opened within the historic structure, the perennially popular Age of Mammals was re-designed, with up-close displays behind glass panels that give visitors a way to connect with the deep past. The room that has numerous interactive touch screens, 38 mammal skeletons and digital shorts that illustrate concepts like planetary geology and human evolution, all designed to make science accessible. More than 130 specimens came from the La Brea Tar pits; the suspended whale skeleton above helps put human size in perspective.

Art glass by Judson Studios tops the domed ceiling of the 1913 Building   

Look up to see the original, stunning art glass ceiling, now brilliant and luminescent once again. Created by Highland Park’s Judson Studios, the restoration of the rotunda’s domed opalescent art glass ceiling was overseen by David Judson, great-grandson of the initial artist.

And there's still more to come at the museum: new landscaping and entrance will face Exposition Boulevard and a new Age of Dinosaurs Hall. All scheduled to be redone by museum's 100th anniversary in 2013.

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