Aviary on top of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Culver City
[file also under places in books]
As many of you are pondering doing the walk, bike, run, skate, just don’t drive event that is coming up this weekend on the 9th, CicLAvia, you may be wondering what there is to do in Culver City. Better yet, what can you do to take a break from the sun? How about a visit to my absolute favorite place in Los Angeles, which just so happens to be on the route? (I will talk about CicLAvia in a post coming up later in the week.)
The greater Los Angeles area is home of hundreds of museums. Museums that are filled with Impressionists, Dadaists, aircraft, fossils, and sea stars you can hold in your bare hands. I want to mention the one museum that holds none these things, an indescribable oxymoron called the Museum of Jurassic Technology. When someone asks me what the MJT is, even after a handful of visits, I do not know how to answer them. The book Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler whose premise is to find out what the Museum of Jurassic Technology is, ends up raising more questions than it gives answers. The museum makes you feel perplexed and with the thought that David Hildebrand Wilson, the co-founder, is perhaps the single greatest genius who has graced the streets of Los Angeles.
The website gives this as an explanation of what the Museum of Jurassic Technology is:
“..an educational institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic.”
I hope this whets your appetite.
What will you find when you open the door on Venice and Badgley in Culver City? If you responded teeth from a Lesothosaurus or the bones of an aquatic animal that once swam the Western Interior Seaway, commonly associated with the lower jurassic period, you would be dead wrong. If you responded a mounted horn that once grew from a woman’s head or an exhibit around the superstitions of the children’s game cat’s cradle you would be right.
How does this place make the connection between dinosaurs and curiosities? The MJT seems to have its roots in natural history and science, it uncovers a species of bat that can pass through lead or that holograms were actually created by a contemporary of Galileo Galilei. Then there are exhibits that go in a seemingly different direction like room that is filled with dioramas of winnebagos and the flotsam and jetsam of the nomadic life. How did we get from Squalicorax to the trailer park? Walking through the space, doubt of truth starts to set in and you start to wonder if it is all just a yarn created by a man who just wants to market his art and stories. At a certain point in the exhibition layout there is a part where the guests inevitably start to laugh, if you stay in the main room long enough you can hear it happen several times over.
Does this place uncover unknown wonders of the world or is all of this just one man’s imagination? Let me know if you have discovered the answer.
Location: 9341 Venice Blvd, Culver City
Hours: Thursday, 2:PM to 8:PM, Friday-Sunday, 12:PM to 6:PM
More information on their website.
If you can find it, I recommend the tea room to ruminate over the exhibits. Donate a couple bucks for tea and cookies. In the photo for this post, you see a quiet aviary, but this place has now become so overrun with birds you feel like you are in a Hitchcock film.
[Getting there: Metro 33, 733. Big Blue Bus 12, Culver City Bus 1. It is a several block walk, but still very walkable, from the Expo Line Culver City Station]