Dinosaurs, Technology, or Imitating Thunder?: Hidden world in Culver City

The past weekend, I visited the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City. I did not realize this, but when I would travel and explore Los Angeles, I passed by the building and thought it was very old and a little eerie. I did not realize I passed by this place when I first heard the name, but only realized it when I paid a visit. It is deceivingly small, and is a bit compact inside. However, this museum has so many interesting things. It was unbelievable that this tiny space could be made into something so unique and original.

Photo credits: Random visitor leaving museum; Me, respectively

Much of the museum’s exhibits seemed to be dedicated towards paleontologists and engineers of the past that created technology for studying the “jurassic world” but also people who made significant and controversial contributions to the world of sience and technology. The interior of the museum itself was very beautiful, with a fancy design in every part of the museum, including the slideshow “theatre”. One of the exhibits includes a recreation of Geoffrey Sonnabend’s study, who was a neurophysiologist. The exhibit explained his research trying to prove that memory is an illusion, written in a series called Obliscence, Theories of Forgetting and the Problem of Matter. I have not heard of this scientist before but this exhibit made me very interested in him and his work as well as his positions on other similar topics in psychology and biology.

Photo credit: Me (Sonnabend's study)

Each exhibit also had its own telephone from which visitors could listen to what the exhibit was about. I thought it was a bit spooky because the phones did not ring and yet you would be “picking up a call” and listening to what the person on the other line is saying. However, it was a creative manner of delivering information about each exhibit in such a crowded as well as dimly lit space ( part of the reason why my pictures are not of the greatest quality). Other notable figures displayed included Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Madelena Delani, who shared a hall in the museum with George Sonnabend.

Photo credits: Me  [beautiful garden place outside tea room (right)]

The museum also had interesting artsy components, such as a tea room where visitors would be served tea along with pastries and cookies. I was not able to stay for tea since I wanted to explore the rest of the museum. Outside of the tea room was a beautiful garden area surrounded by structures of pillars. This reminded me of Hershey Hall and its unique structure surrounding the concrete, which style looks like a European fountain. There was also a man playing the violin and his dog, who greeted me but I was not sure if he was meant to greet each visitor that came through the door. There was an area of birdcages, but I did not see any birds. I am not sure where they were and I am pretty sure there were supposed to be birds since there was a sign describing the little corner. I believe that this was an area relating to the “jurassic” part of the museum since it is thought that dinosaurs and birds are related, hence bird-like dinosaur species such as pterodactyl.


Overall, it was an interesting experience. I learned about people and studies that have not crossed my mind before.

References: 

  1. "The Convergences Contest: Contest Winner #44: Johnny Be Proust or A Guitar Named Madeleine." McSweeney's Internet Tendency.  <http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/contest-winner-44-johnny-be-proust-or-a-guitar-named-madeleine>.
  2. Dunbar, Brian. "Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky." NASA. NASA. <https://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/rocketry/home/konstantin-tsiolkovsky.html#.VXokilWUzRY>.
  3. "The Museum of Jurassic Technology." Smithsonian.  <http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-museum-of-jurassic-technology-160774366/?no-ist>.
  4. "Take L.A.'s Museum of Jurassic Technology with a Grain of Salt." Sacbee.  <http://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/living/travel/article2575739.html>.
  5. 12, March. "WESTSIDE COVER STORY : Unnatural History : Forget Reality. The Avant-Garde Museum of Jurassic Technology Specializes in the Strange, Eerie and Improbable. But Its Artistic Intent Is Serious." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 12 Mar. 1995.  <http://articles.latimes.com/1995-03-12/news/we-41703_1_museums-jurassic-technology/2>.