The Museum of Jurassic Technology: For Explorers of Unknown Dimensions

A guide for visitors to Culver City's cult destination
by Laura Goldman Posted Jan 21st 2015 4:27p.m.
Laura has lived in the Los Angeles area all of her life. Check out her blog i Still Love Dogs and follow her on Twitter.

This strange museum in Culver City, California is a throwback to ones from centuries ago, when museums displayed private collections of curios for the amusement of scholarly visitors. Some of the Museum of Jurassic Technology's objects are real (for example, a scale model of Noah's Ark), while others—like a horn that allegedly grew from the back of a 17th-century woman's head—would probably fall under the "or Not" part of "Ripley's Believe It or Not."

The Museum of Jurassic Technology was founded in 1988 by the husband-and-wife team of David and Diana Wilson. In 2001, David, a filmmaker, was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Genius Grant for showing exceptional merit and promise for creative work.

When you enter the museum's foyer a slideshow informs you, rather cryptically, that the facility is "dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and the public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic."

Frankly, the less you know about this museum, the better time you'll have.

What exactly is the Lower Jurassic? After a visit to this museum, you probably still won't have the faintest idea. And frankly, the less you know about this museum, the better time you'll have. As the slideshow points out, when we encounter the exhibits, "we are like explorers of an unknown dimension: everything appears fresh to our eyes, each idea seems unprecedented, virgin, strange."

The museum's corridors are dark and a little musty. It's kind of like roaming through your grandparents' attic, if they collected and displayed strange stuff.

Among the exhibits (many are interactive) are dioramas of trailer parks, flower X-rays that you can view in 3-D, and artwork made of insect wings that you can only see through a microscope.


Mulling it Over/Flickr

When you visit, expect some of the exhibits to be empty or out of order. (Who knows, perhaps they were never "in order" to begin with.)

There are also what could be considered aural exhibits—sounds ranging from crickets chirping to opera music fill the museum's various corridors.

You'll wind your way upstairs to the airy Tula Tearoom, where you can treat yourself to free tea and cookies. It's located next to a gallery featuring large oil paintings of the dogs Russia sent into space in the 1950s, and the Borzoi Kabinet Theater, which screens short, offbeat films every hour.

The Museum of Jurassic Technology is open Thursdays from 2 to 8 p.m., and Fridays to Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Suggested admission donations range from $1.50 to $8 (children under 12 are free). As much as you'll want to take pictures, be aware that the use of cell phones and photography is strictly prohibited.

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