Reviewed by: Laura Silverman, Life Science Teacher, 7th grade, Mulholland Middle School
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Phone: (213) 763-DINO,
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM WEBSITE
The Natural History Museum is located in Exposition Park, at 900 Exposition Boulevard between Vermont Avenue and Figueroa Street.
GPS coordinates, and a link to Google Map.
Description: Please provide a paragraph description of the field trip. Include a physical description of the site, explanation of ownership/management, mission (if an institution), history, access, and other relevant issues.
We are open seven days a week, 9:30 am - 5 pm, all year, except for the following holidays.
We are closed:
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is situated on land
that served as an agricultural fairground from 1872 until 1910. In the
1890s, a local attorney and Sunday school teacher, William Miller Bowen,
became increasingly alarmed by the growing numbers of saloons, gambling
events, and other vices that existed in the park. In 1909, he led the
fight to convince the State, County, and City to develop the park as a
cultural center. In this plan, the State would build an exposition
building for California products (and later an armory); the County would
build a historical and art museum; and the City would maintain the
grounds. This tripartite ownership still exists today.
The original structure — what is today known colloquially as the 1913
Building — was designed by local architects Frank Hudson and William
A.D. Munsell. It incorporated an eclectic blend of styles: Spanish
Renaissance ornamentation is seen in the terracotta trimmings;
Romanesque style in the arched windows and the brick walls; and the
Beaux-Arts tradition in the T-shaped floor plan.
On November 6, 1913, Exposition Park and the new museum — called then the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science, and Art at the time — opened formally to the public. A two-week civic celebration ensued, dovetailing with the opening of the Owens River Aqueduct. In the San Fernando Valley, William Mulholland would declare of the water in his famously short speech, “There it is, take it.” In Exposition Park, U.S. Senator John D. Works dedicated the site of a fountain that would occupy the center of a sunken garden as a commemoration of that aqueduct. As Senator Works left the platform, a jet of water shot up 30 feet.
The history, science and art collection of the Museum gradually outgrew the capacity of the 1913 Building, and the original structure was expanded. In 1963, the Art Department relocated to its own museum in Hancock Park (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art). At that time, the Exposition Park facility became the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM). NHM was joined by other major cultural facilities in the park: the Memorial Coliseum, Sports Arena, Swimming Stadium, California Science Center, California African American Museum, and the largest municipal-owned rose garden in the nation.
After more than two years of renovation and architectural
preservation, the 1913 Building re-opened in the spring of 2009. In
addition to a seismic retrofit, the early phase of construction also
focused on the restoration of the brilliantly colored stained glass
skylight at the apex of the Rotunda. This exacting work was carried out
by David Judson, grandson of the skylight’s designer, Walter Horace
Judson. Under David’s direction, the ornate and elegant stained glass
was cleaned, repaired and strengthened, bringing it back to its full
The museum is great for 7th grade teachers and high school earth science teachers because of all the features for the geologic time scale and fossil evidence for the fossil record.
High school earth science teachers, and 6th grade teachers could use the Gem Room for its numerous examples of the rock features from ingnious, and metemorphic rocks and sedementatry rocks to works with teaching the rock cycle.
On the weekends, they have Critter Clubs for 3- to 5-year-olds, and Junior Scientists for 6- to 9-year-olds. In Curator's Cupboardevents, the staff brings out special items not usually on display.
Science Concepts Addressed:
7th grade Standards addressed:
3. Biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species developed through gradual processes over many generations. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know both genetic variation and environmental factors are causes of evolution and diversity of organisms.
b. Students know the reasoning used by Charles Darwin in reaching his conclusion that natural selection is the mechanism of evolution.
c. Students know how independent lines of evidence from geology, fossils, and comparative anatomy provide the bases for the theory of evolution.
d. Students know how to construct a simple branching diagram to classify living groups of organisms by shared derived characteristics and how to expand the diagram to include fossil organisms.
e. Students know that extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics of a species are insufficient for its survival.
High School Biology/Life Science
8. Evolution is the result of genetic changes that occur in constantly changing environ ments. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know how natural selection determines the differential survival of groups of organisms.
b. Students know a great diversity of species increases the chance that at least some organisms survive major changes in the environment.
c. Students know the effects of genetic drift on the diversity of organisms in a popu lation.
d. Students know reproductive or geographic isolation affects speciation.
e.Students know how to analyze fossil evidence with regard to biological diversity,
episodic speciation, and mass extinction.
Natural History Museum
TASKS at the Museum
1. Write down 3 different types of exhibits in the museum:
2. Ask someone at the front desk when the museum was first built: year ______
3. Find the dinosaur dig room and explain the current work done by real paleontologists:
1. How many steps are there into the front of the museum? ______ steps
2. What banner is in the entrance of the lobby?
3. What is hanging from the ceiling in the “Fin Passage”?
4. What is hanging on the walls of the circular area of the museum?
5. Why does the Geologic Time Scale exhibit spiral (go in a circle)?
6. What is the creepiest bug in the insect room?
7. What is the largest spider you could find?
8. In the Shell Room, how heavy is the Giant Clam? _______km, or ________ lbs.
9. In the Gem Room, what is the orange gem from the Hercules Dike, found in 1987? ______________________
10. What is your favorite Gem? __________________
Draw 3 different gems here:
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1. Create a powerpoint with pictures taken at the museum (with student cell phones) explaining the sequence of the fossil record in the Geologic Time Scale room.
2. Pick 3 different fossils and list them in order of their geologic age.
3. Compare a fossil from two different time periods and explain how they are similar, and how they are different.
For additional information: