Just when you thought you had seen everything, along comes our post on some of LA’s verrrrry odd museums. We visit bubbling tar pits, knock on death’s door and look at life through the eye of a needle…
Museum of Death
To James Healy and Cathee Shultz, the education system seemed somewhat vague about the subject. And so, ‘death became their life’s work’.
The Museum of Death was suitably located in San Diego’s first mortuary but has since moved to LA. It now houses all manner of morbid fascinations including artwork by serial murderers, crime scene photos, full-size replicas of execution devices, autopsy videos and an assortment of body bags and coffins. Their age policy: none, because ‘we all die’.
In the Chaos Gallery next door, expect to see a Siamese turtle and artists working in the happy medium of skulls or blood.
6031 Hollywood Blvd
Open: Sun-Fri, 11am-8pm; Sat, 11am-10pm
Museum of Jurassic Technology
Although it has fallen into our ‘strange museum’ category, this place is everything a museum should be. Dimly lit, the Museum of Jurassic Technology has all the allure of an old library belonging to some Victorian gentleman (with slight macabre sensibilities) and houses a treasure trove of curiosities. Although items in the collection leave visitors somewhat perplexed as to their originality.
There is certainly nothing from the Jurassic period. The Deprong Mori bat, claiming to have been caught mid-flight in a slab of lead and therefore suggesting it can fly through walls – nonsense! But at the same time, how wonderfully bizarre!
Other oddities include hand-crafted microminature sculptures by Hagop Sandaldijan whereby Donald Duck, Goofy and Pope John Paul were carved using diamond dust and painted with a single hair so that they fit inside the eye of a needle. A permanent display about the Cameroonian Stink Ant describes how a fungal spore inhaled by the ant, affects its nervous system and starts to grow from the inside-out of the ant’s brain. It’s not all history, the natural world and science; there is also a display on LA’s trailer park culture.
9341 Venice Boulevard
Open: Thurs, 2pm-8pm; Fri, Sat & Sun, noon-6pm
Suggested Donation: Adults $8, students $5
The Tula Tea Room serves complimentary tea and cookies.
Page Museum: La Brea Tar Pits
In the surrounding park there are pools of asphalt which have been bubbling away for millennia. Up to 40,000 years ago creatures roaming the LA basin became stuck in the warm sticky tar and their fossilized remains are now displayed in the Page Museum.
You can see saber-toothed cats, mammoths, dire wolves and other animals from the Ice Age.
Next to the museum in Hancock park are life size replicas, some of them struggling as they once did in the oily goop. About 8-12 gallons of the stuff still oozes to the surface everyday trapping unsuspecting birds and rodents.
5801 Wilshire Blvd
Open: Daily 9:30am-5pm
Admission: Adults $12, students $9, free on the first Tuesday of the month
The Bunny Museum
The Bunny Museum grew out of Steve and Candace’s obsession with the little cotton-tail creatures. They now own over 28,000 bunny items and invite you to make an appointment and visit their home 365 days of the year.
1933 Jefferson Drive, Pasadena
Suggested donation: $5 per person
Call for an appointment: (626) 798-8848