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Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) New Dinosaur Hall

This summer, the much-anticipated new Dinosaur Hall opens to the public at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The large-scale permanent exhibition will be presented in two light-filled galleries – twice the size of the Museum’s old dinosaur galleries. The Dinosaur Hall will rival the world’s leading dinosaur halls — for the sheer volume of individual fossils displayed; the size and extraordinariness of the major mounts, including the world’s only T. rex growth series; and the transparent treatment of the science that surrounds these creatures — not as static, definitive knowledge but as a vibrant, ongoing investigation of mysteries solved and still unsolved.

The exhibition features over 300 fossils, 20 full body specimens, manual and digital interactives, and large-format video. In addition to the T. rex series (an adult, juvenile, and baby), the exhibition’s standouts include an imposing Triceratops, a 68-foot long-necked Mamenchisaurus, and giant reptiles that lived in the oceans covering what is today California. Two-thirds of the full-body specimens have never been displayed before; the specimens that have been displayed have all been re-articulated in new and more dynamic poses.

The Dinosaur Hall is the latest component of NHM Next, the six-year, $135 million campaign that will transform the Museum. Now at its midpoint, this unique public-private partnership has raised more than $80 million. The new exhibition follows this summer’s critically-acclaimed, campaign-supported openings of Age of Mammals and the Haaga Family Rotunda. By 2013, the NHM Next Campaign will have supported an institution-wide, indoor/outdoor evolution: five new permanent exhibitions; a pedestrian bridge and car park in 2011; 3.5 acres of urban nature experiences and the Nature Lab, the outdoor space’s indoor component, in the summer of 2012; and an exhibition about Los Angeles’ natural and cultural history in late 2012.

“The new Dinosaur Hall is a spectacular realization of the goal of our transformation, which is to bring the research and collections of the Natural History Museum vividly to life for a public that is hungry for wonder, discovery and knowledge,” said Dr. Jane Pisano, NHM President and Director. “The exhibition will emerge as one of the major dinosaur experiences in the world, and its specimens and science will easily position the Museum as the West Coast’s hub for dinosaurs.”

The Dinosaur Hall is organized around a series of questions or mysteries. What is a dinosaur? What was their world like? How did they live, grow and behave? And finally, what happened to them?

To provide insight into how scientists puzzle out answers to these questions — to reveal the stories behind these astonishing specimens — the specimen-rich exhibition relies on the ambitious discovery and research programs of the NHM’s in-house Dinosaur Institute, led by world-renowned paleontologist and exhibit lead curator, Dr. Luis Chiappe. Fossils are the building blocks of everything we know about the dinosaurs, but Chiappe has created a sense of a continuum for the thrill of discovery and scientific inquiry — there are specimens yet to be unearthed, and research technologies yet to be discovered.

In all, the new exhibition spans 14,000 square feet, doubling the size of the Museum’s former dinosaur galleries. The Museum’s paleontologists are known to joke about the old fossil exhibitions as “parking lots for bones”— mounts were articulated in static, similar poses, and most specimens were visible from just one point of view. The Dinosaur Hall allows visitors to wander around and in some instances, underneath, the specimens. Because of their innovative platforms, many of the major mounts are not surrounded by thick glass — providing rare opportunities for up-close looks at the fossils.

About the Museum
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is located at 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, near downtown. It is open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm. The Museum was the first dedicated museum building in Los Angeles, opening its doors in 1913. It has amassed one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history — with more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. The Natural History Family of Museums includes the NHM, the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits (Hancock Park/Mid-Wilshire), and the William S. Hart Park and Museum (Newhall, California).

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