Photographer's Note

Finally made it to this place, one I've wanted to visit for a very long time: the enigmatic Museum of Jurassic Technology-a crazy quilt of bits and pieces of eclectic collections from all over the world, in a lovely old building. The MJT is definitely a curiosity in and of itself: it's comprised of LOTS of piecemeal collections, reminiscent of the curio cabinets of the 16th century, which predated modern natural history museums, but were often far more esoteric. The museum was founded by David Wilson and his wife, Diana: the former majored in urban entomology but minored in art, receiving an MFA in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts in 1976, so much of the content of the museum is likewise experimental, but seemingly explores the intersection between science and art. The museum is also the subject of the book "Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology" (1995) by Lawrence Weschler. Wilson was also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (AKA "Genius Grant") in 2001, so he's doing something right!

You'll find some pretty out-of-this-world exhibits here, which seem to me to be the remnants of old-world European collections that no one really knew what to do with, which just kind of made their way here and thankfully found a new home. There usually isn't any rhyme or reason to them, but they're amazing. Some of the more exceptional ones include "Rotten Luck: Decaying Dice," "Tell the Bees: Belief, Knowledge and Hypersymbolic Cognition: An Exhibit of Pre-Scientific Cures and Remedies," "The Garden of Eden on Wheels: Collections from Los Angeles Area Trailer Parks," which is comprised of a series of dioramas with miniature trailers and associated accoutrements, "The Unique World of Microminiatures of Hagop Sandaldjian," which is one of the most striking exhibits, in my opinion (it's comprised of microscopic - and I mean microscopic - sculptures, each carved from a SINGLE HUMAN HAIR placed within the eye of a needle), a related exhibit on the "micro mosaics" of Harold "Henry" Dalton, dating to the 19th century, and my personal favorite, a portrait gallery of the Dogs of the Soviet Space Program. Yes, I got the T-shirt.

There's lots more, so go early and take your time! It tends to get somewhat crowded on the weekends, and some of the passageways are quite narrow, so expect to be subjected to some cramped quarters. If you get tired and need a break, however, there's a lovely Russian-style tea room upstairs where Georgian tea and cookies are served. It's actually a miniature reconstruction of Tsar Nicholas II's study at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. There's also a beautiful rooftop garden, where live music is played, and live doves amble around peacefully at the feet of guests. It's a "museum" in the (more) literal sense of the word: as the term is derived from "a place to the Muses," it's definitely somewhere to go to get inspired, but by what is anyone's guess! Just find the things which speak to you...

Some practicalities: it's quite dark, so some of the exhibits were frustratingly difficult to see. It's also something of a labyrinth, so it's easy to get turned around; just take your time and expect to backtrack somewhat. One word of caution: allergy sufferers may have a difficult time, as the odor of mildew or mold is pretty strong inside. There are a fair few stairs, so be prepared to do some climbing to access everything. Parking is non-existent. Best case scenario is a public parking structure a few blocks from the museum. Also: NO PHOTOS are allowed inside the museum. I would still highly recommend it, however, as it has to be one of the most unique and curious museums in the entire world!

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 89 W: 78 N: 979] (1783)
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