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LOS ANGELES DOWNTOWN 40 C NEWS Volume 42, Number 27 EBRATING EL July 8, 2013 YEARS Since 1972 presents CITY LIVING Your local news and entertainment show on New Episode Every Monday at 9 a.m. W W W. D O W N T O W N N E W S . C O M HOW TO REINVENT A MUSEUM The Once Dusty Natural History Museum Completes a Long-Running, $135 Million Transformation photo by Gary Leonard Natural History Museum President and Director Jane Pisano stands amid the plants and trees that make up the 3.5-acre Nature Gardens. by RichaRd Guzmán city editoR O T n a recent morning, Jane Pisano walked out of her second-floor office and onto her balcony. The president and director of the Natural History Museum leaned her elbows on the edge of the cement railing. It was before the attraction’s opening, and no one was yet walking on the dirt paths or checking out the 27,000-gallon pond or the bird-viewing platform, although several birds were already happily chirping in the trees. Pisano turned from the verdant area, known as the Nature Gardens, to the museum’s new main entrance, a six-story glass pavilion dominated by the skeletal remains of a 63-footlong fin whale suspended by 29 stainless steel cables. Soft red, H OIC EV E OF DOW NT OW N est of BDOWNTOWN Readers Choice T ws wn Ne wnto o D les Los Ange HE IC VO E OF DOW NT OW N blue, green and white LED lights slowly circled the whale and illuminated the surrounding glass walls, making it seem as if the creature were swimming in a gigantic fish tank. “This view just says it all,” Pisano said in wonderment. “Twelve years ago this was a parking lot. It was just asphalt and concrete and pretty darn ugly, and look at it now.” Pisano’s comments came as the 100-year-old Exposition Park facility prepares to cap a $135 million project that has reinvented the NHM, doubling its program space and adding five new permanent exhibits, including a 3.5-acre garden. The transformation will culminate on Sunday, July 14, with the debut of Becoming Los Angeles. The 14,000-squarefoot exhibit chronicles the story of the city and its inhabitants over 500 years. In all regards, the transformation has turned the dusty, outof-date museum into a modern attraction. “It brought it into the 21st century with a wow,” said County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose Second District includes the museum. The turnaround, Ridley-Thomas said, was needed to keep the museum relevant. “If not, the dinosaurs would not have been the only things that are prehistoric,” he said. The Next Age The changes began in 2007 with the launch of a campaign to raise $135 million. First up was a renovation of the 1913 Building, the original home of the Los Angeles County see Museum, page 8 Who is The BEST? FIND OUT IN OUR JULY 15 EDITION


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