The Museum of Jurassic Technology contains artifacts and collections that emphasize the unusual technological advancements from the lower Jurassic period. Now, lets stop for just a second. That first sentence is my best effort at distilling the somewhat lengthy introduction provided on the museums website. The purpose of the sentence is not to make you think too deeply about how absurd it is that the Jurassic period had anything resembling technology. The purpose is to inform the reader in an efficient manner that the museum is, … absurd.
The museum is quietly situated within a series of buildings along Venice Boulevard in Culver City. You would assume that the museum is closed as you approach, since there are no windows and the front door is gated, except there is a small sign on the door saying “come on in”. We opened the door and entered the gift shop, which was comforting, because it was at least one indication that the museum was legitimate. Nobody was at the front desk, so I pretended to look around the books and observe the guest book while my wife was no doubt thinking “I need to stop letting my husband plan our trips”. In full disclosure, I tried to prepare my wife for this as best as I could, I told her on a number of occasions that it would not be like a traditional museum, and I informed her that she needed to keep an open mind about the place. Given this background, it wasn’t too much of a surprise that the staff at the front desk was a little odd. I wasn’t expecting anything less.
We were directed to the left after entering the museum, where (what felt like) a 10 minute film played describing the museum. When the film finished my wife said “did you get anything out of that?”. I had not. The film literally consisted of ~10 minutes of narration and somehow I was left completely uninformed about what the museum actually consisted of. It was actually sort of impressive. You pretty much need an advanced degree in Philosophy to be able to narrate for 10 minutes without really saying anything.
The museum contains a range of odd and interesting exhibits. The “Tell the Bees: Belief, Knowledge, and Hypersymbolic Cognition” exhibit demonstrates old cures and remedies that have no scientific basis. The “Garden of Eden on Wheels” displays collections from Los Angeles Trailer Parks. Miniature exhibits include the “The Unique World of Microminiatures of Hagop Sandaljian”, where miniature sculptures are displayed within the eye of a needle, and the “Micromosaics of Harold “Henry” Dalton” exhibit displays miniature floral patterns. You can also find a collection of decomposing antique dice, and a gallery of paintings of dogs from the Soviet space program.
Anyone who visits the museum should also visit the second story (complementary) tea room. The tea room contains staff dedicated to patiently wait to pour tea for the guests. The tea room itself was pretty much full of people, so we wandered away a little bit to find an outdoor “sanctuary” that included a number of positive things such as ferns, birds, and sunlight.
My wife and I left the museum thinking that it was just plain weird. I think I appreciate the place a little more as I reflect upon it again a day later. Within a few weeks the weirdness will probably wear off, and I will be happy to include The Museum of Jurassic Technology among an ongoing list of oddball things to do around L.A.
Cost: $ 5 per person (kindly) encouraged donation.
Address: 9341 Venice Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232