8 Offbeat Museums in L.A. That Celebrate the Weird and Unique
Christelle Nahas /UCLA
UCLA Meteorite Gallery
The largest collection of meteorites on the West Coast, the UCLA Meteorite Gallery contains more than 2,500 samples from around 1,500 different meteorites, including 80 type specimens from California alone. They range in size and composition, and are presented for viewing in the geology building of UCLA, free to visitors. The gallery is constantly expanding and collecting, and promises to evolve as the years go on. Geology Building, Room 3697, UCLA, 595 Charles Young Drive E., Westwood. (310) 825-2015, meteorites.ucla.edu.
L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition
If you watched Going Clear or just have always had an interest in Scientology, then the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition is sure to leave you with a hightened sense of fascination. Hubbard, who died in 1986, was the founder of the Church of Scientology, and in many ways singlehandedly developed the theology behind this controversial religious practice. This museum focuses on Hubbard’s life, accomplishments and beliefs, and features a series of theaters, awards, art and individual galleries and exhibitions, ranging from the run-of-the-mill to the bizarre. 6331 Hollywood Blvd., #100, Hollywood. (323) 960-3511, lronhubbard.org.
This museum displays a portion of the private collection of curators/owners Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin, more than 420 velvet paintings from around the world. It’s an experience and space unlike any other, the brainchild and passion project of this offbeat duo who together have amassed more than 3,000 pieces of this stylized art. The space is tucked into a storefront in Chinatown, the entrance to the gallery space marked by a small, handwritten sign promising a “life-changing experience” awaiting behind the curtain — a velvet one, of course. 711 New High St., Chinatown. (503) 309-9299, velveteria.com.
Museum of Neon Art
Get your ne-on (sorry, couldn’t help it) at Glendale's Museum of Neon Art, an homage to the interdisciplinary nature of neon art. In fact, the use of neon is part art form, part advertising, part technology and part chemistry — a combination of methods that’s highlighted at this unique gallery featuring a series of light-based installations. The collection itself consists of a variety of signs from various businesses and constructed with varying degrees of complexity, each of which fits into a larger conversation about functional art and alternative creative mediums. 216 S. Brand Blvd, Glendale. (818) 696-2149, neonmona.org.
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