The Museum of Jurassic Technology, that cabinet of curiosities so stumblingly dark and intricately laid out as to make even a ballerina feel like a bull in a china shop, will soon be expanding. The forensic laboratory that once separated it from the Center for Land Use Interpretation, that other, even more conceptual cabinet of curiosities two doors down on Venice Boulevard, has moved elsewhere. As a result, both the Jurassic and CLUI will soon have a great deal more room in which to do their unfailingly weird stuff.
Looking as impishly curious as always, David Wilson, the Jurassics founder, shows me around the new space. He doesnt have the exact measurements, but theres clearly quite a lot of it. Two long rooms, currently filled with office detritus and bisected by a temporary wall, could be combined either to make one enormous (by the Jurassics standards) exhibition space or broken up into several small galleries. There is also a smaller, cryptlike room, which Wilson has already fitted with an arched entrance, that will be used in the Jurassics upcoming exhibition of floralradiographs (X-rays of flowers).
Therell be more exhibition space, but not an enormous amount more, and a lot of it is still undefined, Wilson explains. Were in the process just now of building a small theater, and were in the process of making films drawn from our museum exhibits. One will be on Mount Wilson, and in a months time were going to Ukraine and Armenia to film the last two living microminiaturists. Theres also a long-range plan to have a tearoom adjacent to the theater, and then have some botanical gardens . . . In terms of concrete plans for the new space, thats it.
The source of Wilsons newfound confidence is the $500,000 or so the Jurassic has raised toward buying the building, as well as a generous non-interest-bearing loan from an undisclosed benefactor, as well as donations by the Lannan Foundation, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, the Ahmanson Foundation and the Bohen Foundation. We no longer have a sword hanging over our head, he says. Were much more secure in staying here. It will, he estimates, be as long as three years before all the extra space is up and running. Were hoping that the theater will be open by the end of the year and well have one of the films to show by then. Then well turn our attention to the tearoom. The garden is more uncertain, as we need a structural engineer to look at the buildings, and that will affect the planning of the garden, too.
And what, I ask Wilson, will tea at the Museum of Jurassic Technology be like? The answer is, it will be Finnish -- at least in style. Finlands a splendid place, says Wilson. Theres a quality of serenity in Finnish tearooms that you just cant argue with.
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