Finally Fast Around the Other City: The Museum of Jurassic Technology

26 May

Rena and Erica are always sharing their favorite spots in Philly, but as the only west coaster of the bunch I’ve been feeling a little left out not being able to share in all the fun. This post changes all of that! This is Finally Fast around the other city: Los Angeles!

Us Angelenos are an eccentric bunch of characters. Surfer dudes on the coast, Hollywood dreamers in the valley, a collection of rich ethnic communities from Thai Town to Koreatown somewhere in the middle. That’s why I feel that this one special attraction in Los Angeles really fits us: the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

Museum Sign by Barry M

The Museum of Jurassic Technology is tucked away in a hard-to-find nook on Venice Boulevard. When you walk in, you feel like you’ve walked into another world. It has the feeling of a decrepit Victorian mansion. And that’s the normal part of the museum.

The Logic Alphabet of Shea Zelweger photographed by Jessica Allen

The Museum proclaims that it is dedicated to Jurassic technology, and particularly the technology of the Lower Jurassic period. That makes sense… until you think about it. What technology was there to talk about 150 million or whatever years ago? In any case, you figure, you’ll be seeing dinosaur exhibits and fossilized remains of trilobites, right? Eh… not really. Again, it’s a museum that is out of place and out of time. In the same way that the steampunk style of animation and video games imagines futuristic technology from the point of view of the Victorian era, the museum is a bizarre casserole of vaguely future-sounding concepts, but as a person in the 19th century or early 20th century would have imagined them.

Creepy Globes photographed by Allison Fender

Make sense? I hope not, because honestly, that’s part of the fun of the Museum of Jurassic Technology. You’ll experience an extraordinarily dark labyrinth of exhibits—and I mean stumbling around dark, ridiculously-dark dark—with such titles as “Tell the Bees… Belief, Knowledge and Hypersymbolic Cognition” and “Athanasius Kircher: The World Is Bound With Secret Knots.” And neither the plaques nor the exhibits themselves will give you much more of a clue than the exhibit titles. The museum is almost like a dream—you stumble around, you read words but they don’t make any sense, you see strange objects and try to discern any meaning—it’s just bizarre.

Soviet Junk photographed by Cory Doctorow

And if you think I’m exaggerating, you really have to go so I can say “toldja so.” After a certain point of going from strange exhibit to stranger exhibit, you realize the joke’s on you, and that the Museum of Jurassic Technology is more a parody of museum-going than anything else. Well-lit exhibits? Clear, precise supplementary information? The gain of anything approaching useful knowledge? Not a chance. And that’s why the Museum of Jurassic Technology is a gem, and is sure to become a favorite memory.

The Idol Of Fombum photographed by Kirsten

Any of you west coasters had a chance to visit this museum? I’d love for you to share your own memories in the comments! Any other museums you’ve visited approaching this kind of surrealism? Drop me a line in the comments.

Here’s the info:

Museum of Jurassic Technology
9341 Venice Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90232
(310) 836-6131
Hours: Thursday from 2pm to 8pm, Fri-Sat-Sun from Noon to 6pm
(See, even the hours are bizarre!)
Website: www.mjt.org
Suggested donation: $5 for adults

Photo Attribution (from top to bottom):
Museum Sign by Barry M
The Logic Alphabet of Shea Zelweger by Jessica Allen
Soviet space program junk by Cory Doctorow
Globes by Allison Fender
Idol Of Fombum by Kirsten

(I’m no good with a camera…)

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