When I was young my mom would frequently load my sister and I into the family station wagon and drive us over to the Museums at Exposition Park in Los Angeles. In the late 1960's the County of Los Angeles Natural History Museum's newsletter "La Terre" announced grand plans for a huge new dinosaur exhibit hall. Work obtaining the new fossils had already begun and the development and construction of the exhibits would begin shortly. Based on the description, it would contain many examples of the facinating creatures I read so much about as a seven year old kid. Well, several years passed and the doors to the new dinosaur hall remained locked and and the interior dark.
During one visit with my family, I had my eye pressed up against the gap between the doors to the hall and I could see a sliver of wonderful things. Partial skeletons under plastic sheets. A guard caught me peeking and asked if we wanted to take a quick look inside. I nearly fainted (science nerd). He unlocked and opened the door partially and we stuck our heads inside, peering into the dark reaches of the only partially lighted exhibit hall. As thrilling as that was, it looked like there was still a lot of work was left to be done.
In the 1990's the museum finally opened a small exhibit hall but I could tell this wasn't what they had originally envisioned and discribed. I kept waiting and had really given up all hope, assuming I'd be a fossil and ready for display myself by the time anything happened. So lets just say I was very surprised last year to hear that the museum finally opened that hall in time for my 50th birthday and what can I say? It was well worth the 43 year wait!
The new exhibit is located in the original museum building which opened in 1913. It's located in one of two exhibit halls connected by a beautiful rotunda. Each hall has two floors which allows for a variety of viewpoints of these amazing dinosaurs. When I was 10 years old this hall was full of ice age fossils excavated from the La Brea tar pits. This was many years before the George C. Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries was built and opened at the site of the tar pits on Wilshire Blvd. If we visited on uncrowded day, the hall seemed kind of of stark, a little creepy, mostly quiet with just the echos of our foot steps to accompany us.
The new hall is bright and colorful and it was crowded and noisy on this day. I climbed to the second floor to get a different perspective. The main subject of this photo and the hall are three Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils, including a baby T-Rex which was estimated to be about two years old when it died. This is the youngest known T-Rex fossil in the world.
The lighting in the hall was just beautiful. I don't know if it was just the time of day but the contrast of the bright sunlight and dark shadows were very interesting.
I'm definitely visiting again.
I guess I should mention this is an HDR vertorama taken with my fisheye lens. Four HDR sequences each containing 3 shots.