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NHM's New Hall Will Tell 500 Years of Los Angeles History

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The Natural History Museum just keeps cranking out awesomeness: handsome renovations, dinosaurs, whale spine bridges, cool glassy pavilions, and now a permanent hall dedicated to the cultural and ecological histories of Los Angeles. Becoming Los Angeles (that's a working title) will open just ahead of the museum's one hundredth birthday and travel through 500 years of LA history, "from European contact to its rise as a global capital," according to a press release. The 14,000 square foot exhibit will take up four galleries in both the 1913 and 1920s buildings.The press release says that the NHM has been collecting LA artifacts "for generations," and has pieces from old LA families like the Coronels, Temples, and del Valles.

Here's a little about what Becoming Los Angeles will look like: "a visually striking canopy will symbolize the sweep of history and lead visitors through the exhibit's major sections or historical eras: the pre-Spanish landscape; Mission Era; Mexican Rancho Era; the early years of the American Period; the emergence of a new American city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and L.A. as a global city of the 21st century. This canopy will touch down at four points, triggering the walkthrough experience from once section to the next. Iconic objects at these trigger points include a cross from Mission San Gabriel and an inscribed sword from the Mexican war of independence. Other important objects in the exhibit include a wooden oil well pump from a 1920s Los Angeles city oil field, and Walt Disney's animation stand that was built in his uncle's L.A. garage in 1923. (Disney used it to film "Steamboat Willie," the first cartoon released that featured Mickey Mouse.)"

The exhibit is set to open in December. The museum turns 100 in 2013.
· Natural History Museum Archives [Curbed LA]