Sunday, July 14, 2013

Becoming L.A.

Griffith Park Observatory

We had the opportunity, yesterday, to preview the new permanent “Becoming Los Angeles” exhibit opening today at the Natural History Museum. It presents a solid overview of the history of L.A., but is nowhere near as deep or fascinating as, say, the Getty exhibit we saw last weekend. Still, the curators did a good job examining Los Angeles from various ethnic perspectives and sprinkling interesting factoids throughout, including the unanticipated impact of cow dung and ostriches.

Freeways east of L.A.

Early 20th-century oil rigs on the beach

The centerpiece of the installation is a late-1930s model of downtown L.A., created as part of a Depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. We, of course, loved it and spent a long time trying to find and identify several architectural landmarks that are still standing. The exhibit is worth the price of admission if only just to see this fabulous diorama.

The model at ground level—City Hall is upper left

City Hall detail

Los Angeles Public Library (center) and
California Club (lower right) detail

Union Station detail

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