Monday, June 09, 2008

It's always somthing isn't it?

or.... SOME things are just born to fail...

I love museums. I spent my first trip to London as a young adult, scouring the halls of the British Museum. I looked at every mummy, every hand painted scroll, every stuffed mammal and bird I could. Much earlier,as a kid, I spent many hours at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum because the summer 'camp' where I went, dropped us off so that the counselors could do what ever they did during that time (I did not care!). My own children spent time exploring the back rooms and libraries of LACNHM and spent every week at the Page as well. They learned my 'talk' when I was a docent. One time my daughter, after memorizing what I said, found some sightseers from England and took them on a tour of her favorite hall, the dinosaurs, when she was four years old! (She was fantastic!).

The people I know who are scientists and who work at the LACNHM were like me, they loved the museum as kids and all the dusty corners and lovely, knowledgeable older (folks with gray hair) people who worked there. Like me, they could not ask enough questions, could not soak up enough information. It was all there! We learned more there then at school. And, we took that knowledge outside when there was an outside.

The LACNHM had a jewel named Miss Gretchen Sibley, who I met when I took docent training in the late 1980's. Gretchen, in the 1950's, brought together businesses to the museum in a different way then they do now - not just for MONEY but to participate in the education of the high school kids.... like they did in Chicago. The Field Museum created hands on exhibits before anyone named them 'hands on' and they built them out of beautiful wood and glass with money endowed by the big companies of the time. Gretchen taught many of the Ph.D.s that worked at the museum and elsewhere.

But what is that horrible picture above, you ask? That, my friends, is the Los Angeles Children's Museum.

After struggling for seven years to raise enough money for a new facility, the Children's Museum of Los Angeles marked a milestone last fall when workers put the finishing touches on the angular building nestled in the Hansen Dam Recreation Area's easternmost corner.

But the modern structure, surrounded by a chain link fence, still sits empty. Its entryway is choked with weeds. And there's not enough money to pay for ambitious exhibits meant to fill the 57,000-square-foot museum .

Funny how all the lights were on and no one was home! the air conditioner was running full tilt which we are all paying for....

See all those weird tube things at the top of the wall.... I think that is where the air from the air conditioner blows cool air in.... creepy...

The question comes to mind, "Why wasn't this finished? or Why is it closed?"
I took my children to the original Children's Museum downtown. It was in the heart of the City and we even took the train (the old train a year later was removed and only recently replaced with the Gold Line). It was a favorite place for kids of all colors. And it was fun. For some reason the folks who ran it or who funded it or maybe it was someone looking for a Gold Plaque with their name engraved on a building (or street) that decided the museum needed to be BIGGER and MORE EXPENSIVE.

Given the scope of this project, the museum closed its facility at 310 North Main Street on August 27, 2000 to focus its resources on developing expanded mobile community outreach programs, and to work on the design and construction of the two new campuses. The budget for the design and construction of each of the campuses excluding exhibition design, is between $12 and $16 million.

The Children's Museum plans to construct an "urban museum" at the Art Park site. The exact size of this museum has yet to be determined, but is expected to be in excess of 60,000 square feet. The Museum will focus on the urban experience, as well as on the performing arts, graphic arts, film, and television. The Art Park site will include the administrative staff for both campuses.

A major focus of the Hansen Dam site will be the natural environment. The 60,000-square-foot building will have an indoor-outdoor feeling and visitors will be able to move easily between the environments. The building itself will serve as an exhibit of sustainable architecture, encouraging visitors to understand new ways to construct and maintain buildings. The site will also take advantage of the surrounding landscape by including a garden of flora and fauna native to the northeast Valley environment.

I think basically, there was a lot of money in this for a lot of shadow people. I think that there was a lot of people wanting to show how wonderful they were. I think that putting it out in the boonies, though, destroyed it for the children.The trees planted around the area look sick. The grass is dying. It's too expensive to drive a car out to these places. No one wants to go out there. And, even with the beautiful weather today, I saw no children playing in the park.

There is another 'museum' in the works and it's called the Whittier Narrow Discovery Center. The proponents of this project have been told by City biologists that their project does not abide by the Rules Set by the County of Regional Planners, who are responsible for the design of this City (there was a DESIGN???? Were they DRUNK!!???). SEA-TAC members decide whether a design fulfills the ideals and upholds the boundaries of EPA and regional laws to protect the Significant Ecological Areas set by the Technical Advisory Council (SEA-TAC)(many areas have Endangered species and rare ecosystems).

In other words, the County bureaucrats thought the RMC bureaucrats did not have a clue and they want to destroy animals and property of the People. You can learn more about the group that wants to keep the Open Space Open for birds and people....

One boon-doggel after the next...EH!? I also think we ALL need to be leery of anyone or any group who says that what they are about to do WILL BE WORLD CLASS!!!! I am sorry. You have to build it or make it first BEFORE that decision is made... by other people....
Q. Why did the Children's Museum of Los Angeles temporarily close?
A. The old museum, opened in 1979, was never intended to be the permanent home for the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles. As demand began to exceed the available space the Board of Governors began designing a NEW, BIGGER, WORLD-CLASS facility to the people of Los Angeles.

All this world class and the little pools of water behind the "Stay Out" signs on the chain link fence were filled with mosquitoes. CLASSY!!!!

(Update!) Here is another museum in California that is dead. It is the Metropolitan Water District Museum. Funny, these same guys are really excited about the WHITTIER NARROWS DISCOVERY CENTER.... I can't imagine.... their museum goes BUST and the Children's Museum goes BUST and they support (with the other water districts) another museum which will very likely go BUST ..... What is that? The Dead Museum Club?

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