The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s (NHM) Nature Lab has won an outstanding achievement award from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).
The Nature Lab is a permanent, 6,500-square-foot, hands-on gallery with more than 200 specimens, live animals, interactive features, media and scientist demonstrations.
As one of the world’s first exhibits to incorporate ongoing citizen science as an integral part of the narrative, the lab invites visitor participation to help extend what is known about the study of urban nature.
Many people view Los Angeles as a place devoid of flora and fauna, officials said. The city is actually located in the southern portion of the California Floristic Province, one of the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots. It is important, scientifically, that the area is inventoried and studied.
“The Nature Lab is a part of a larger institutional initiative to bring L.A.’s surprising nature into the NHM experience,” NHM vice president of education and exhibits Karen Wise said. “The Nature Lab is the heart of that initiative. It’s an exhibit, but it’s also a hub where our visitors can personally engage in our programs and our staff’s research.”
The Nature Lab opened in June 2013. The space’s contemporary design, use of collections and emphasis on stories about wildlife and discovery introduce visitors to scientific topics that are timely and significant, but also personal. Nature Lab visitors can chat with volunteers sorting insect material for the museum’s BioSCAN project — an inventory of Los Angeles wildlife, particularly insects — watch animal “meet and greets” with museum staff, and enter animal observations in the interactive L.A. Nature Map, which charts sightings by the public investigating the big picture of local biodiversity.
NHM is located at 900 Exposition Blvd. For information, call the phone number (213)763-DINO, or visit www.nhm.org.
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