NHM is currently in the process of the most dramatic changes in its 100-year history. The guiding vision for the $135 million NHM Next Campaign is to bring the Museum’s most important collections and ambitious discoveries out of our science labs to create new visitor experiences that explore the “big picture” of life on our planet and the interrelatedness of our natural and cultural worlds. We are only four months
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NHM is currently in the process of the most dramatic changes in its 100-year history. The guiding vision for the $135 million NHM Next Campaign is to bring the Museum’s most important collections and ambitious discoveries out of our science labs to create new visitor experiences that explore the “big picture” of life on our planet and the interrelatedness of our natural and cultural worlds. We are only four months away from completion of this historic transformation. NHM Next is changing the way we can educate our visitor base. Each year, 200,000 visitors from local schools visit the Museum — more than a quarter of all the students in LAUSD — free of charge. NHM has the most diverse, broadest visitor base of any comparable museum in the Western U.S.
Among the seven major exhibitions that comprise NHM Next are the NHM Nature Gardens and Nature Lab. These exhibits form an expansive indoor-outdoor interface with the urban wildlife of Los Angeles, a site where visitors and researchers can study biodiversity and environmental change as it happens. Visitors will be able to observe and take part in the scientific process, and to learn valuable lessons about our environment. The Nature Lab will be the Museum’s center for Citizen Science. It is a hub of nature investigation and scientific research outfitted with interactive media and tactile “hands-on” experiences to connect the Museum’s exhibits and collections indoors to the “raw material” visitors encounter outdoors. The exhibit will invite visitors to experience the city’s rich biodiversity and give them a way to contribute to real, ongoing study of our urban ecosystem.
In addition to the massive physical accomplishments at the Museum, NHM has a team of dozens of researchers, in fields ranging from archaeology to entomology. These world-class researchers are contributing to academic and scientific discourse every day. NHM researchers are frequently published in the highest echelon of scientific journals. Some recent, notable accomplishments from the Museum’s research and collections department include Project 23, a massive, historic discovery of thousands of Ice-age fossils operating in the public eye in Rancho La Brea, in the heart of Mid-City Los Angeles; an NSF-funded biodiversity inventory in Costa Rica led by NHM Entomologist Dr. Brian Brown; and the “Pregnant Plesiosaur” displayed in NHM’s new Dinosaur Hall — NHM paleontologists discovered a perfectly preserved plesiosaur (a 72 million year-old marine reptile) with a fetus inside, that has yielded tremendous scientific knowledge about live birth in these ancient reptiles.
With NHM Next we are setting a new example of how a museum can be a part of the life of a great 21st century city. We will serve as a nature, science and culture destination in the heard of Los Angeles County. It is a transformation unprecedented in our history and designed to set the course for the next hundred years.
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