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Opening New Doors to Natural History

Commons NHM Overall

 

Overview

The NHM Commons project is a transformative expansion of the Natural History Museum opening in summer 2023. A dynamic community hub and new “front porch” to NHM and Exposition Park, NHM Commons will unite people with nature, culture, and each other through vibrant and accessible indoor-outdoor gathering spaces. 

Creating new opportunities for the public to experience aspects of the Museum without a ticket, the project will encompass 75,000 square feet of renovated space, new construction, and landscaping on the southwest side of its Exposition Park home, including a light-filled welcome center, an inviting lobby with retail space, a new multipurpose theater, a café, and a large community plaza—all promising to be a new destination for science, culture, and connecting with our community.
 
“For more than a decade we have been transforming the Museum’s spaces and grounds, but we have just begun to reimagine who we are when it comes to community,” said Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, President and Director of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County. “I am so excited about the opportunity to work with partners who are uniquely positioned to bring new learning to us and through us—creative new programming that embraces Los Angeles and galvanizes our community.”


Explore Our New Space

Main Entry Plaza

While the north grounds of the Museum offer a gateway into seeing and understanding the plants and animals that visitors share with their region, the south grounds open a window into exploring the human-made culture of L.A.

Commons Lobby

Light-filled, uplifting, and flexible in terms of its practicality, the Wallis Annenberg Lobby is designed to be its own inviting and special destination with art installations, a café, Museum shop, and park views for people to enjoy whether visiting the Museum or not.

Commons Theater

An exciting new theater will integrate robust live performances with technical innovations to create an array of Museum-hosted and community-produced events for all ages. 

Commons Cafe

An indoor-outdoor café will give Museum and park guests alike a pleasant place to eat, linger, meet with friends, and be refreshed. 

Commons Judith Perlstein Welcome Center

In the Judith Perlstein Welcome Center, no ticket is required for discovery to begin. It is designed to help guests discover ways to explore the Museum’s collections, ongoing research, events, and amenities. 

Commons Shannon Faulk Community Table

The Shannon Faulk Community Table will feature drawers filled with artifacts to explore, materials for art-making, and hands-on discovery.
 

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While the north grounds of the Museum offer a gateway into seeing and understanding the plants and animals that visitors share with their region, the south grounds open a window into exploring the human-made culture of L.A.

Light-filled, uplifting, and flexible in terms of its practicality, the Wallis Annenberg Lobby is designed to be its own inviting and special destination with art installations, a café, Museum shop, and park views for people to enjoy whether visiting the Museum or not.

An exciting new theater will integrate robust live performances with technical innovations to create an array of Museum-hosted and community-produced events for all ages. 

An indoor-outdoor café will give Museum and park guests alike a pleasant place to eat, linger, meet with friends, and be refreshed. 

In the Judith Perlstein Welcome Center, no ticket is required for discovery to begin. It is designed to help guests discover ways to explore the Museum’s collections, ongoing research, events, and amenities. 

The Shannon Faulk Community Table will feature drawers filled with artifacts to explore, materials for art-making, and hands-on discovery.
 

Towering Art Marks L.A. History 

Commons WC Table Carrasco Mural


Barbara Carrasco’s landmark 80-foot mural, L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective, portrays the city’s history through a series of vignettes woven into the flowing hair of la Reina de Los Ángeles (the Queen of Los Angeles). For more about the mural and the artist, click here.

Meet Our Green Giant 

Commons 09_nhm_gnatalie_now_writing


Led by the Museum’s Dinosaur Institute, a team of paleontologists and excavators unearthed and assembled Gnatalie, a long-necked dinosaur measuring more than 70 feet long. Not only is Gnatalie awesome in size, but the sauropod is unique in color due to the quarry where it was found, which turns bones green. 

Take the journey, from the Utah quarry to NHM, in this interactive experience—From Ground to Mount.

Thank You To Our Donors

The following individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies have generously supported the project: L.A. County Board of Supervisors, State of California, Wallis Annenberg, Ron Perlstein in memory of Judith Perlstein, The Ahmanson Foundation, Joan A. Payden, John and Nancy Edwards, The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, Peter and Marcie Scranton, Vera R. Campbell Foundation, William R. Zimmerman, Esther S. M. Chui-Chao, Lisa and Gregg Martin, Megan McGowan-Epstein and Alan Epstein, Mark and Jane Gavens, Alexander and Elizabeth Kendall, Jon and Kathleen Peacock.

Celebrate Our Becoming

WriteGirl Wall


To celebrate and reflect on the idea of “becoming” during the construction, NHM has partnered with WriteGirl, an L.A.-based creative writing and mentoring organization that promotes creativity, critical thinking, and leadership skills to empower girls and nonbinary teens.