Los Angeles, CA (March 23, 2021) – Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, President and Director of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County, today announced the Natural History Museum (NHM) in Exposition Park will reopen to the public on April 1, 2021 and La Brea Tar Pits in Hancock Park will reopen on April 8, 2021, with new health and safety protocols in place. The William S. Hart Museum in Newhall remains closed at this time. Tickets for members, community partners and the general public will go on sale for NHM on Thursday, March 25 and for La Brea Tar Pits on Thursday, April 1.
Dr. Bettison-Varga said, “The Natural History Museum and La Brea Tar Pits have brought joy to generations of Angelenos for more than a century. We are thrilled to welcome the community back inside them after a full year of closure and to make them more accessible for all Angelenos. As museums of, for and with L.A., we have been witnessing the impact that our outdoor spaces have on visitors, as they return to our Butterfly and Spider Pavilion and connect with nature. In that spirit, while the world strives to heal from the pandemic, we are more committed than ever to providing opportunities that inspire curiosity, relaxation and wonder.”
In accordance with CDC, California, and L.A. County public health guidelines, protocols to protect visitors and staff include reduced capacity, advance online timed-ticket reservations, face coverings for everyone on-site, self-monitoring of symptoms, designated pathways to ensure safe distancing in galleries and gardens, more frequent cleanings and self-service sanitizing stations. All visitors will receive touch styluses upon admission to NHM that may be used to interact more safely with touchscreens throughout the museum. Some visitor experiences that don’t allow for proper distancing will remain closed at each location, including NHM’s Gem Vault, Encounters performances at both museums, and the Observation Pit at La Brea Tar Pits. For a full list of health and safety protocols and to learn more about changes on site, visit https://nhm.org/covid-19-safety-guidelines.
NHM and La Brea Tar Pits will open gradually, Thursdays through Sundays, and will expand the days over the coming months. The 2021 Butterfly Pavilion season will be open through September 6, 2021. Tickets for the Butterfly Pavilion will remain free for members and will be $6 for non-members. The Spider Pavilion season will open later in Fall 2021.
NHM will debut the gallery presentation of two exhibitions when the museum opens its doors: Rise Up L.A.: A Century of Votes for Women and Spiky, Hairy, Shiny: Insects of LA.
Rise Up L.A. honors 100 years of passion and progress through narratives about the everyday women who shaped the suffrage movement and the political landscape through voting, grassroots organizing, and by fighting for rights in the workplace, classroom and community. NHM launched a digital version of the exhibition in 2020. Upcoming programs include a special livestream conversation between Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell and NHMLAC President and Director Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga on March 25.
Spiky, Hairy, Shiny: Insects of L.A. presents a selection of insect macrographs pulled from NHMLAC’s groundbreaking Biodiversity Science: City and Nature (BioSCAN) research project. The captivating photographs, captured unconventionally via a Keyence microscope, inspire wonder, and showcase the beauty and diversity of these “minute Angelenos.” Visit the digital companion site here.
NHMLAC will continue engaging audiences through its digital programming and social media channels. Since the Museums closed their doors in early March 2020, NHMLAC has piloted virtual educational programs, including live animal meet-and-greets, Zoom presentations using Visual Thinking Strategies, live Q&As with scientists, and educator workshop webinars that can host up to 1000 participants at once. Virtual daily school programs cover content from archaeology, marine science, paleontology, and ecosystems. NHMLAC has also created four different virtual field trips: virtual visits to La Brea Tar Pits and NHM, as well as digital oceanic and archaeological experiences. NHM’s First Fridays Connected Series continues online on April 2 with the discussion L.A. at the Intersections: Climate Crisis, plus a performance by Sudan Archives.
NHM's neighbor in Exposition Park, the California Science Center, is reopening on March 27, 2021.
La Brea Tar Pits’ neighbors are also reopening in Hancock Park, reopening dates are as follows: Petersen Automotive Museum on March 25, LACMA on April 1, Craft Contemporary on May 9, and Academy Museum in Fall 2021.
Tickets go on sale on Thursday, March 25 for NHM and Thursday, April 1 for La Brea Tar Pits. Timed tickets for all guests must be reserved in advance. Members receive free admission. General admission at NHM and La Brea Tar Pits is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students and $7 for children 3-12 years of age. Admission is free for children 2 and under. The museums provide free admission for EBT card holders, active military and teachers with proper ID. Those eligible for free admission need to call the Call Center at 213-763-3466 to arrange for tickets.
The hours at both museums will remain 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m the days they are open. Beginning April 8 at NHM and April 15 at La Brea Tar Pits admission to NHM and La Brea Tar Pits will be free for Los Angeles County residents between the hours of 3 and 5 p.m. on all days the Museums are open. Timed tickets must be reserved online and will be available for reservation on a first come/first served basis.
NHM Butterfly Pavilion tickets are $6 with paid general admission and free for members. Capacity for the Butterfly Pavilion will remain limited. Reservations for the Butterfly Pavilion will be on a first come first served basis. For more information, visit nhm.org.
About the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County
The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) include the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park, La Brea Tar Pits in Hancock Park, and the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall. They operate under the collective vision to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds. The museums hold one of the world’s most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history—more than 35 million objects. Using these collections for groundbreaking scientific and historical research, the museums also incorporate them into on- and offsite nature and culture exploration in L.A. neighborhoods, and a slate of community science programs—creating indoor-outdoor visitor experiences that explore the past, present, and future. Visit NHMLAC.ORG for adventure, education, and entertainment opportunities.
Left: Dueling Dinos at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM). Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA. Photography by Gina Cholick. Courtesy of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC).
Right: The museum at La Brea Tar Pits. Hancock Park, Los Angeles, CA. Photography by Gina Cholick. Courtesy of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC).
Sally Márquez, NHMLAC
(213) 373 3217
Maura Klosterman-Vu, Polskin Arts