What would you like more from your museum?
a) label after label of well-behaved information; or
b) a blast of curiosity that renews your capacity for awe at the world’s wonders.
If you chose “b,” get thee to the Museum of Jurassic Technology. This humble but noble institution in Culver City, California is dedicated to “the incongruity born of the overzealous spirit in the face of unfathomable phenomena.”
Pictured below is one of the museum’s many specimens: a micromosaic made from the individual scales of butterfly wings, by one Henry Dalton (1829-1911).
As a visitor to the Museum of Jurassic Technology, my companion and I were invited to ponder a mini model of the moon’s surface, the cross-cultural meanings of stringed cat’s cradles, and a logic alphabet, an aesthetically pleasing method of truth geometrics developed by Dr. Shea Zellweger.
While musing on a poignant array of painted portraits of heroic Russian space dogs, a borzoi trotted by, luring us into a parlor where a mysterious brunette offered us a beverage from a vintage silver tea pot. I felt I had fallen down a particularly wonderful rabbit hole. Another dog rested at my feet in a diminutive theater with a star-studded ceiling where a short film about a fraternity of astronomers played.
Another gallery, dedicated to artworks smaller than the eye of a needle, smelled of rotting cabbage. The scent did not deter our curiosity about the life and work of Hagop Sandaldjian, the man responsible for these tiny 3-D renderings, including one of the Disney character, Goofy.
We ended our mind-bending visit in the gift shop. I was drawn to a book by Benjamin Hoff called The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow: The Mystical Nature Diary of Opal Whiteley. Whiteley was a child prodigy who published a wildly popular, poetic nature book in the 1920s. No one believed she wrote the book, and she died in an asylum at age 95.
Leaving the MJT, our minds throbbed and our hearts swelled for the quantity of people, things, and ideas that demand astonishment.