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  • Los Angeles County Museum of ArtLos Angeles County Museum of Art Los Angeles, California
    The LA county Museum of Arts sits alongside the famous Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California in the area known as Museum Row in the Miracle Mile area of the city next to the George C. Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits. It is the biggest encyclopedic museum west of Chicago, and has a million people visiting it each year. Among its collections is over 100,000 artifacts that span the history of art from ancient eras to today. Besides the art displays, it features music and film series through the year. It was started in 1961, although it was part of the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art that was begun in 1910 in Exposition Park by the University of Southern California. In 1965, it was moved to the new Wilshire address as an independent, art focused institution, and the biggest new museum to be constructed in the country after the National Gallery of Art. The objects are divided in numerous departments by time period, media and region and are placed in various museum structures. The modern art collection is exhibited in the Ahmanson Building that was restored in 2008, with a new entrance that had a big staircase that was conceived as a gathering area much like the one at Rome's Spanish Steps. The bottom of the staircase sits in the atrium, and is where Tony Smith's huge sculpture Smoke sits, and the collection at the plaza level houses works from the period 1900 until the 1970s, almost filled with the Janice and Henry Lazaroff collection.

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  • Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits
    The George C. Page Museum, is associated with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and constructed close to the tar pits that exist in Hancock Park, Los Angeles, California. The museum relates the tar pits and displays specimens discovered in the pits. Those visiting the museum, or the city, can wander the park area and view the 100 plus tar pits with numerous life sized models of prehistoric animals that are close by the pits or in them. Only pit 91 is excavated each year, and after enclosing it, tourists will be permitted to watch the excavation for two months in the summer. Work is done by volunteers, under the supervision of paleontologists, and it is such a famous and well known site because it sits in the midst of a huge city, and dramatic displays are shown at the museum. In 2009, the museum announced the 2006 discovery of 16 fossil deposits that had been uncovered in the ground while constructing the new underground parking garage for the LA County Museum of Art, adjacent to the pits. Included in the bones are horses, bison, fish, an American lion, gophers, a saber-toothed cat, a giant ground sloth, snails, six dire wolves, turtles, millipedes and snails. One of the most exciting finds was the almost complete skeleton of a mammoth, that has been nicknamed Zed, with only the top of his skull, rear leg and vertebra. The top of his skull was shaved off with construction equipment getting ready to construct the garage.

February 16, 2011