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  • Griffith ObservatoryGriffith Observatory Los Angeles, California
    The Griffith Observatory sits on the south facing slope of Mount Hollywood, in Los Angeles, California with a spectacular view of the LA basin, downtown LA towards the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest and the fabulous area of Hollywood to the south. Part of Griffith Park, the observatory is a very popular attraction that showcases a number of space and science related exhibits. The land was given to the city by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith in 1896, with the stipulation that an observatory, planetarium and exhibit hall would be built on it, with other funds he left. The construction started in 1933, designed by John C. Austin with sketches given by Russell W. Porter. The observatory and other buildings were opened in 1935, and during its first five days, over 13,000 people came here to see it. The first displays that were opened included the Foucalt pendulum, created to show the rotation of the earth, a 12 inch Zeiss refracting telescope in the east dome, triple beam coelstat or solar telescope in the west and a 38 foot relief model of the moon's north polar area. Griffith asked that an exhibit about evolution be included which ended up being the Cosmochron exhibit that also had a narration by Caltech Professor Chester Stock and associated slide show. This display was here from 1937 until the mid 1960s. Another fascinating inclusion was the planetarium that sat under the huge dome with shows that covered the moon, eclipses and the worlds of the solar system. In WWII, it was used to train pilots in celestial navigation, and used for this purpose in the 1960s for the Apollo program pilots going to the moon for the first time. It was rejuvenated in 1964 and a Mark IV Zeiss projector put in.

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  • Japanese American National Museum
    The Japanese American National Museum started in 1992, and is found in the area known as Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, California. Dedicated to saving the culture, experiences and history of the Japanese American people from the 1920s through the 1950s, with over 100,000 feet of 8 mm and 16 mm home movies of these resilient people. Home to numerous galleries of oral histories, artifacts, art, textiles and photographs of the Japanese Americans, as well as over 130 years of history going back to the first Issei generation, which means the first generation and the second, or the first children born in the new country are called Nisei. The Frank H. Watase Media Arts Center was started in 1997, by Karen L. Ishizuka and Robert A. Nakamura to find new ways of saving, documenting and publicizing the lives of Americans with Japanese ancestry. The Manabi and Sumi Hirasaki National Resource Center was started to allow access to the information and resources stored at the museum, as well as online, with documentation of the culture and lives of Japanese Americans.  Three displays are being presented at the current time, Common Ground; where the heart of the community concentrates on the earliest immigration to this country, up to the present time by showcasing numerous media, artifacts and art. The next is Living Flowers; Ikebana and Contemporary Art describing the tradition of flower arrangement, ikebana; that exhibits the contemporary expression, and the Glorious Excess with Mike Shinoda's artworks and paintings.

February 16, 2011