31 July 2008

The Triceratops and the Whale

If you love the American Natural History Museum like I do, then these archived photos including the initial set-up of the space and the installation of exhibits is a must-see. If you don't love the AMHM, why are we friends?

Check out this picture of them swabbing the elephant skin. The navigation for the photos is horrible but for some of the highlights, you can go here.

I can't remember the first experience I had at the museum, or who took me, but I know that seeing the sheer volume of all these animals, big and small, was mind blowing. I feel like I'd been to the zoo before (we lived in San Diego) but c'mon, most of the animals at the zoo are sleeping or hidden away. Being able to sit and stare at an animal -- albeit dead, but life sized -- was just amazing. Plus, this was probably one of my first experiences with dinosaurs, launching a childhood love affair. One of my male college roommates didn't know anything about dinosaurs, which blew our mind. We asked him to name a few. "Rhino-saurus?" Um, no.

The room with all the ocean animals was always my favorite. Here's a shot of it, nearly empty. Plus a closer one of them hanging up a sperm whale. Of course the most memorable thing about the History Museum is the life-sized blue whale. It's not the only model blue whale in existence but it's certainly the most dramatic. The way it's positioned, shaped, and seems to be swimming at you out of the dark makes a huge impression when you get to stand in front of it.

Speaking of dinosaurs, this one at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum would have freaked the crap out of me if I was young. Listen to the background audio of kids crying. "C'mon, eat one. Just one?"

Ah hell, I might as well just post all animal related links right now. While I think pandas are way overrated, even my cold heart can't resist these photos. And here's a pretty realistic robotic fish (with video). I can't wait until they can make a mini pet-sized robotic dinosaur. I'd pre-order that guy right now.