An incredibly teeny-tiny Museum parked up next to the La Brea Tar Pits.
I’ve been promising myself I’d go into the George C. Page Museum for a while now. After that, I promised myself I’d give it it’s own review apart from the Tar Pits.
Well, here it is. It’s also going to lay wide open the awful, nasty little secret behind the George C. Page Museum.
Actually, two secrets (both of which covered in the Safety Tips).
A long while ago, one George Allen Hancock acquired the land that would be Hancock Park, also known as the place where the La Brea Tar Pits, the Museum itself, as well as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art now sit. His principle purpose for the land was to drill for Oil, which he did…in spades. Thing of it was, the oil wasn’t the most valuable thing on the land (at least, according to the two films on display at the Page Museum). They found the Tar Pits, and they, in turn, provided most fossilized remains of Ice Age Creatures than any spot on earth.
The Tar itself is no joke. If you look on it, it looks like a pool of still ugly, dirty water. But underneath that layer of water, things turn dangerous (more on that here). Underneath that layer is a thick, nasty bunch of unrefined, super-crude crude oil that that Scientists refer to as “Asphalt”. It’s thick enough to stop a Mammoth. It’s very, very, very, difficult to get off you once it gets on. I got the feeling that a shower wouldn’t cut it. There is a small display, one of the best in the museum, that allow you to try and pull a small metal stick out of the Tar. Good luck with that, it may be the best workout you have all week.
There’s a reason there’s fence around the pits. If you get stuck in there, I’m not 100% how they get you out without there being a lot of pain involved.
Between 1903 and 1905, they recovered something like a million fossils (at least, according to one of the films, by my recollection). Odds are, if you see a set of fossils in a Museum coated in brown, they were recovered from a tar pit, and odds are that Tar pit is right here in L.A.
Again, according to the Museum.
In 1977, an entrepreneur named (you guessed it) George C. Page founded the museum to permanently house the artifacts.
Okay, so there’s the story. So now, onto the museum.
Let’s be honest, the Museum is small…as in finish it in an hour and you’re outta there, small. Worse, if you’re an adult, it costs twelve bucks to get in. Way too expensive for a Museum that size. There is a way to get yourself a pass to both the George C. Page Museum and the Natural History Museum over in Exposition Park, but I haven’t figured that out yet. So, the Museum does have to support itself. I’m sure the ticket price figures into their budgetary needs, but still…damn. That’s still expensive for a such a small Museum.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: And there in lies the two secrets of the George C. Page Museum.
First question, how many Dinosaurs should you expect to see if you go to the Museum. (Your kids will ask this question).
Answer? Zero. Know that going in.
The Tar Pits formed some 10-40,000 years ago. Dinosaurs went extinct some 65 million years ago. So, different epochs of planetary history. Thus, no Dinosaurs.
Next, the Museum itself. Is it really a Museum?
Yes and no. It’s a Museum, but it’s also an active
Archaeological Paleolonological site…to this day. They dig every summer when the Tar is loosest. They are still pulling fossils, and working on them in the Museum. There is something called a Bubble Laboratory where you can watch (but not touch) live Scientists and Volunteers working on cleaning the Fossils. The Bubble Lab is way cool. Not twelve dollars cool, but you get my meaning.
Y’see, the active site…the one that’s active even today…is Pit 91. It’s a pit very close to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (go up the steps out of the Ahmanson Building a left, and you’re just about there). You can go see the Pit in all its glory, and watch actual Scientists dig stuff up during the Summertime.
And that ain’t gonna cost you a thing.
Yeah, going to Pit 91, where arguably all the real action is happening is 100% free. It’s not exactly roomy, neat and spacious, but it is free. Seeing that is what I expected when I went into the Museum.
PARKING: The Page Museum has it’s own lot, at the market-competition friendly price of $9 dollars on Weekdays and $7 bucks on Weekends. According to the Page Museum’s website:
The Museum’s parking lot is located at the corner of Curson Ave. and 6th St., directly behind the museum (enter from the western side of Curson Ave).
George C. Page Museum
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 934-PAGE (7243)
Open 9:30 am to 5 pm every day of the year, with four exceptions.
They are closed on:
Independence Day (July 4)
Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday of November)
Christmas Day (December 25)
New Year’s Day (January 1)