Today the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) announced it has selected the exhibition designers at Kossmanndejong (KDJ) to create interpretive signage and displays for the famous La Brea Tar Pits.
The Amsterdam-based firm will work with museum staff and lead architect WEISS/MANFREDI to craft displays that help tell to story of the Ice Age fossils stuck in the natural asphalt (tar) at Hancock Park, just steps away from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Tar Pit’s Central L.A. location make it the world’s only active paleontological research site in a city.
Plans will help make that research more visible and more accessible to students. The designers are installing a 0.6-mile double helix–shaped path through the park and around the pits, as well as a new outdoor classroom at Pit 91 so young people can get up close to science in action and learn more about the institution’s ongoing climate change research.
The renovations of the existing, nearly 50-year-old George C. Page Museum and surrounding park commenced in 2019 with the selection of WEISS/MANFREDI as the lead architect on “Loops and Lenses,” a fun name for a serious master plan.
Alongside local firm Gruen Associates, WEISS/MANFREDI is expanding exhibits, improving collections spaces and research facilities (including a chemistry lab), and tightening connections between the tar pits, lawns, and the museum, which are spread across a site that’s the size of almost ten football fields.
The La Brea Tar Pits makeover is part of a major overhaul of its institutions across Los Angeles. In December, NHMLAC announced an expansion plan, NHM Commons, that will add a new wing and community hub to its Natural History Museum in Exposition Park. NHMLAC selected Frederick Fisher and Partners as the lead architect, with Studio MLA and Studio Joseph as landscape architect and exhibition designer, respectively. That project will open in 2024, one year after its originally forecasted opening date.