LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Jun 9, 2013) - The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) opens to the public Sunday, June 9, as an indoor-outdoor museum, connecting its mission and exhibitions about the planet with the urban fabric of Los Angeles. NHM welcomes visitors from all over the world into its new Nature Gardens -- 3 1/2 acres of outdoor exhibits, programming and research space; Nature Lab, an indoor interactive complement to Nature Gardens where visitors are invited to take part in citizen science activities and learn more about the wildlife that shares the Southern California environment; and Otis Booth Pavilion, the Museum's new gleaming glass entrance and gathering place which cuts through the center of the museum campus to feature an iconic 63-foot fin whale specimen. Facing out to Exposition Boulevard and the city's new light rail Metro Expo Line, these three new visitor experiences represent the culmination of a decade-long transformation during which NHM has evolved into an active, dynamic center for public engagement and scientific exploration in the next century.

"We have invested a decade of imagination and effort and $135 million to remake this institution for its next hundred years," said Dr. Jane Pisano, NHM President and Director. "To honor our great legacy and keep it vital for audiences today, we began by restoring our magnificent 1913 Beaux Arts building, the first museum facility constructed in Los Angeles, as the jewel in historic Exposition Park. Then we swept through the entire institution, reinventing the way we bring the public together with our scientists and collections. We have created engaging new permanent exhibitions such as Age of Mammals and the Dinosaur Hall, built renovated, light-filled galleries and doubled our combined indoor and outdoor program space, making NHM a museum of both natural history and living nature. Now we're excited to welcome everyone to a museum experience unlike any they've had before."

The NHM 100 Centennial Partners are J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Farmers Insurance Group.

The transformation will continue beyond June 9 with the unveiling of two final components in 2013:

  • the new, 14,000-square-foot permanent exhibition Becoming Los Angeles (opening July 14), which tells the intertwined stories of cultural and ecological shifts in the development of Los Angeles and its region
  • and the renovated galleries for temporary exhibitions, opening on December 22 with Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World, the fascinating, richly experiential exhibition that takes visitors on a caravan journey with the crafts and spices, ideas and cultures, of peoples spread halfway around the world. Organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Traveling the Silk Road will be shown only at NHM in the United States following the exhibition's recent tour in Asia.

This summer, evidence of NHM's new position as a destination for both Angelenos and travelers, the Museum will be designated as an official L.A. Tourism Visitor Center. It will serve as a "first stop" for visitors, giving them a context into the region's nature and culture that can enhance their stays. Maps, Metro guides, and information from the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board will available at our ticket booth and in the Museum Store.

Helping to realize the citizen science projects both at the Museum and off-site is NHM's new website: www.nhm.org/nature. A major resource for Los Angeles residents and people everywhere who are intrigued by the natural world, the highly interactive website provides a multitude of opportunities for engagement, from uploading visitors' photographs of the species they have spotted while exploring the Nature Gardens to participating in the species-tracking projects represented in the Nature Lab.

The NHM Next Campaign

This year, NHM marks its 100th anniversary with the completion of a transformation that has filled the Museum with light, discovery, and wonder. The decade-long initiative known as NHM Next has touched virtually every corner of the Museum, with the restoration of the Museum's magnificent original 1913 Building; the creation of five new permanent exhibitions including the acclaimed Dinosaur Hall and Age of Mammals; the substantial improvement of more than 60 percent of the museum's indoor space; the construction of new facilities including a car park, box office, new Museum Store and the NHM Grill; and the doubling of the combined indoor and outdoor programming space. Visit www.nhm.org

About the Natural History Museum

The Museum was the first dedicated museum building in Los Angeles, opening its doors in 1913. It has amassed one of the world's most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history -- with more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. The Natural History Family of Museums includes the NHM, the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits (Hancock Park/Mid-Wilshire), and the William S. Hart Park and Museum (Newhall, California). The Family of Museums serves more than one million families and visitors annually, and is a national leader in research, exhibitions and education.