Becoming Los Angeles
LocationNatural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA
Becoming Los Angeles at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County tells the story of one of the country’s most vibrant and vital cities. At 14,000 square feet, the permanent exhibit is the museum’s largest in scale and broadest in scope, guiding visitors through L.A.’s complicated past, exploring its dynamic present, and looking toward its promising future. The relationship between cause and effect, nature and culture, human activity and the land, provides the prism through which Becoming Los Angeles organizes and tells the tales of the frontiers, opportunities, communities, and individuals that have shaped the city’s history.
Second Story collaborated as part of an integrated team of designers, engineers, fabricators, and historians, helping to develop the exhibit’s design and communication strategy. The interactive media experiences we created complement the exhibit, enhancing visitors’ understanding of how Los Angeles as we know it came to be.
Press & AwardsTime Out Los Angeles: Best of 2013, Winner, Best Exhibition about LA, November 2013“‘Becoming Los Angeles’ at the Natural History Museum,” The Wall Street Journal, August 2013
The success of shows like “Becoming Los Angeles” depends on a delicate balancing act: In this age of touch screens and ever more sophisticated ways of showing objects in a museum context, you need a certain amount of razzmatazz to satisfy an audience. But if the story you have to tell is not full of its own pathos and struggle, why should we care? Happily, the Natural History Museum gets it just about right.“Becoming Los Angeles Opens at the Natural History Museum,” Discover Los Angeles, August 2013
Becoming Los Angeles also features innovative multimedia installations, including an interactive scale model of downtown LA in the 1930s, which takes visitors back in time through the 19th and 20th centuries of 10 distinct neighborhoods.“Becoming Los Angeles: New 14,000-square-foot exhibit offers unique take on Los Angeles’ stories,” ArtDaily, August 2013
Powerful storytelling, contemporary design, exceptional objects, and multi-media allow visitors to interact with the exhibition, and by extension, contemporary Los Angeles, in real time.“‘Becoming Los Angeles’ at NHMLA,” BLOUIN ARTINFO, July 2013“‘Becoming Los Angeles’ explains L.A.’s 240-year journey,” Los Angeles Times, July 2013
A new exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County offers explanations for the golden hills of California (fertilized by cow droppings), the evolution of diversity in Los Angeles (fueled by the Gold Rush and 44 Mexican settlers) and the reason Hollywood became the center of the entertainment industry (cheap land and diverse backdrops).“Becoming L.A.: The 1700s,” KTLA, July 2013“Becoming LA: The 1800s,” KTLA, July 2013“Becoming LA: The 1900s,” KTLA, July 2013“Becoming L.A.: The Present & The Future,” KTLA, July 2013“Becoming LA opens at Natural History Museum,” LA Observed, July 2013
It’s must-see for students of Los Angeles history, but it should be interesting for just about anyone.“Becoming L.A.: Stories of Nature and Culture,” Time Out Los Angeles, July 2013
An innovative and comprehensive view on LA’s history and identity, the exhibition captures the essence of LA’s complicated genesis, from Mexican rancho settlements to the transformative World War II years.
There are probably a million ways to accurately tell the story of our multi-prism’d city, and Becoming LA, which opens on Sunday, July 14, is all about that story. The Natural History Museum’s newest permanent exhibit will offer many angles, views, and fresh looks upon the millions of tales that have existed and exist today in the place we call home.“Natural History Museum’s new exhibit tells story of a city still ‘Becoming Los Angeles,’” Los Angeles Daily News, July 2013
The L.A. story is told through more than 250 historical artifacts that go back to the period before the founding of the city in 1781, as well as multimedia installations and personal stories and belongings of the people who lived, worked and helped to shape the metropolis.
Another highlight is an interactive model of downtown L.A., allowing visitors to slide across town with the touch of a finger. If only traffic would move this easily.“Renovations, Innovations for NHM’s 100th Anniversary,” Los Angeles Confidential, July 2013
The new four-gallery 14,000-square-foot multimedia Becoming Los Angeles exhibition hall, curated by the museum’s creative director and director of exhibits, Simon Adlam, opens in July and documents how the interaction of land, people, and the environment has influenced the evolution of LA over the past five centuries, from native populations to the emergence of Hollywood to today’s wave of redevelopment.Part of SapientRazorfish /© 2017 Second Story, Inc.