Sure, out-of-towners will appreciate you taking them to LACMA’s great Stanley Kubrick retrospective or Robert Mapplethorpe show. But if you really want to impress, we recommend a smaller, darker and more mysterious cultural destination. 

It’s called the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and while it reminds us of some of our favorite art and science discoveries, it’s totally unique. This oddball natural history museum is a throwback to when private museums were hodgepodge cabinets of curiosity, like Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. And MJT’s strange creatures--such as stink ants and bats said to fly through solid objects--recall the actual and fantastical animals in the prized text Albertus Seba: Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.

Since the late 1980s, when Angeleno David Wilson opened in this formerly derelict building, he’s mounted exhibits blending fact, fiction and wonderment. Currently displayed is a survey of the dogs of the Soviet space program, microscopic art made from butterfly scales, Napoleonic artifacts and more. 

We’re not sure we can explain where the facts end and the fiction begins here (nor can we offer a concrete definition of “Jurassic Technology”), but we’re fans of this steampunk-styled spot. And so, too, is the prestigious MacArthur Foundation, which awarded Wilson a “genius” grant for his efforts.

Museum of Jurassic Technology, 9341 Venice Blvd.; 310-836-6131 or mjt.org

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