Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Greatest Museum in the World

If you find yourself some day walking down Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles, you may walk right past The Museum of Jurassic Technology. It's tucked between a carpet store and a Thai restaurant, but there's a helpful sandwich board out front which says, "MUSEUM," so you can't miss it if you're paying attention. Don't be shy now, go ahead and push the button above the brass plaque which requests, "Ring buzzer once for admittance." The button is right underneath a little diorama featuring an urn and some moths. Like I said, you can't miss it.

On my first visit, almost six years ago, I thought it was a joke. An incredibly elaborate, incredibly deadpan joke. After my second visit a few days ago I'm not so sure. You could say that it's a joke, and that it is also serious. That it's having its cake and eating it too. But really, I don't think there's any cake eating going on here. Rather, I think it has simply transcended all that to become... well, I have no idea. But whatever it is, it's wonderful. Glee-inducing, giddy-making, wondrousness.

The thing is, and maybe you've noticed this already, I'm not going to tell you anything about it. You just have to go. It's not like there's some big surprise which would be spoiled. It's not "The Crying Game." It's just that some things are best appreciated without preconceptions. Maybe all things, now that I'm thinking about it.

Of course I'm sure you could search on the internet and find out all about it. But why would you do that to yourself? If you absolutely must know something about it, and can't get to LA, then I suppose you could always visit the museum's website. Or better yet, read Lawrence Weschler's excellent book, "Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder."

At one point in his book, Mr. Weschler describes chatting with the museum's proprietor:

As I was opening the door to leave, I once again noticed the diorama of the urn and the moths. What about that?

"Oh, that's a little urn surrounded by French moths - or, no, maybe Flemish, I'm not sure."

And what was the significance of the urn?

"It's just an urn. I don't think it means anything."


  1. Sometimes an urn is just an urn.

  2. Are those dead rats on the toast?

  3. Well, mice, I think. But, yeah.

  4. Would that be a rat and SPAM pot pie next to the mouse toast... moast.. touse... ?

    Looks like an interesting place to visit. Like some old curio shop...

    - Chris

  5. Mmmm...nothing like moast for breakfast, with a strong cup of coffee...