On September 11, the County of Los Angeles released a Draft Environmental Impact Report analyzing the potential local impacts of the proposed plan to renovate and remodel the Natural History Museum’s La Brea Tar Pits. The proposal includes the existing museum, excavation pits, and other parts of the 13-acre site. And this Saturday, September 30, the Tar Pits will hold a community open house to provide more information about both the renovation plans and the findings of the new DEIR. (An online version of the report, broken down into sections, is available here, and a downloadable PDF version is available here.)
Saturday’s “pop up” event will take place outdoors at the Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd., between the Page Museum entrance and the Lake Pit.
When we last checked in with the Museum, in March, 2022 during the scoping period before work began on the DEIR, NHMLAC director Lori Bettison-Varga said Tar Pits is one of the most important paleontological sites in the United States, including both an active paleontological site with a growing research department and the popular public museum. At the same time, though, Bettison-Varga said the current facility was 40 years old and lacks both the storage space and modern amenities that would help it continue to do its important work into the future. So the new Master Plan, designed by the firm Weiss/Manfredi, will re-imagine the site to enhance both its scientific and public service capabilities, as well as contribute to making the surrounding Miracle Mile museum district a “bucket list destination.”
The proposed design, which the architects refer to as “Loops and Lenses,” ties together the museum, its active research sites, and its community spaces with a system of looping pathways and many points of entry and connection.
Specific features will include a new Visible Fossil Lab, revamped educational excavation sites, new shaded entryways, an “enhanced and expanded” central green, and a new exhibition building.
To learn more about the project and the DEIR, see https://tarpits.org/la-brea-tar-pits-master-plan-draft-eir and visit the open house on Saturday. If you’d like to weigh in on the project, a 45-day public comment period on the DEIR opened on September 11, and will close at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, October 26. Comments can be addressed to:
Leslie Negritto, Chief Operating Officer, Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County, at [email protected], or 900 Exposition Boulevard Los Angeles, California 90007.