Natural History Museum renovations completed

After three years and $91 million, the renovation of Los Angeles County’s oldest museum building is done. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has more.

After three years and $91 million, the renovation of Los Angeles County’s oldest museum building is done. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has more.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: The 96-year-old building in L.A.’s Exposition Park was the original home of the Natural History Museum of L.A. County. Since then, the institution’s added a much larger structure next door. But the original brick building needed a seismic retrofit.

Don Webb’s company oversaw the project. Crews stabilized the building by drilling shafts down the old walls and filling them with polymer and steel rods. Webb says that procedure revealed some hidden history.

Don Webb: As we were hollowing out those walls we found large voids that weren’t shown on the plans and weren’t readily apparent to us. And as we researched that we found that those large voids had been openings for coal chutes, because once upon a time in the early life of this building, the heating system was a coal-fired boiler. There would have had to have been places for the trucks to back up and dump the coal.

Guzman-Lopez: The Natural History Museum is preparing for new exhibitions as its centennial approaches four years from now.

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