After an awkward half-conversation with the twenty-something manning the front desk, we wandered around the small, dimly lit maze of exhibits. Creepy music filtered through hallways and we squinted to read the tiny placards, Ben with a quiet smile. My initial confusion gave way to fascination after Ben whispered that the museum was created as a sort of homage to the art of museums - a sort of postmodern look at why we study what we do, lending a sense of truth to fabrication, and a feeling of fraud to what's real. That went a long way towards explaining the entire room dedicated to the "Garden of Eden on Wheels," a study of Los Angeles trailer parks, and the gallery holding only oil portraits of canine cosmonauts. Multiple displays were marked as down for repair - one was just a gaping hole in the wall, wires visible, explained only as "out for refurbishment." However, it also meant that I second-guessed almost every reality (that man just waltzed out an emergency exit! is this really a bathroom? that musty smell must be manufactured).
Our overwhelming favorite was "Tell the Bees," which presented a number of home remedies, old wives' tales, and superstitions, illustrated graphically in dramatically lit glass boxes. We finally happened upon the stairs that led up to the tea room, where we were served hot tea in glasses, and wandered out to the dreamy rooftop, enclosed with netting that kept in the exotic birds but still allowed the cool breeze to filter through.
Eventually, I was able to relax into a headspace where I could appreciate that I didn't need to know what was fact vs fiction. And I suppose that's the point - a thesis that must strict fear into the hearts of many a footnote lover, and certainly a few of my less creative-minded elementary school teachers. Here is a traditionally presented fountain of knowledge, from whence it came we will never know.
the entryway sign
view in the tea room
a birdcage in the rooftop menagerie
mice on toast and mouse pie in "Tell the Bees"
oddities in the hallways
the best / most accurate guest book comment
the scientific music player Ben purchased at the gift shop