Sunday, April 7, 2024

Music at Exposition Park & the Natural History Museum, Los Angeles, Cal.

Postcard from blogger's collection

Exposition Park has always offered a variety of musical entertainment. 

The 1913 park complex included a bandstand.  Historian Charles Epting wrote that concerts, speakers and an annual Easter sunrise service were held there.  The postcard seen above described "Band concerts and other musical entertainments, also community singing" with seating for 5,000 people.  Unknown is when it was dismantled.  It was located where today the hangar stands (recently vacated by the Space Shuttle Endeavour).

The bandstand likely was built a year or two after 1913 - below shows a massive gathering to hear William Jennings Bryan speak in August, 1915:

At the left a peek of the Exposition Building can be seen (today's California Science Center)

Bandstand shown on leaflet, 1940
(Image courtesy of Seaver Center for Western History Research)

Plenty of jazz was performed at the George Kinsey Auditorium for about 25 years from 1974 until around 2000.  

The 1959 Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena hosted stadium size concerts until it was demolished in 2016.

Open air concerts appear on the grass and anywhere else a stage can be set up:

A back view of a stage at the Sound & Fury Festival of alternative and hardcore bands
July 31, 2023

Jean Delacour Auditorium at the Natural History Museum

Before the Kinsey Auditorium was constructed, the Natural History Museum premiered their own venue in the Spring of 1960.  Named for the ornithologist and recently retired director of the museum - the Jean Delacour Auditorium would be the third expansion since the museum opened in 1913 - the previous time was in 1929.

The L.A. Times reported in March of 1957 that a big addition was soon under way.  The architects Riener C. Nielsen and Gene E. Moffatt would design the $417,000 add-on with a 500-seat capacity, gallery spaces, a reception area and kitchen.  The venue would be equipped for films, lectures, chamber music concerts, and parking spaces immediately to the north.

Early on, the California Academy of Sciences convened meetings there.  It was also where museum all-staff meetings took place.  One of the last public events was the 2008 summer series "B-Movies and Bad Science" which combined a movie screening with a panel of the museum's scientists deconstructing the film.

Dedication ceremony, March 22, 1960
L to R:  Jean Delacour, County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, and museum trustee Ed Harrison
(Image courtesy USC Libraries, Los Angeles Examiner Collection)

March 14, 1960
(Image courtesy of the Seaver Center)

In their final years the Sports Arena (1959), the Delacour Auditorium (1960) and the Kinsey Auditorium (1974) were most likely worn, neglected and languishing until something else took its places.  The first to go, the Sports Arena, is now a soccer stadium; the Kinsey yielded to the Oschin Air and Space Center; and the Delacour will soon become the NHM Commons.

April 2021

September 2021

September 2021

With the auditorium torn down, new steel beams can be seen rising for the NHM Commons
September 2023