Noah’s Ark Exhibit Swings at the Skirball Cultural Center

Jun 03, 2009 by Lisa Newton

What could be more fun than making your own wind, lightening, masks, and playing musical instruments? If you’re a kid at heart or a kid, I don’t know.

Where was I able to do all of this?

At the Noah’s Ark exhibit in the Skirball Cultural Center

Let's go!!

As you enter the Noah’s Ark Exhibition gallery, one of Skirball’s many knowledgeable, friendly, and professional docents provide a brief introduction.

From that point forward, you’re even further welcomed into the Noah’s Ark Exhibit, by its main stars–all the different animals on their way into the ark. Above, two zebras, an elephant, and a deer are all marching their way toward the ark.

Designer Chris Green, created this spectacular art and form using sustainable, fair trade, and eco-friendly products. For kids, nothing could be better than experiencing, learning, and participating with the exhibit itself– the zebras are wind sound machines, and the elephant has a working gong encased in its interior. See the elephant’s feet and trunk?

The Noah’s Art Exhibit tries to reproduce the cultural aspects of each animal’s respective homelands; the paper mached animal’s heads were made using Nepalese paper; and the elephant’s feet are rain drums from Thailand.

Here, an alligator is created from a recycled violin case, the tongue of the alligator is the violin’s neck, and its teeth are eye droppers. The Noah’s Ark Exhibit not only uses small details like this, but expands into much larger details,


including using clay pots for the giraffe’s legs. If you step on the feet, hold the cage, and move right to left, the giraffe’s head will move back and forth, overseeing his domain.

The moving giraffe is just one of the many interactive displays at Noah’s Ark. Using the universal and symbolic theme of the impending flood upon earth, a wind pump blows leaves, a spinning wheel starts a wind storm, and a lightning sparks with the twist of a knob.

These are exquisite details and examples of why children from all over the city–and elsewhere– love this exhibit; the story is something all children can relate to and know about, and they get to interact and learn about the oft told and retold story of Noah’s Ark, through a learn-by-doing approach, which the Skirball Cultural Center, in this one-of-a-kind exhibit, provides.

Boarding Call

As the storm starts on one side of the room, on the other side, the animals are led into the ark with the help of two small assistants. Spinning the wheel lifts the animals up the conveyor belt, taking them to their temporary home on the Ark.

These animals were designed and colored by local elementary school students, graced with the artists name and school on the bottom of each one.

It's time to go

On the other side of the storm entrance, the ark, being fiercely guarded by camels, is adorned with animals of all types which then opens into the inner sanctum of the ark itself—the animal’s quarters. On the right is a puzzle designed for kids to help put the walls of the ark together. I was informed by one of the Skirball’s staff that autistic children love this puzzle because they can easily follow the dot to dot design on each piece.

Elephant Tusk

To reach the inside of the ark, there’s a rope climbing tunnel, designed to help kids reach and investigate the top of the ark. Inside, the children are able to see the animals up close and personal, get physical through active climbing, and most importantly are afforded the ability for a tactile relationship with the art; even being able to make the the elephant speak. Indeed, the rope tunnel is a true adventure.

Close to the end

With the flood receding, the animals are looking outward at the end of Noah’s Ark, toward the Rainbow Room.

Arts and Crafts

With arts and crafts, and music concerts held twice daily, the Rainbow Room is a place to relax for the kids after a long journey. Here, the Skirball’s active volunteers help the kids create colorful masks for them to take home to recreate their feelings of adventure and discovery that the Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center brilliantly conceived, designed, and provided them with those experiences–which for children can last a lifetime.

She loves playing

When Travelin’ Local, it’s always best to be prepared for the day after the flood to explore new places, things, and animals to help. At the Skirball, that’s what’s going on.

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17 Responses to “Noah’s Ark Exhibit Swings at the Skirball Cultural Center”

  1. Kim says:

    OH.. My kids would love this place.. LOVE.. what fun they would have!!

    Kim’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – Looks & Talent


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Kim, Oh, I know your kids would love it, and if you’re anything like me, you’d love it, too…………..:)


  2. Kevin says:

    That place is really incredible! I could see being a “happy kid” for hours taking it all in. What an interesting use of cultural materials as well.

    Excellent journalism brings the exhibit to life, thanks for sharing this. I’ve got to visit!

    Kevin’s last blog post..Children of Celebrities


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Kevin, It’s great, for kids of every age. As soon as I stepped in the door, I was hooked.


  3. David says:

    How wonderful is the Noah’s Ark exhibit?

    Children love being able to touch, feel, and participate with their subject matter.

    Great story, and kudos to the Skirball, which is a unparalleled local Los Angeles cultural institution.

    And every single child just loves the story of Noah’s Ark–its a never ending tale of hope and life.


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @David, Noah’s Ark is so universal. The Skirball couldn’t have chosen a better idea. I also love the idea that local school children participated. I can imagine how proud they are to visit and see the animals they crafted.


  4. Jannie Funster says:

    What an AMAZING looking place! Kelly wouldn’t want to leave, and I wouldn’t blame her.

    Jannie Funster’s last blog post..Another chance!


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Jannie Funster, All the details in the animals were amazing. Just like Kelly would have, I found it hard to leave……….:)


  5. Mike Foster says:

    Pretty cool, especially the use of materials that one would not normally use for art like this. And kids today have so much more cooler stuff than I had growing up. Ahhh, progress.


    Mike Foster’s last blog post..I Cannot Tell a Lie, Cherries Are Good For You


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Mike Foster, LOL………You are so right. I didn’t have anything like this when I was a kid either. But, I can go there and be a kid again, for a short time.


  6. Davina says:

    Lisa, this is fantastic. Thanks for highlighting. Noah’s arc.. and THAT giraffe and the alligator created from a recycled violin case. How creative is that?

    Davina’s last blog post..Mindful Melancholy


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Davina, Those are just two examples of all the great things the creators did. From recycled boxing gloves to pasta to old oil cans, materials of all sorts were used.


  7. Lisa's Chaos says:

    What a great place!! I love that you can move the giraffe’s head and elephant’s trunk! :)

    Lisa’s Chaos’s last blog post..Niagara Falls, New York


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Lisa’s Chaos, One boy really loved pulling the cord and hearing the elephant roar. It was so cute…………..:)


  8. Paisley (Paisley Thoughts) says:

    Kids and adults could spend days having fun and learning here. What an incredible concept.

    I love the zebra – quirky animal. The recycled violin case is spectacular. Chris Green is a remarkable and super- talented man – wow! The puzzle that autistic kids love is info I can pass on to a friend.

    Lisa, I loved this post and the photos are full of info. The last one is adorable. Thank you.

    Paisley (Paisley Thoughts)’s last blog post..The Last Word


    LisaNewton Reply:

    @Paisley (Paisley Thoughts), Thanks for stopping by Paisley. It’s hard to believe Chris Green put so many details into each animal. I know I loved spending time here………………..:)


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