Yes, this is what you think it is. It’s a Dire Wolf Baculum, which is a bone found in the penis of a prehistoric canid, the Dire Wolf.
Admiring it from afar, writing a hefty check ($1,500, or quarterly payments of $375) to sponsor it– and even writing a public love-letter to it– may seem like just the smoking wreckage of yet another bad L.A. romance, with yet another bad L.A. musician/performance artist/Thai yoga master/success coach. Except that loving this bone is actually part of the brilliant new program, “Object of Affection”, offered through the Natural History Museum’s “Next” campaign (www.nhm.org/object, 213-763-DINO).
The campaign is intended, of course, to inspire donations, but also to create a love-bond between the community and the NHM’s astonishing collections.
Maybe you jones for something other than bone. NHM offers an array of 270 “Objects” –specimens, artifacts and plants–offered for affection, aka sponsorship, with price-tags ranging from $100 to $250,000. Objects currently available for loving include whale bolus–meaning the remnants of its last meal–dating back 42 million years; a rosary that belonged to Pio Pico, the last governor of Mexican California; lemon trees and lilac trees, recently planted in North Campus; or perhaps a 15-million year old shark tooth, discovered in Palos Verdes. Something for every taste and pocketbook.
By the way, and no, you don’t get to take it home or wear it around your neck. Ew. Not even the rosary.
With graduations, June weddings, and, of course, my birthday right around the corner, an “Object of Affection” sponsorship also makes for a unique and culturally relevant gift. Convenient installment plans are offered, and the sponsorship is tax-deductible.
The NHM “Next” program is part of a massive re-energizing of this dynamic L.A. destination. And actually, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is a trio of destinations, offering public education and exhibition of more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years.
The stately Beaux-Arts museum building located in Exposition Park opened its doors in 1913, and was the first dedicated museum building in Los Angeles. The other NHM museum locations are the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits (beside LACMA, mid-Wilshire), and the William S. Hart Park and Museum in Newhall.