Lectures | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

Come hear discussions with an eclectic mix of scientists, writers, and experts.

First Fridays Discussion Podcasts

Miss a First Fridays discussion? It's never too late to soak up the science!

Check out past discussions on iTunes HERE.

Summer Nights in the Garden

Miss Summer Nights in the Garden this year? Get the highlights HERE

Citizen Science and Cocktails

When researchers and the public work together, it's always a reason to celebrate. Join us at Citizen Science and Cocktails events to hear from researchers about their citizen science projects.
Learn More >




Pterosaurs once ruled the sky – now they rule NHM! Join us for a series of discussions in honor of our special exhibition, Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs. Hear from paleontologists and other experts in the field, explore the special exhibition after hours, and discover what life was like during the Age of Dinosaurs. 


Members, $10; Non-members, $12.


6:00 pm: Doors open
7:00 pm: Discussion 
8:00 pm: Explore Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs or the Dinosaur Hall 
9:30 pm: Program Concludes

THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2016  ǀ 7 pm

The Making of Pterosaurs with
Dr. Mark A. Norell and Dr. Alexander W.A. Kellner in
discussion with journalist, Cara Santa Maria 

It started as a fascination for pterosaurs and ended with a beautiful special exhibition. Just how was Pterosaurs: Flight of the Age of Dinosaurs developed? Learn about the making of the special exhibition with paleontologists and curators Dr. Mark A. Norell, of the American Museum on of Natural History, and Dr. Alexander W.A. Kellner, of the Museu Nacional/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro/ Brazil. 

Cara Santa Maria

Cara Santa Maria is an Emmy Award winning journalist, reporter on SoCal Connected, science communicator, television personality and producer, creator of the “Talk Nerdy” podcast. 


Dr. Alexander W.A. Kellner
Associate Professor 
Museu Naciónal/Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Kellner was born in the Principality of Liechtenstein and is a naturalized Brazilian. He has a degree in Geology and Masters from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Since 1997, he works at UFRJ, the oldest and most traditional scientific institution of South America. His main research areas include paleobiodiversity and development of ancient ecosystems through deep time.


Dr. Mark A. Norell
Curator & Chair, Division of Paleontology
American Museum of Natural History


For the last two and a half decades, Norell has been one of the team leaders of the joint American Museum of Natural History/Mongolian Academy of Sciences expeditions to the Gobi Desert. With the discovery of extraordinarily well-preserved fossils in Mongolia, Dr. Norell and the team have generated new ideas about bird origins and the groups of dinosaurs to which modern birds are most closely related. Dr. Norell came to AMNH in 1989 from Yale University, after receiving his PhD at Yale.  



A discussion presented in partnership with the
UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2016 ǀ 3-5 pm

With the imminent revitalization of the L.A. River, the city’s landscape is about to transform. But how will the restoration project impact life in and around the river? In partnership with the UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science, the Natural History Museum brings to the stage a historian, ecologist, urban planner and community leader to talk about this often overlooked waterway from a biological perspective. What lived in and around the river historically, and what thrives there now? How do they expect it will change? What does success look like from an environmental perspective? From mudbugs to mallards, the L.A. River is host to some incredible biodiversity. Let’s examine it as we plan for the next phase of the river’s life.
The discussion will include:
  • Mike Affeldt Assistant Director, LARiverWorks
  • Kristine Puich Principal, Los Angeles River School
  • Dr. Brad Shaffer Ecologist & Director, UCLA/La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science
  • Moderated by Patt Morrison, L.A. River historian, Los Angeles Times journalist, author and Emmy-winning television and radio host      


FREE. Advanced reservation required.


3:00 PM: Doors open to North American Mammal Hall, 1st Floor
3:30 PM: Life in the L.A. River discussion followed by Q&A
5:00 PM: Program Concludes; Museum Closes

Mike Affeldt, LARiverWorks Assistant Director  

Mike Affeldt is the Assistant Director of the LARiverWorks team in Mayor Eric Garcetti's Office of City Services. He is involved in project development and coordination and is staff lead for the City, as local sponsor, for the LA River Ecosystem Restoration Study, which was recently adopted by the City.


Kristine Puich, Principal Los Angeles River School

Kristine Puich is the founding Principal of the Los Angeles River High School, an LAUSD, STEAM-focused, pilot school preparing students for careers in the “greening” economy by providing theme-based curriculum centered around urban agriculture, and water conservation, within the context of the school community’s proximity to the Los Angeles River.


Dr. Brad Shaffer, Ecologist & Director of the UCLA/La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science

Dr. Brad Shaffer is the founding Director of the UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science and Distinguished Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA. His research focuses on the conservation and ecology of reptiles and amphibians and the ecosystems that they inhabit across California. 

Patt Morrison, L.A. River historian, L.A. Times journalist, author and Emmy-winning television and radio host       

Patt Morrison has six Emmys, twelve Golden Mike awards and a share of two Pulitzer Prizes for her work as a public television and radio broadcaster and as a longtime columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Her book “Rio LA, Tales from the Los Angeles River” was a best-seller that helped to bring the river back to public consciousness.