Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga

President and Director

Dr. Bettison-Varga has led the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County since 2015. She oversees NHM in Exposition Park, La Brea Tar Pits in Hancock Park, and the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall. A passionate educator, Dr. Bettison-Varga aims to connect visitors and the public to science, nature, culture, and history both inside and beyond the Museums’ walls.

She is currently leading transformative expansion projects to advance research and public education in urban nature and climate science. These include NHM Commons, a new wing that will serve as a community hub at NHM, and the reimagining of La Brea Tar Pits, the richest paleontological site on Earth, where visitors can connect discoveries from Ice Age Los Angeles to today's rapidly changing planet.

A geologist who received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, Dr. Bettison-Varga previously served six years as President and W.M. Keck Foundation Presidential Chair at Scripps College in Claremont, California. She was elected as a 2022 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest scientific society, in recognition of her contributions to undergraduate education and broad public involvement with science.