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Unlikely wonderland in the Iron Triangle

on November 29, 2010

The nondescript Richmond warehouse surrounded by industrial lots and empty rail yards gives no hint of the bizarre and curious creations within.

From floor to ceiling, the workspace of Scientific Art Studios is filled with models of fairy tale creatures, long-extinct animals, alien beings, and ancient habitats. The company conceptualizes, designs, and manufactures objects used in everything from traditional museums to amusement parks to huge arena rock and roll tours.

Founder Ron Holthuysen, a native of Holland, studied natural sciences and taught high school physics and biology for several years before he started making scientific models, dioramas and re-creations full time. After relocating to California, he began working in special effects, amusement park design, and themed exhibits. Originally located in Berkeley, Scientific Art Studio has been in Richmond for six years. The move, Holthuysen says, has been a great step for his company, affording it more space to work in a community he is glad to be part of.

Scroll through the graphic to learn more about the objects this unique Richmond company has helped create.

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Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.

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