HMNS@100 – Meet Irene Offeman

April 30, 2009

 The Downtown Public Library in 1922,
at the time the museum was housed here.

This year, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is one hundred years old. And, it got me to thinking, “What was Houston like when we got started?” Here’s a little taste of history: In 1909, President Taft had a procession down Main Street; W. W. Baldwin started a trolley line to connect Bellaire with Houston; the mayor was H. Baldwin Rice; and the museum was established as the Houston Museum and Scientific Society and was housed in the City of Houston’s public auditorium and at the downtown public library.

Now here we are—in 2009—celebrating a century of science. Through vigorous efforts, HMNS has grown to become one of the highest-attended museums in the United States with millions of people visiting each year from around the globe. And in honor of our 100th year, we thought it would be a great time to introduce you to some of our HMNS legends that have been instrumental in the museum’s growth and have seen the Museum blossom from a new organization welcoming visitors to an assortment of small exhibits, to an expansive multi-story science center.

Today, you’ll meet Irene Offeman. When she looks back during her 26 years of service at the museum, she can talk for hours and still have many more fascinating stories to tell. After leaving her home, I told my colleague Erin that Ms. Offeman is the epitome of what Phil Munsey describes as the meaning of “legacy” in his book, Legacy Now – that life is not just about how you live but what you leave behind.

Ms. Offeman left a concrete thumbprint on this amazing institution, including a detailed plan for a new paleontology hall which we’re in the process of developing today (the reason behind our current capital campaign). Ever since I met her, I have looked forward to sharing her story with you. Take a look at the video and let us know what you think – you can also see more stories at our Centennial web site.

Authored By Melodie Wade

Melodie is a Public Relations Consultant at HMNS.

One response to “HMNS@100 – Meet Irene Offeman”

  1. Regina says:

    Irene is such an amazing woman! I got to know her through the Houston Gem and Mineral Society, where she shared her incredible knowledge and passion for invertebrate fossils with me. Irene and Richard Zingula taught an invertebrate paleo course that I will never forget… was fascinating! She was even so kind as to drive me several hours from north Texas back to Sugarland after I broke my ankle on a class fossil collecting trip! She is really an inspiration and role model to me.
    I am currently working on my Ph.D. in palynology / micropaleontology and I want to say “Thank you, Irene”, for lighting a spark in me to pursue what I’ve always loved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Become An HMNS Member

With a membership level for everyone; Don't just read about it, see it.

View All Membership Levels

Editor's Picks Lou The Corpse Flower : Why He Smells So Bad And Why We Should Be Excited When He Blooms Wait Just A Minute! Let’s Take A Second To Talk About the Origin Of Time Keeping. The Krak Des Chevaliers: A Tough Nut To Krak Polar Dinosaurs Are Real And They Are More Adorable Than Elves Gosh that Corpse Looks Delicious: The Disturbing World of the Medieval Apothecary Hurricane Harvey Update
Follow And Subscribe

Equally Interesting Posts

HMNS at Hermann Park

5555 Hermann Park Dr.
Houston,Texas 77030
(713) 639-4629

Get Directions Offering varies by location
HMNS at Sugar Land

13016 University Blvd.
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
(281) 313-2277

Get Directions Offering varies by location
George Observatory

21901 FM 762 Rd.
Needville, Texas 77461
(281) 242-3055

Tuesday - Saturday By Reservation
Saturdays 3:00PM - 10:00PM
Saturdays (DST) 3:00PM - 11:00PM
DST = Daylight Savings Time.
Please call for holiday hours. Entry to Brazos Bend State Park ends at 9:30 p.m. daily
Get Directions Offering varies by location

Stay in the know. Join our mailing list.