About Erin B

Erin is the Director of Business Development at HMNS. In a past life, she was a public relations and online marketing dynamo at HMNS.

Live From The Field: Willie The Dimetrodon

Today’s post is from Michele Whisenhunt, a volunteer on the Museum’s paleontology team. She’ll be sharing photos with us while the team is at the Black Hills Institute, prepping Willie, the Dimetrodon the team discovered.

"Twisted Willi"

Was this in his life or after death?

Did these spines twist while Willi was alive or was it the geologic pressure that caused the twisting?

Was Willi the James Dean of his time? Would this good-looking fin catch a girl or would it keep him warm on cold nights?

These are the things we ponder in the prep lab of Black Hills Institute of Hill City, South Dakota as we explore the twisted spines of this Dimetrodon. The fin, a fixed sail of nerves, blood vessels, and skin that would have controlled body temperature, attract a mate, or intimidate other males.

The evidence shows that Willi was “twisted” in his lifetime. The sediment where Willi was found shows the water was slow moving and therefore would not have caused this deformity after he died.

Also, the fact that his skeleton is so well articulated it shows we are seeing him in his true form.

Tomorrow, we dig into two new jackets found near Willi both of which contain the bones of other species.

"Twisted Willi"

September Flickr Photo of the Month: Baby Alligators!

_DSC8853_R1_C1BM-LR
_DSC8853_R1_C1BM-LR by Mark L 2010.
Shared with permission.

There are some amazing photographers that wander the halls of HMNS – as well as our satellite facilities in the Sugar Land area. When we’re lucky, they share what they capture in our HMNS Flickr pool. Each month, we highlight one of these photos here on the blog.

This month, we’re featuring a photo from Mark L 2010, taken in Brazos Bend State Park – home to the Museum’s George Observatory. Spending the day there wildlife spotting is a perfect lead in to stargazing at the Observatory on a Saturday night. And as you can see – the animals are really cool!

Here’s what Mark had to say about his photo:

On Labor Day, 2011, we visited Brazos Bend State Park to take a look around and shoot a few photos. Just beyond the shore line of 40 Acre Lake against the fishing pier we saw a dozen or so baby alligators. The duck weed coated them completely, making an interesting sight.

Maybe more striking was the fact that as they were sleeping in the sun they were laying on one another much like you would expect of puppies. It was just a nice view of young wild life. We all wish our area could break out of the grip of this destructive drought, but it is surprising how beauty remains available in this park. Thanks to all who participate in making it available to the rest of us.

Inspired? Most of the Museum’s permanent galleries are open for photography, and we’d love for you to share your shots with us on Flickr, Facebook or Twitter. Check out the HMNS photo policy for guidelines.

Hubble 3D is back for a limited time!

Amazing Astronomy
See more Hubble images.

Working for a science museum, I can tell you I’ve enjoyed a lot of IMAX movies. But Hubble 3D is on my short list for BEST EVER.

First: they took an IMAX camera to space.

Hubble 3D tells the story of the last mission to repair the Hubble Telescope – one of the most extraordinary scientific instruments ever created.

And I don’t know if you’ve noticed – but space is big. Really, really big. Bigger than we’re capable of comprehending, really. So an IMAX format works really well here.

Also: it’s in 3D

I know what you’re thinking. So is everything else. You saw Avatar in 3D and thought “meh.” But trust me – this film is the application 3D technology was searching for. In addition to blasting you into outer space on the back of the space shuttle’s rocket*, Hubble 3D takes you inside extremely high resolution Hubble images – flies you through them, really – until you really feel like you’ve experienced the Universe.

Finally: limited time!

Don’t take my word for it – Hubble 3D is one of the most popular IMAX films we’ve ever shown. Which is why it’s back, but only through Nov. 10! So check out the previews, get the film schedule and plan your trip to see this extraordinary film!

*Pretty much the most awe-inspiring experience non-astronauts can have. Until they slap an IMAX camera on this.

August Flickr Photo of the Month: Terra Cotta Warriors!

Houston Cougars

There are some amazing photographers that wander the halls of HMNS – as well as the areas surrounding the Museum in Hermann Park. When we’re lucky, they share what they capture in our HMNS Flickr pool. Each month, we highlight one of these photos here on the blog.

This month, we’re featuring a photo from Arie Moghaddam, known as Houston Cougars on Flickr, who is a regular attendee of the Museum’s Flickr meetups. This photo is from the meetup we held in our Summer 2009 exhibition, Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor.

Why would we feature an image that’s celebrating it’s 2nd birthday? First: we’re thinking a lot about the Terra Cotta Warriors lately – since we’ve just announced a new exhibit featuring these wonders of the world!

Warriors, Tombs and Temples opens April 1, 2012!

The upcoming exhibit  includes 200 incredibly preserved ancient works of art featuring newly-discovered artifacts unearthed from imperial, royal and elite tombs and from beneath Buddhist monasteries in and around the capital cities of three great dynasties – as well as four of the famous life-size Terra Cotta Warriors!

And, second: it’s a great image with a unique perspective on the original exhibit. Arie shared a few words about what inspired it:

As for what inspired me to take the picture (aside from you being nice enough to invite us), of all the pictures I took I think this one best captures the essence of the exhibit since it combines the statue, cross bow, and armor in a logical order which any emperor would be pleased to have in his necropolis.

Inspired? Most of the Museum’s permanent galleries are open for photography, and we’d love for you to share your shots with us on Flickr, Facebook or Twitter. Check out the HMNS photo policy for guidelines.

Terra Cotta Warriors was a temporary exhibit, and photography was restricted outside of special Flickr meetup opportunities. Follow our posts in the HMNS Flickr pool for announcements about upcoming events.