Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 8/10-8/16

Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week! 

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Last Week of Xplorations Summer Camp
Monday, August 10 – Friday, August, 14
Xplorations Summer Science Adventures are week-long, hands-on science summer camps featuring science activities for children ages 6 – 12. 

Lecture – NASA’s Year Of The Dwarves: Exploration Of Ceres And Pluto By Paul Schenk
Tuesday, August 11
6:30 p.m.
2015 marks the first exploration ever of dwarf planets. The two unprecedented missions-Dawn and New Horizons-will be mapping the icy dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto. Dr. Paul M. Schenk of the Lunar and Planetary Institute will review the missions as they explore the inner and outer solar system, and will share the top questions scientists hope to answer with the data they gather. Dr. Schenk will show spectacular images taken just prior to the lecture as New Horizon reaches Pluto. Dr. Schenk is currently assisting the New Horizons team as plan Pluto encounter observations for July 2015 and was a participant in the Dawn mission to Vesta in 2011. He specializes in impact craters and other features on icy satellites from Jupiter to Neptune, and in 3-D imaging, which he uses to measure topography and create really amazing views.
This lecture is sponsored by the Lunar and Planetary Institute.

Perseid Meteor Shower
George Observatory
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
7:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Join us as we watch the dazzling Perseid Meteor Shower! Beautiful earth-grazing meteors with colorful tails will light up the skies for all to enjoy during this annual summer meteor shower. Visitors should plan to bring a lawn chair, mosquito repellant, snacks and a blanket. No telescope required to enjoy the meteor show!
Admission fee: $7 (please note this does not include park fees)

Take Two: The Princess Bride 
Friday, August 14
7:00 p.m.
While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.

Class – Creating Stone Age Tools
Saturday, August 15
9:00 a.m.
Discover how antler, stone and bone can be used to fashion a Paleolithic survival knife through proper percussion and pressure methods. Learn how to make an arrowhead by pressure alone and a simple stone knife using traditional hand tools. Your lithic art is yours to keep for your collection. Paleolithic archaeologist Gus Costa will teach the prehistoric skills needed to master the ancient art of stone tool making.

Mixers & Elixirs
Saturday, August 15
7:00 p.m.
The social set has never looked so smart! Mixers & Elixirs is back and it’s better than ever! We’re celebrating the year’s geekiest holidays with a cool twist, so pop on over to our place to mingle, clink your cocktail glass, and break out your best dance moves. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the live band, dancing, cash bars, and the city’s best food trucks. Hitting this scene is a sure sign of intelligence!
This event is for 21 and up only.

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 8/3-8/9

Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week!  

egypt lecture

Lecture – Hatshepsut: The Woman Who Would Be King By Kara Cooney
Tuesday, August 4
6:30 p.m.
Hatshepsut’s failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her improbable rule as a cross-dressing king. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays in the veil of piety and sexual reinvention. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut shrewdly operated the levers of power to emerge as Egypt’s second female pharaoh. Her reign saw one of ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods; her monuments, however, were destroyed soon after her death to erase evidence of her unprecedented rule. Dr. Kara Cooney will offer a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power-and why she fell from public favor just as quickly, as well as exploring complicated reactions to women in power. Book signing of The Woman Who Would Be King will follow the lecture.

World Trekkers – Italy 
Friday, August 7
6:30 p.m. 
You don’t need a plane ticket to trek the globe; just come to HMNS! Our World Trekkers is a series of cultural festivals for the whole family, featuring crafts, native cuisine and entertainment inspired by each featured country.

Female Leaders, Ancient and Modern: Kara Cooney on Hatshepsut, gender, and power

Throughout history, women in power have been the target of hostility, violence and mistrust. But why? What makes female leadership so objectionable?

Egyptologist Dr. Kara Cooney and Houston native searches for the answer in her new book, The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power. Cooney returns to the Houston Museum of Natural Science Tuesday, Aug. 4 to present a lecture that examines female power and politics throughout the ancient world.

The first great female ruler, the pharaoh Hatshepsut, rose to occupy the throne as a cross-dressing king. Her journey was fraught with political intrigue and maneuvering. It took a trauma or a crisis to spark her ascent, and during her rule, she was surrounded by male advisers. 

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Hatshepsut, the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, who came to the throne in 1478 BC. Flickr Creative Commons.

“Hatshepsut is a case study for me,” Cooney said. “She was one [incredibly powerful] woman whose circumstances put her into a tenuous and difficult position where it was demanded of her to take on more power. Maybe people pulled strings for her.”

Without men, Cooney said, Hatshepsut never would have been able to achieve her title. In that respect, her story symbolizes the central problem in male-dominated cultures — the suspicion of women’s motives.

“It creates a pattern, bringing up all the other women in power,” Cooney said. People know Cleopatra, whose names rolls off the tongue, but she was ultimately a self-interested and ineffective ruler. “No one knows Hatshepsut. She left her country at the end of her rule better than when she came. We have a hard time with successful females, but we love to talk about their failures.”

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Cooney examines Mayan hieroglyphs. Discovery Communications.

The Egyptians of her time attempted to redact Hatshepsut’s rule as pharaoh from their history. For reasons still under debate, her nephew and successor, sent men with chisels to carve out her images from monuments 20 years after her death.  Egyptologists are attempting to explain whether this act was also a political decision.

“He waited a good two decades before he started to destroy these statues and monuments, but when he did, he went after the statuary with ferocity,” Cooney said. “This doesn’t seem to be an act of hatred; it seemed like more of a calculated act. He doesn’t remove her images as queen. He removed them as king. When she takes the aberrant step forward as a kingly ruler, that didn’t bode well.”

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Cooney peers into the past through human remains. Discovery Communications.

In her book, Cooney attempts to fill in the gaps in Hatshepsut’s history with responsible conjecture. The story isn’t historical fiction, like that of Jean M. Auel, who wrote the Earth’s Children series. Cooney cites Auel’s work as formative to her approach to writing about the past, but The Woman Who Would Be King is more an effort of “archaeo-ontology,” taking educated leaps to theorize about a real person and her ancient society.

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“How would she approach the problems before her? How would she approach getting more power, keeping power, dealing with certain officials? There’s a tremendous amount we don’t know, but she was able to do it somehow,” Cooney said.

“Every human has emotions, desires, wants, dislikes. We’re more alike than dissimilar. Here was a high elite, an educated woman maneuvering within the halls of ancient Egyptian power. We can make reasonable guesses about what she may have done and how she engineered her future. The same way a paleontologist can look at Lucy’s fossils and think about the challenges she had, we can take what we know about our emotions today and come up with some sort of story.”

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Cooney on location in Egypt. Discovery Communications.

Cooney grew up in Houston, where she attended Memorial High School. She presents at HMNS often, preferring informative talks with the public to TV appearances. She produced the Discovery Channel series Out of Egypt, a comparative archaeology series which took her around the world to ask broad questions about society and its link to the distant past. The series is available on Netflix and Amazon. Now, as Associate Professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA, she teaches about feminism through the lens of women in power in the ancient world.

Kara Cooney-credit Mikel Healey

Dr. Kara Cooney, Egyptologist, Associate Professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA, and author of The Woman Who Would Be King. Photo by Mikel Healey.

“I tell them in the beginning, ‘Look, I’m not here to write a revisionist feminist history. I’m here to help you see how it’s unfair. I’m here to help you see how we can transcend this,’” Cooney said about her students.

Tickets for her lecture and book signing are available online. Tickets $18, Members $12.

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 7/20-7/26

Bust out your planners, calendars, and PDAs (if you are throwback like that), it’s time to mark your calendars for the HMNS events of this week! 

speaking in bones

Lecture – Speaking In Bones By Kathy Reichs
Tuesday, July 21
6:30 p.m.
As a practicing forensic anthropologist, Dr. Kathy Reichs brings her own work experience to her mesmerizing forensic thrillers. In addition to consulting for medical examiners, training FBI agents and teaching at universities, she aids in the identification of victims at mass graves. Reichs will discuss the highlights of her multiple career–as a forensic anthropologist, television producer, and author. Your ticket includes a hardback copy of Speaking in Bones, which will be released July 21. Book signing after the program.

Museum Store Trunk Show – Mariquita Masterson
July 24  
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Mariquita’s blown glass jewels have been a staple of fashionable Houstonians for 30 years. We are proud to be one of a very limited group of stores chosen to showcase her luminous designs. In-store collection coming soon.

Members’ Night at the George Observatory
Friday, July 24
8:00 p.m.
Enjoy an evening under the stars at the George Observatory inside Brazos Bend State Park. Expert astronomers are available to let Members look at a variety of celestial objects through the Observatory telescopes, as well as privately owned telescopes. Viewing is always weather dependent. State Park entrance fees apply.