Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 7/13-7/19

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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Lecture – Sustainable Seas: The Vision, The Reality By Sylvia Earle
Tuesday, July 14
7:00 p.m.
Dr. Sylvia Earle, revered marine biologist and conservationist, will give a state of the seas address. The event will include a viewing of the new giant-screen film Secret Ocean 3D that features a narration by Dr. Earle and amazing imagery captured by director Jean-Michel Cousteau and his team.

Behind-the-Scenes – Jedi – Samurai Tour
Thursday, July 16
6:00 p.m.
Armored warriors of the past inspired the creative genius of a filmmaker-in a galaxy not so far away. In this multimedia tour of the Samurai: The Way of the Warrior exhibit–led by HMNS staff and a few guest Jedi, Sith and samurai guides–the origins of many of George Lucas’ Star Wars heroes and villains will be unveiled. You will also enjoy demonstrations of light saber and kendo katana. The compelling links between Samurai and Jedi will build your appreciation for both.

Weird Science Event! A Summer Science Experience
HMNS at Sugar Land
Friday, July 17
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Challenge your brain and develop your S-IQ (Science IQ) with hands-on experiments, demonstrations and observation. It’s the all-new Weird Science Event! Peek behind the curtain for an exclusive look at how “cool” science works in a museum. Mix, stir and mash compounds around the T-rex pit and make all kinds of goopy fun. Help feed the fish and other critters, plus learn how to care for them. Or you can try going arboreal and hang out in a tree in the TreeHouses exhibit. It’s our biggest science night of the year with something for everyone!

Mixers & Elixirs
Saturday, July 18
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. The perfect party, where the science club meets the social set, happens each month from June through August. Hitting this scene is a sure sign of intelligence!
This event is for 21 and up only.

The Things I Made at Summer Camp

Xplorations Summer Camp has been an integral part of summer at the Houston Museum of Natural Science for decades, and it was a large part of my childhood too. Over the years, I took all sorts of camps covering subjects like butterflies, cultures in the Americas and roller coasters. I made so many things at camp that I could probably have an entire exhibit called “Things I Made at Camp!” However, like fossils and artifacts, not all of my camp collection has survived to the present day. I wanted to see which items survived the decade since their creation, so I went on an excavation in my childhood home to uncover some of the lost artifacts.

First stop, my childhood bedroom. Among the stuffed animals and children’s books, I find many remnants of my childhood. Papers from school, photos from birthday parties, but no sign of Xplorations Summer Camp. Then, in the distance, I spot a woven basket. The woven basket (ca. June 1997) was made in a camp covering the cultures in the Americas. While I toiled weaving the reeds in and out, we talked about how many cultures wove baskets to hold food and water. To be honest, this woven basket is not my best work. It could certainly not hold water, and there aren’t many foods that can fit inside. In fact, it has a very distinct lean. It looks like it shares some characteristics with a cornucopia.

20150530_162901Onwards! As I search through my desk, I find the remnants of my emergency kit (ca. 2001) made in Survivor Camp. The original kit was encased in a convenient fanny pack, but the fanny pack has since vanished. All that remains is an emergency blanket, glow stick, and some matches in a waterproof container. If need be, I can survive a cold, dark evening with only these three supplies and the skills I remember from camp. I do miss the fanny pack though. Now that was survival and convenience all in one.

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My search continues. I have combed through all of the things in my room, and in a last-ditch effort I turn my search to the closet. Attached to my navy JanSport backpack, I find a handmade bead animal (ca. 1999). I was an after-camp kid, so I got the chance to make some fun crafts like bead animals after we finished the normal camp day. This particular bead animal was very special because of the rare sparkle blue pony beads that were used for the eyes. In the after camp world, those beads were a prized commodity.

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Eventually, I realize that my search has run cold. There are no more camp crafts to be found. I remember how some of them have been lost. In a medieval camp, I made potpourri and planned to give it to my dad for Father’s Day. Unfortunately, I was a clumsy kid and dropped the glass jar of potpourri on the floor. It did not make it home from camp. I’m sure a number of other camp crafts were dropped in puddles, broken in backpacks, or simply left behind. For all of those lost camp crafts, there are a number of memories that stay with me. As summer camp 2015 commences, I like to think that new campers will make some memorable camp crafts too! Let’s hope that they all make it home!

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Editor’s note: HMNS is in its first week of Xplorations Summer Camp right now! Registration is open to children ages 6 to 12. Camp runs Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and care is available before camp from 8 to 10 a.m. and after camp from 3 to 5:30 p.m. for an additional fee. Live near Sugar Land? Register for camp at our sister location, HMNS Sugar Land. Be a part of the tradition at HMNS Xplorations Summer Camp, and like Kelsey, let your child learn and build lasting memories at the museum.

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 6/1-6/7

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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Xplorations Summer Science Adventures Begin Monday, June 1st 
Xplorations Summer Science Adventures are week-long, hands-on science summer camps featuring science activities for children ages 6 – 12. Camps are held Monday – Friday from 10 am – 3 pm. For an additional weekly fee, care is available before camp begins each day, from 8 – 10 am, and after camp ends, from 3 – 5:30 pm.

Lecture – Unmasked: Mysteries Of Ancient Shu Kingdom And Its Bronze Art By Liu Yang
Tuesday, June 2
6:30 p.m.
Human and semi-human bronze masks showing fantastic features with large eyes with projecting pupils, strongly curled nostrils and tight-lipped mouths are the most astonishing of the finds of a cache of ancient artifacts in Sanxingdui, China. Several are covered in gold. Did these bronze masked figures represent deities, ancestors, priests or shamans? What are the ritual practice and symbolism hidden behind the false faces? The little that is known about the people who resided in the ancient Shu kingdom is gleaned from the archaeological pits in Sanxingdui, only excavated in 1986. Leading authority on Sanxingdui culture, Dr. Liu Yang of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts will provide a fascinating look into the mysterious Sanxingdui culture and the masks of mystery

End Of School Year Celebration And Carnival!
HMNS at Sugar Land 
Thursday, June 4
12:00 p.m.
Looking for a fun way to celebrate the last day of school? We have the solution! Gather all your friends and join us for an exclusive special event featuring activities, crafts, bounce games, pizza and more. Come celebrate the end of school and the opening of our summer exhibit, Body Carnival, with an afternoon of fun. It’s sure to be a unique way to end the school year and kick off the summer break! Tickets are $5 each.

Rocket Day At The George Expedition Center!
George Observatory
Saturday, June 6
10:00 a.m.
Bring your junior Rocket enthusiasts out for a day of rocket launches and a Expedition to the Moon! Boys and girls learn about rockets and how they work, build a water rocket and then launch it. After the launches, we blast into space aboard the S.S. Observer for a simulated spaceflight. Kids become astronauts and use teamwork and problem-solving to accomplish their Expedition. Fun for all! The Expedition Center will be open for children and adults to sign up to fly on a simulated space flight to the Moon. Usually only open to groups with reservations, for this special event, individuals can sign up to participate. The Expedition is most appropriate for ages 7 and up. Children ages 7-9 need an adult present. George Observatory telescope tickets will go on sale at 5 pm for $5 for regular public viewing after the Expeditions. Don’t miss this special opportunity to participate in real astronaut training!

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 4/13-4/19

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!butterfly 3

NOW OPEN! Special Exhibition – China’s Lost Civilization: The Mystery Of Sanxingdui 
The Sanxingdui culture left no written record or human remains and appears to have existed for only about 500 years before it vanished. In 2001, another archaeological discovery, this time in the city of Chengdu at Jinsha, revealed possible clues to the mystery of where they might have gone. This exhibition will present many of the most important discoveries from both Sanxingdui and Jinsha and examine the great mystery of where this 3500 year old culture could have come from and where and why they abruptly vanished.

Organized by the Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Cultural Relics Bureau of Sichuan Province, Peoples Republic of China.

Major funding provided China Southern Airlines. Local support provided by Kathrine G. McGovern/McGovern Foundation.

Film Screening – The Hadza: Last Of The First With David Banks
Monday, April 13
6:30 p.m.
Look into the origins of human civilization–Africa’s Rift Valley, home of the unique but imperiled Hadza people. As east Africa’s last remaining community of hunter-gatherers, the Hadza have lived sustainably off the Tanzanian land for more than 50,000 years. But their way of life, which harkens back to that of our earliest ancestors, is now under attack. The film will be introduced by David Banks, director of the Nature Conservancy’s Africa program and the film’s producers. This exclusive one-night-only screening of The Hadza: Last of The First is the Texas film premiere. This event is co-sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, which is committed to helping protect the land that is so critical to the Hadza’s survival. Banks will share his experiences working alongside the Hadza people to conserve their homeland and way of life. You will also have the opportunity to chat with Laura Huffman, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Texas, who will discuss how conservation projects in Texas inform the Conservancy’s work in Africa and elsewhere

Film Screening – Seven Sumurai with Mark Kerstein
Tuesday, April 14
6:30 p.m.
One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, Seven Samurai tells the story of a 16th century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. Filmmaker Akira Kurosawa weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into this tale of courage and hope. The film will be introduced by Mark Kerstein, J.D. of Hokushikan Chiba Dojo. (This film is 3 hours.)

This event is cosponsored by Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

Class – Planting a Butterfly Garden
Saturday, April 18
09:00 a.m.
Natural butterfly habitats are shrinking every day. You can help our native butterflies by creating new habitat right in your own yard or patio. Learn which butterflies occur in our area, which plants the adults and baby butterflies (caterpillars) need to survive, and where to get plants that lure them in. Take home a plant and seeds to get you started. This class is followed by a tour of our greenhouses and butterfly-rearing operation. Soni Holladay, HMNS horticulturist and greenhouse manager, leads this class.