Everything at HMNS is yours, Houston, so OWN IT!

Texans know big. We’ve got a big state where they say everything’s bigger. Of course, there are the stereotypes about big hair, big portions, big hearts (OK, these are rooted in some truth) — but there are also a lot of big families.

HMNS_Own_It_rexesThe HMNS family definitely fits into that category. Everyone who walks through our doors is a part of our family, so, in fact, we’re a very, very big family. We’re a family that grows every day!

While we’re at it, you should know that we love having y’all as our family. Houstonians are a great bunch, what with their drive, ingenuity and seemingly endless energy and perseverance. And no matter what you’re doing, you OWN IT. You take the resources around you and use them to further yourself, your family and community.

So why would anything be different when you come to HMNS? When you come here and wind your way through our Morian Hall of Paleontology, gazing up at terrifying pterodactyls and massive mammoths … you OWN IT. Really, they’re yours.

HMNS_Own_It_ribsHow about the mummies in the Hall of Ancient Egypt? Yup, they’re yours too. The sparkling stones you see in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, the mollusks in the Strake Hall of Malacology, the mesmerizing energy on display in the Wiess Hall of Energy – everything is here for you.

7065218553_45cd549263_bWhen you’re here, you’re home. We want you to be yourself, to let your guard down and have fun. To let awe and wonder wash over you. We want to teach children and drive them to achieve. We want to bring you incredible, invigorating, inspirational science — because we know what Houstonians can do when given the chance and the tools succeed.

They innovate. They build. They dream. They do everything!

HMNS_Own_It_visionarySo come to HMNS and OWN IT. Own it all. Everything within these four walls. We’ve got the resources, and you’ve got the imagination and drive. Together, we’re unstoppable.

6094403314_648e6790d4_bShell kids

A thousand words: Pixel Party photographers get snap happy in three HMNS exhibits after-hours

After-hours at the Museum on Feb. 23, we had one of our awesome Pixel Parties — where we open select exhibits exclusively to photographers (both amateur and professional). This time around, we opened the entire third floor, giving our photographers access to the Hall of The Americas, Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux, and the Hall of Ancient Egypt.

Here are some of our favorite shots from that evening:


Photo by Jerry Klumpp

Photo by Jerry Klumpp

Photo by Robin Merrit

Photo by Robin Merrit

Photo by Jonathan Parker


Photo by Gary Woodard

Photo by Jerry Klumpp

Photo by Jerry Klumpp

Photo by Alan Wilson

Photo by Alan Wilson

Photo by Jonathan Parker


Photo by Kinjo Yonemoto

Photo by Kinjo Yonemoto

Photo by Sergio Garcia Rill

Photo by Sergio Garcia Rill

Photo by Gary Woodard

Photo by Gary Woodard

Photo by Kinjo Yonemoto

Photo by Kinjo Yonemoto



C’mon, get snap happy! Grab your camera (any camera) and Pixel Party with us on Sunday

Oh yes, photographers, it’s that time once again. Time to dust off ye olde DSLR, point-and-shoot, or even that fingerprint-smudged smartphone — and pony up to a photo party at your favorite science museum after hours.

In case you haven’t heard by now, our Pixel Party is the next generation of photography soirees from HMNS, where photographers of all cameras can set up shop in our latest and greatest exhibits — and get a crowd-free glimpse of the goods.

This month, we’re lifting the veil off three (!!!) major titans for your photographic pursuits: the stunning new Hall of Ancient Egypt, the intriguing Scenes from the Stone Age: the Cave Paintings of Lascaux exhibition, and the timeless Hall of the Americas (where photography is traditionally prohibited — until now).


In order to get the opportunity to snap those masterful exhibits, we ask that you meet three simple requirements:

(1) Register for the Pixel Party

Yup, register. It’s totally free, but we’ve gotta know you’re coming. You can do that registration thing if you point your little mouse right here and click. After you register, you’ll receive an email confirmation that your registration is good to go.

Oh, and you might wanna take note of the deadline, because there is one. Registration must be received by 5 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 21. We won’t accept registrations after that, no matter how hard you beg or how many barrels of cupcakes you promise to bring. Sorry. Them’s the breaks.

(2) Bring a camera

Maybe that goes without saying, since this is a photography party and all, but hey, we’re saying it anyway. This means that everyone in attendance must have a camera in hand. We actually don’t care what kind of camera — smartphone, fancy camera, credit card-sized camera, and the like — but whatever you’ve got has to be capable of taking photos.

But this also means no +1. It means no family, no friends, and no one without a click-click-clicker in hand. Just photographers.

(Now if your loved ones take photos, too, that’s another story. So, um, psst. Make ‘em register.)


(3) Have an active photo sharing profile on the Interwebs

You know, we wanna check out the spectacular photos you take of our exhibits. Let’s face it: you make us look good. And maybe we’re a little vain, too. But we wanna see ourselves in the glow of your adoring gaze. So, indulge us.

To that end, you must have an active Flickr, Instagram, 500px, or other photo sharing account; a dedicated Facebook Fan Page for your photography; or an active photography portfolio online.

We have to make sure that you are who you say you are — a photographer. Because why show up to a picture party if you don’t really like to take them?

That’s it. Capisce?

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and you can chill in the Grand Hall until the event begins at 6 p.m. We’ll have kibbles for you on our front patio from The Hungry Lumberjack (so bring cash), and, of course, the chance of a lifetime to explore three fabulous exhibits after hours.

Think you can hang with some snap-happy folks at the Museum? Then register, why dontcha?

Because Instagram is everything: A self(ie) guided tour of HMNS

I’m sure you, like many people who visit HMNS, are a selfie connoisseur. But sometimes it can be difficult to come up with new concepts. I mean, your Instagram followers need variety. Who wants to see the same old pic over and over again on their feed? Sure, you take them in front of different backgrounds, change the filter, etc., but where’s the art in that? You’re a selfie artiste – you need drama. A motive. You want to tell a story!

Lucky for you, HMNS is one of the best places in Houston to explore the art of the selfie. Here are some good jumping off points:

#LionPhotoBomb #HMNSelfie
The Hall of African Wildlife is located on the second floor. If you squat or sit down in front of the lion case you can position yourself so that it looks as if a lion is photobombing you.

HMNSelfie 3

Pro tip: Why stop with the lion?! The animals in the exhibit have been positioned in such a way that they look as if they could run/pounce/gallop at any moment — almost as if they’re getting ready to jump into your picture…


#SwimmingWithTheFishes #HMNSelfie

Right as you enter the Museum, there’s a staircase to the left with a mural of a whale and a squid. If you go to the top of the stairs, to the mezzanine, you can position yourself perfectly to make it look as if you’re underwater.

HMNSelfie 1

Pro tip: There’s another staircase on the other side of Glassell Hall with an underwater mural as well (this one featuring marlins). And now, with a new installation of marlins, dolphins and schools of fish hanging in Glassell, you’ve got so many great ways to add variety to your selfie.


#WalkLikeAnEgyptian #HMNSelfie
Located on the third floor of the museum, the Hall of Ancient Egypt can be a tricky place to take pictures because of the dim lighting – but I’m sure that won’t deter you. Just find a spotlight, jump in, and “walk like an Egyptian.”

HMNSelfie 4

#Pro tip: If you’re posing in front of a light source, have a friend use their phone to light your face out of the frame as you take the pic. That way you won’t become just a silhouette.


#ButterflyKisses #HMNSelfie
The Cockrell Butterfly Center is one of the most popular parts of the Museum and we’re always releasing new butterflies into the happy habitat.

HMNSelfie 5

Pro tip: Be patient – butterflies can be flighty, but it’s worth it to get a shot with one of them. If you know you’re going to the Butterfly Center, wear bright colors to attract the butterflies to you.


#Petrified #HMNSelfie
The Morian Hall of Paleontology has some really exquisite petrified wood specimens. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed a good double entendre, so why not look PETRIFIED while in front of petrified wood?!

HMNSelfie 6

Pro tip: This hall is another great place to explore the “specimen as photobomber” concept discussed above.


#MagnaCarta800 #HMNSelfie
Our Magna Carta exhibit just opened, so you should really come see it — and be a selfie pioneer in this hall! The Magna Carta itself is about to turn 800 years old, and this is the only place in America where you can see it. So you might as well have something to remember it by.

HMNSelfie 2

Pro tip: The exhibit for Magna Carta also shows you the ins and outs of medieval life, so it’s rife with picture opportunities.

I hope you’ll try out some of these ideas and don’t forget to tag us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, and use the hashtag #HMNSelfie!