Paper to Predator: Making your own shark with sandpaper!

Have you ever touched a living shark? Sounds like a scary proposition, but you can do so safely at Shark! The Touch Tank Experience. 

A view of a shark’s skin through a microscope.

Before you reach into that tank observe shark’s skin (above). How might it feel to the touch? A shark’s skin is actually very comparable to… sandpaper! That’s right folks, the tiny dermal denticles that cover a shark actually have a texture very similar to sandpaper.

Want to learn more about the texture of shark skin? Watch this video from Myth Busters:


Now here’s your chance to make your very own “shark skin” in the craft below! And don’t forget to come to Shark! The Touch Tank Experience so you can compare your shark to the real thing!

How To Make Your Own Sandpaper Shark!

Ed How To - Shark 1


Fine grain sandpaper
White paper

Draw a shark on the back of a piece of sandpaper and cut it out with scissors. Next, color the top portion of the shark grey and the bottom white using crayons. Use a black crayon to add gills, eyes, and other details. This kind of coloration, called countershading, is a form of camouflage that allows fish to blend with the environment; it is typically seen on fish living in the open ocean. The dark top blends well with the ocean depths when viewed from above, while the white belly blends with the sky when viewed from below. 

Now, use crayons to create an environment for the sandpaper shark. When finished, glue the shark onto the paper. When the glue has dried, run a finger over the shark.

Ed How To - Shark 2How does it feel? It feels rough, of course. If a shark is rubbed from tail to head, it would feel a lot like sandpaper due to special scales called dermal denticles. Derma means skin and denticles means teeth; skin teeth, yikes! Under a microscope each scale looks like a tiny tooth.



Einstein Scavenger Hunt: Guess That Hall!

Editor’s note: This post was created by HMNS Concierge and Discovery Guide Corey Green.

Einstein at HMNS


Our good friend Einstein came to visit the museum and went through many of our exhibit halls. Can you name the halls he’s pictured in? (Click the pictures for answers!)

Einstein at HMNS Einstein at HMNS Einstein at HMNS Einstein at HMNS Einstein at HMNS Einstein at HMNS Einstein at HMNS Einstein at HMNS

 Want to go on a scavenger hunt with your very own Einstein? Good news! You can get him at the Museum Store!



Mark Your Calendars for these events happening this week (12/15-12/21) at HMNS

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!


D-Day 3D: Normandy 1944 Screening ends December 18
Don’t miss your chance to see the award winning film D-Day 3D: Normandy 1944. Screening ends Thursday, December 18. Free ticket to Active Military/Veterans through December 18 courtesy of Gallery Furniture. Click here to purchase tickets. 

Holiday Trunk Show – Glam Rock
Saturday, December 20
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
We’re closing out the shopping season and getting ready for the New Year’s with all the glitz and glam! Whether it’s crystal encrusted or in-your-face gemstones, we’re featuring rock star worthy statement pieces from MAWI London, Assad Mounser, and more.

Home is Where The Science is: Become a museum member this Giving Tuesday!

They say home is where your heart is. That’s why HMNS is home to Lane the Triceratops, Ankh Hap the mummy, a few bamboo sharks and, most certainly, our amazingly devoted patrons. 

This Giving Tuesday, consider making our Museum your home. We would love to welcome you into our family, or even help you give the gift of membership to a loved one. 

With the help of a few donor groups, we do our best to foster the heart and passion of our visitors and give them a place to call home. With a wide range of programming — happy hours with an educational twist, first looks at exhibitions, luncheons honoring dedicated supporters, elegant cocktail parties — we’ve got something for everyone and every scene.

Development December 1

HMNS Catalysts:  Next Gen. Support
Launched in June, the HMNS Catalysts is a new membership group designed for the twenty and thirty-something crowd.  Catalysts events include weeknight happy hours located in Museum exhibitions, featuring curators and concierge team members who give an insider’s perspective to our world-class Museum. These like-minded learners have jumped right into the museum family and proven that the next generation of supporters is eager to make an impact on the future of our museum.

President’s Circle:  First Class First Looks
With over 350 members, the President’s Circle is a blossoming group full of museum aficionados. Eager for a first look at our exhibitions and equally as eager, if not more, to support the institution through a fund that augments our general operating budget, these donors provide a vital service to HMNS.  Gifts of $2,000 or more to the Annual Fund receive President’s Circle benefits, which include Museum membership and invitations to exclusive opening receptions for our temporary and permanent exhibitions. The group has extraordinary turnouts for Magna Carta, Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces, Farish Hall of Texas Wildlife, and Samurai: The Way of the Warrior exhibition openings this year. 

Curator’s Circle:  Exemplifying Passion and Generosity
Well into its third year, the Curator’s Circle has seen significant growth and raised over $1.4 million dollars for the Museum.  The group has covered a lot of territory in the past year – it’s seen the 1217 Magna Carta for its first and only time out of England, landed on the beaches of Normandy for 70th anniversary of D-Day, orbited the earth from the comfort of our portable planetarium, and peered into our own backyard for the new Farish Hall of Texas Wildlife.  Laurie Morian, founder of the Curator’s Circle, believes that “this special group exemplifies our passion for the Museum,” and hopes that these exclusive evenings spark the same passion in others. 

Legacy Society:  A Lasting Testament
A new small, yet growing, group of individuals has formed in recognition of those individuals who have made the thoughtful decision to include the Museum in their estate plans. These Legacy gifts include bequests, retirement plans, life insurance and other assets designated for the Museum after one’s death.  This foresight and commitment to the Museum, demonstrated in such a personal way, is truly gratifying and provides for the long-term sustenance of the institution.  We are so grateful for their generosity which will enrich the lives of future generations of museum patrons.

Development December 2

Whether you’re looking to join a new generation of museum enthusiasts, gain access to one-of-a-kind events and experiences, or create a lasting legacy through the excitement, wonder and discoveries that only science can bring, we want you to feel at home here.   

Are you interested in becoming a part of the HMNS family through one of our special donor groups?  Please contact us for more information.

HMNS Catalysts: Shannon Jeffcoat, Director of Membership, 713.639.4616,

Curator’s Circle and President’s Circle: Sveta Darnell, Director of Individual Giving, 713.639.4729,

Legacy Society: Barbara Hawthorn, VP Development and Membership, 713.639.4734,