Which natural disaster are YOU? Nature Unleashed brings the perfect storm to HMNS

Discover the most incredible, violent, stunning events of the natural world in Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters, opening at HMNS on Friday, May 23. From violent tremors to massive explosions, from the eye of the storm to funnel clouds, Nature Unleashed takes you inside natural disasters for a perspective like you’ve never had before.

tornadoAnd now (via a super-unscientific method), you can find out which natural disaster fits you best! Just pick your favorite title below:

What’s the title of your natural disaster autobiography?

  1. Shaken, Never Stirred: How I Moved the World
  2. My Awesomeness Grants More Awesomeness (M.A.G.M.A)
  3. Topical Depression: Spiraling Out of Control
  4. Sharknado Ain’t Got Nothin’ on Me

Scroll down to find out your natural disaster.

If you answered 1, then you’re an earthquake!
If you answered 2, then you’re a volcano!
If you answered 3, then you’re a hurricane!
If you answered 4, then you’re a tornado!

Here’s what your natural disaster says about you:

EARTHQUAKE
You are the constant rearranger. Never content to leave things be for too long, eventually you’ve just gotta shake it up! You carry the weight of the world on your shoulders but try to hide it most of the time: stealth is your middle name. People may not notice you until you reach your breaking point – but then no one can ignore you!

Must-see destination: Mariana Trench
Perfect career: Fracking
Best friends: Terra “The Tectonic Plate” Firma and Gio Thur-Mal

VOLCANO
You’re the rock of the group — until you’re not. Most of the time, you’re as stable as can be. Cool and collected, taking it all in. But every so often something sets you off and you EXPLODE. No one can hide from you when that fiery temper comes out. People worship and revile you all over the world for your destructive and rejuvenating capabilities.

Must-see destination:  Pompeii
Favorite movie: Joe vs. the Volcano
Favorite pastime: Making Hawaii

HURRICANE
You never stay in one place for too long, but you sure do make an impression — or, rather, depression (of the air) wherever you go. You are very strong, but don’t know the extent of your strength. You absolutely love media attention, but your 15 minutes are never really enough. So you make sure to come around at regular intervals so that no one can forget about you.

Must-see destination: Florida
Favorite drink: Cyclone
Favorite activity: Changing your name

TORNADO
You’re still mad Dorothy got the credit for dropping a house on the Wicked Witch of the West. You tend to have short bursts of activity, but that doesn’t mean you don’t put your all into it. You’re generally pretty clumsy, and tend to make a mess wherever you go.

Must-see destination: Oz
Favorite game: Twister
Favorite movie: Sharknado

Now that you’ve been unscientifically diagnosed as the force of nature you are, come learn about the real science behind all of these natural disasters at Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters.

Feel the ground shake during an earthquake, witness the fury of an erupting volcano, or get swept away by a hurricane or tornado. This exhibit is full of discoveries just waiting to happen!

Get your tickets today! Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters opens at HMNS May 23.  

Enchantment in the dark: An uncommon occurrence brings a common bond to Lascaux caves lecture

Editor’s note: This week’s guest post was written by Becky Lao of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) – Houston. On Tuesday, Nov. 12, Dr. Randall White, a prominent expert on paleolithic art, spoke at HMNS as part of the AIA series on the development of art as a great human innovation. The AIA lecture was presented in conjunction with HMNS and The Leakey Foundation.

Imagine this scene: introductions are almost complete. A FULL house is anticipating a talk about the first art made by humans 40,000 years ago in caves. A speaker introduces Dr. White, speaking on caves without light.

Suddenly, THE ENTIRE BUILDING IS PLUNGED INTO DARKNESS!

Four hundred people gasp — this outage was not a special effect! We rush out to find the surrounding area is completely dark. A major power outage is affecting the entire Museum District and Medical Center. Looking out the window, we see some lights slowly turn on in the Med Center as emergency generators kick in. HMNS staff works valiantly to find a battery-powered microphone as emergency lights switch on, dimly lighting the hall. We allow the audience to leave or stay to hear stories told in the dark — just as might have happened 40,000 years ago!

Half decide to stay.

Cave paintings from Lascaux on display now at HMNS

Our intrepid lecturer begins. He talks of gorgeous art produced in the deepest depths of caves, illuminated only by animal fat lamps or torches; thousands of stunningly tiny beads made from pearlized shell nacre and calcite, each of which took three hours to make (why devote that many hours to adornment production rather than food procurement?); multitudes of prints made from the hands of a wide range of individuals — two-year olds up to those with arthritis; an image of a bull constructed from densely overlapping handprints.

This is what it means to be human. We are all sitting in the dark, mesmerized by his tales, skin prickling as an amazing sense of wonder and community envelopes us. Some 40,000 years after this art was created, we are huddled around a storyteller in the dark. It’s enchanting.

Half an hour later, electricity surges. Dr. White zooms through his magnificent images of wondrous sites. The image of the bull made from human hand prints is breathtaking. The Chauvet depictions of lions and horses are … indescribable.

We depart into the cold night for well-deserved drinks around the fireplace at a pub, made better by an uncommon encounter with who we are and who we have been for thousands of years.

Sculpture of a stone age family in the Lascaux exhibit at HMNS.

Click here to go to The Leakey Foundation’s website to listen to the audio from the lecture. Make sure you turn off the lights so you get the full experience!

Randall White, Ph.D., New York University