Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 2/29-3/6

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!

Last week’s featured #HMNSBlockParty creation is by Ada (age: 13):

block party 13

Want to get your engineering handwork featured? Drop by our Block Party interactive play area and try your own hand building a gravity-defying masterpiece. Tag your photos with #HMNSBlockParty.

Please note – Family Space Day on Saturday, Feb. 27 and the Amber Workshop on Tuesday, Mar. 1, are sold out. Additional dates for these events are available in April. 

Now Open! Amber Secrets: Feathers from the Age of Dinosaurs 
Amber Secrets, Feathers from the Age of Dinosaurs features over 100 of some of the most exquisite specimens dating as far back as 99 million years ago. Plants, fungus, vertebrates and invertebrates such as insects, spiders, scorpions, snails, millipedes and centipedes are represented.  Each polished translucent gem provides a window to the time of the dinosaurs.

Now Open! Amazing Butterflies
Amazing Butterflies invites you to shrink down into the undergrowth to become one of the most extraordinary creatures on earth.  Enter the interactive maze through the huge monarch caterpillar tunnel. Become a caterpillar and find your way through a secret, wild world as grass and leaves tower above your head. But beware, the maze includes dead ends, down which lurk poisonous plants and predators waiting to pounce.  Adventure through the leaves, learn how to move like a caterpillar, discover an ant that reaps the reward of an unusual friendship, then transform into a butterfly and take flight! Together, families will explore this interactive experience and learn the surprising challenges butterflies face every day.

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 2/15-2/21

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!

Last week’s featured #HMNSBlockParty creation:

block party 11

Want to get your engineering handwork featured? Drop by our Block Party interactive play area and try your own hand building a gravity-defying masterpiece. Tag your photos with #HMNSBlockParty.

Endless Love Campaign 
Ends Friday, Feb. 19
Want to show your Valentine that your love will last forever?
Say it with a cockroach.
Before you go all “Eeuuuwwww,”… think about it.
These tough little beasts have been living, loving and roaming the earth for 350 million years. It’s even been said they’d survive a nuclear blast. Who knows? They might even outlive Keith Richards!
Here’s the good news. You don’t have to capture and gift wrap a cockroach yourself. For just $5, you can actually name one at the Cockrell Butterfly Center. You’ll receive a digital commemorative certificate, like this one, for your Valentine. How’s that for a lasting declaration of love?
You have to admit, it’s the most unforgettable gift ever—and it’s a great way to support conservation and education at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour – La Virgen de Guadalupe: Empress of the Americas
Tuesday, Feb. 16
6:00 p.m.
Going back to the 8th century in a struggle between Muslim and Spanish naval forces and on to the appearance in the Aztec capital in the 15th century, Virgin of Guadalupe was adopted as a symbol in Europe and the New World during times of friction. Through the artwork and artifacts on display, your guide will trace the increasing role the Virgin of Guadalupe played in society.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour – Out of the Amazon
Tuesday, Feb. 16
6:00 p.m.
HMNS has an unparalleled Amazonia collection which is made up of rare artifacts from thirteen tribes. Priceless pieces of the collection-ceremonial objects, masks, body costumes, headdresses and more-are on display in the special exhibition Out of the Amazon. Tour this temporary exhibition with HMNS master docents who share stories of everyday life among rapidly disappearing indigenous groups.

Class – Basic Fruit Tree Care and Planting
Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 6:00 p.m. & Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 10:00 a.m. 
Attracting butterflies and fostering good bird habitat, fruit trees are evergreens with fragrant flowers. Instructor Angela Chandler will teach you the basics of fruit tree selection, planting, care and maintenance. Explore the types of citrus available, how to grow them, and where seeds and saplings can be obtained. If you don’t have enough space, fruit trees can also be grown in containers!

Lecture – Amber, Nature’s Time Capsule by David Grimaldi
Wednesday, Feb. 17
6:30 p.m.
Conserving details not preserved in fossils, ancient tree resin trapped and drowned fragments of ancient landscapes serving as a natural time capsule. World leading expert in amber research, Dr. David Grimaldi will present the latest revelations of paleoclimate and its role in evolution from cutting-edge research into the plants, fungus and animals preserved amber. Through his field work conducted on five continents in over 40 countries, Grimaldi’s research addresses 400 million years of evolutionary history. He will also show how amber, dating as far back as 99 million years ago, has helped unlock the origins and evolution of modern tropical forest ecosystems.

Amber Secrets, Feathers from the Age of Dinosaurs opens Friday, Feb. 19
Amber Secrets, Feathers from the Age of Dinosaurs features over 100 of some of the most exquisite specimens dating as far back as 99 million years ago. Plants, fungus, vertebrates and invertebrates such as insects, spiders, scorpions, snails, millipedes and centipedes are represented. Highlights include feathers and lizards encapsulated in amber. Each polished translucent gem provides a window to the time of the dinosaurs.

Amazing Butterflies opens at HMNS at Sugar Land on Saturday, Feb. 20
Amazing Butterflies invites you to shrink down into the undergrowth to become one of the most extraordinary creatures on earth. Enter the interactive maze through the huge monarch caterpillar tunnel. Become a caterpillar and find your way through a secret, wild world as grass and leaves tower above your head. But beware, the maze includes dead ends, down which lurk poisonous plants and predators waiting to pounce. Adventure through the leaves, learn how to move like a caterpillar, discover an ant that reaps the reward of an unusual friendship, then transform into a butterfly and take flight! Together, families will explore this interactive experience and learn the surprising challenges butterflies face every day.

Girls Exploring Math And Science
Saturday, Feb. 20
The Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council and the Houston Museum of Natural Science invite you to attend the Girls Exploring Math and Science (GEMS) event. The Museum will be filled with hands-on science and math for everyone to experience. Local professionals will be at the Museum to answer questions about their careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Mark Your Calendars for these events happening at HMNS 1/25-1/31

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!

Last week’s featured #HMNSBlockParty creation is by Juliauna (age 9).

block party 8

We also want to highlight another great #HMNSBlockParty creation by Jamie (age 2). 
block party 8 -2

Want to get your engineering handwork featured? Drop by our brand-new Block Party interactive play area and try your own hand building a gravity-defying masterpiece. Tag your photos with #HMNSBlockParty.

Film Screening – First Footprints with Peter Veth
Wednesday, Jan. 27
6:30 p.m.
Explore the story how people first arrived and thrived on the Australian continent. Startling new archaeological discoveries reveal how the first Australians adapted, migrated, fought and created in dramatically changing environments.
Join Dr. Peter Veth of University of Western Australia for the Texas premiere of the film First Footprints.
This is a one-night only event. This program is cosponsored by AIA, Houston Society with support from Schlumberger and the Houston Perth Sister City Association.

Lecture – Expression in Aboriginal Rock Art by Peter Veth
Thursday, Jan. 28
6:30 p.m.
One of the oldest living traditions on the planet, Australian Aboriginal rock art informs us about the very nature of cognitive origins. Dr. Peter Veth will explore why aboriginal tribes feel compelled to decorate their landscape and what meaning this art form holds for them. Perhaps creating art is essential to the human spirit.
Archaeologist Peter Veth is a professor at University of Western Australia who studies ethnohistoric and ethnographic artwork in an archaeological context. This lecture is cosponsored by AIA, Houston Society with support from Schlumberger and the Houston Perth Sister City Association.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year opens Friday, Jan. 29
Now in its fifty-first year, Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the international leader in innovative visual representation of the natural world. This prestigious competition and resulting exhibition stimulates engagement with the diversity and beauty of the natural world and thrills audiences around the globe.
This world-renowned exhibition, on loan from the Natural History Museum in London, features 100 awe-inspiring images, from fascinating animal behaviour to breath-taking wild landscapes.

 

 

Son of ‘Bridge of Spies’ pilot to deliver father’s story at HMNS Wednesday

When it comes to American espionage, few people are as close to the truth as Francis Gary Powers, Jr., and fewer have a story to tell as exciting as his father’s — one that inspired director Steven Spielberg to make a movie out of it. Bridge of Spies (2015) tells the declassified tale of New York lawyer James Donovan, who brokered the international prisoner exchange that brought home American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers, Sr. The narrative lives on through Powers’s son, who will tell his own story of historical preservation Wednesday night at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

bridge of spies

May 1, 1960, during the height of the Cold War, Powers, Sr. was shot down over Russia during a spy mission to take photos of the ground from an altitude of 70,000 feet. Using specialized camera equipment, Powers’s plane gathered information on ground movements from 13.25 miles above the Earth’s surface, more than twice the cruising altitude of a commercial airliner.

Powers’s U-2 was damaged by an SA-2 anti-aircraft missile, which exploded near the tail section, breaking off a portion of the tail. The plane disintegrated as it fell through the atmosphere, tearing off both wings. According to his son, Powers never ejected but still survived the crash, and the middle of the aircraft remained nearly intact, leaving advanced technology available for Russian engineers to investigate.

Francis Gary Powers, Sr.

Francis Gary Powers, Sr., in the specialized pressure suit that allows U-2 pilots to survive at 70,000 feet.

Powers pulled himself from the wreckage and was later captured by the Russian military and detained in a Soviet prison for two years. In the media and history books, his capture and brokerage back to the United States became known as the U-2 Incident of May 1960.

At this point, Powers’s story grows muddled in rumor and conspiracy theory, which his son has passionately and patiently resisted for decades through his work with the public. Many Americans considered Powers as a traitor, believing he should have taken his own life to preserve U.S. secrets and that perhaps his return home meant military secrets had been exchanged.

U2_Powers_Senate_model

Powers, Sr. used this model to explain in legal hearings how the aircraft broke up as it fell to the ground.

“It’s never too late to set the record straight,” Powers, Jr. told the Houston Rotary Club at a special luncheon Tuesday, where he delivered his story as a guest speaker. He explained that the U-2 Incident happened when he was a child living in California, but he was old enough to understand his father’s POW status.

Later in life, after his father published his 1970 memoir, Operation Overflight: A Memoir of the U-2 Incident, Powers, Jr. became instrumental to the preservation of the U-2 Incident and Cold War espionage. His father died in a tragic news helicopter accident in 1977, and after many years of mourning, Powers, Jr. picked up the torch.

overflight

With the help of John C. Welch, Powers, Jr. founded The Cold War Museum in 1996. Inspired by decades of research into declassified documents, his father’s memoir and personal experience, he first established the museum as a traveling collection with the preservation of truth in mind. Over the years, the museum traveled around the world to build interest in the creation of a permanent home, and in 2009, Powers, Jr. announced a physical address in Vint Hill, Va. He currently resides in Richmond.

For 15 years, Powers, Jr. pitched his father’s story to the film industry to further build interest in the museum, the memoir and the U-2 Incident. In July 2014, Steven Spielberg requested to option Powers’s book for Bridge of Spies, released last October. The movie stars Tom Hanks as Donovan.

Powers, Jr. will deliver a lecture Wednesday in the Wortham Giant Screen Theater at HMNS. He will discuss the U-2 Incident, the history of Cold War espionage and his experience establishing The Cold War Museum and serving as a technical consultant for Bridge of Spies. Tickets available online or at the box office.

Don’t miss our temporary espionage exhibit Spies, Traitors, Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America, open through next Monday, Jan. 18. Learn the secrets of spies before they disappear!

Still interested in espionage and counter-terrorism? Come back next week for a second spies lecture titled Terrorism, ISIS, and Emerging Threats — Evolution of Terrorism StrategyWednesday, Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wortham.