Behind the plaque: Wiess Energy Hall Partners give education a spark

As you make your way through the halls of HMNS, you might notice that many of the walls are adorned with shiny plaques and engravings recognizing the generosity of our numerous supporters. These names include individuals, private foundations, corporations and others that provide significant financial support to the Museum.

Just outside the Wiess Energy Hall by the Foucault pendulum, you will find a plaque that lists an important group of annual donors: the Wiess Energy Hall Partners.

Wiess Energy Hall Partners make a yearly contribution to our Annual Fund, allowing the Museum to maximize its effectiveness as a vibrant center for natural science education.

Through their support we:

  1. Develop and maintain TEKS-based field trip curricula that meet the needs of elementary, middle and high schools
  2. Conduct energy workshops for teachers
  3. Create energy education materials
  4. Host energy-related events for students to increase their awareness of careers in the energy industry
  5. Build education-based partnerships with colleges and universities
  6. Develop stronger relationships with the corporate community, particularly those in the energy industry, by offering continuing education programs led by energy industry leaders.

CB&I, an energy infrastructure-focused company, has been a Wiess Energy Hall Partner since 2010. Enthusiastic about the HMNS mission of science education, CB&I supports the learning principles of the Wiess Energy Hall through the Wiess Energy Hall Online program. This online course provides educational modules about all facets of the energy industry while incorporating fun, interactive learning methods. Best of all, it can be used by anyone — from the novice trying to learn the basics to seasoned professionals who need to fulfill continuing education requirements.  

Maribeth Duggins, Director of Community Relations at CB&I states,”At CB&I, education is our top priority when it comes to community support. We are proud to support the Wiess Energy Hall as part of our commitment to science, particularly in the energy industry.”

We are grateful to CB&I and all the Wiess Energy Hall Partners for their commitment to science education and meeting society’s need for a well-educated, productive population. 

The next time you visit the Museum to view our extensive collection of dinosaur backbones, please give a nod to the other (albeit figurative, but just as vital) backbone of HMNS: our many dedicated supporters.

For more information on how to become a supporter of HMNS, visit our website or contact Amy Chaisson, Director of Corporate Giving, 713-639-4746 or achaissonAThmnsDOTorg

Seeing Stars with James Wooten: The Summer Triangle is high in the sky

This star map shows the Houston sky at 10 pm CDT on July 1, 9 pm CDT on July 15, and dusk on July 31.  To use the map, put the direction you are facing at the bottom. The Summer Triangle is high in the east.  This consists of the brightest stars in Cygnus, Lyra, and Aquila.  Scorpius, the Scorpion, is in the south, with the ‘teapot’ of Sagittarius to his left.  Leo, the Lion, sets in the west.  From the Big Dipper’s handle, ‘arc to Arcturus’ and ‘speed on to Spica’ in the southwest.  Watch Mars close in on Saturn this month.

This star map shows the Houston sky at 10 p.m. CDT on July 1, 9 p.m. CDT on July 15, and dusk on July 31. To use the map, put the direction you are facing at the bottom.
The Summer Triangle is high in the east. This consists of the brightest stars in Cygnus, Lyra, and Aquila. Scorpius, the Scorpion, is in the south, with the ‘teapot’ of Sagittarius to his left. Leo, the Lion, sets in the west. From the Big Dipper’s handle, ‘arc to Arcturus’ and ‘speed on to Spica’ in the southwest. Watch Mars close in on Saturn this month.

This month, Mars is in the southwest at dusk this month. Mars continues to fade a little each night as Earth continues to leave it farther behind. Still, Mars rivals the brightest stars we see at night.

Saturn is also in the southwest at dusk. This month and next, Mars approaches Saturn more and more. 

Venus remains in the morning sky. Look east at dawn for the brightest point of light there; only the Sun and Moon outshine Venus. Venus remains a morning star for almost all of 2014.

Jupiter is behind the Sun and out of sight this month. 

The Big Dipper is left of the North Star, with its handle pointing up. From that handle, you can ‘arc to Arcturus’ and then ‘speed on to Spica’; those stars are in the west at dusk. Leo, the Lion, is setting in the west at dusk.

Antares, the brightest star of Scorpius, the Scorpion, is in the southeast, with the ‘teapot’ of Sagittarius rising behind it. The Summer Triangle has fully risen in the northeast. The stars of summer are here.  

Moon Phases in July 2014:

1st Quarter: July 5, 7:00 a.m. 
Full: July 12, 6:26 a.m.
Last Quarter: July 18, 9:09 p.m.
New: July 26, 5:42 p.m.

At about 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 3, Earth is as far from the Sun as it will get this year. This is aphelion, when Earth is 94.56 million miles from the Sun, as opposed to the average distance of 93 million miles. On January 4, Earth was at 91.44 million miles from the Sun; that was perihelion (closest approach to the Sun). It turns out that this variation in the Earth-Sun distance is too small to cause much seasonal change. The tilt of Earth’s axis dominates as it orbits the Sun. That’s why we swelter when farther from the Sun and shiver when we’re closer. 

Click here to see what’s happening this month in the Burke Baker Planetarium

On most clear Saturday nights at the George Observatory, you can hear me do live star tours on the observation deck with a green laser pointer. If you’re there, listen for my announcement. 

Clear skies!

Be the Party Smarty: Birthdays are awesome, unique & educational at HMNS

Just like clockwork, another year has rolled around and you find yourself in that same old dilemma: what to do for your child’s birthday? What should be a joyous time for you and your family becomes stressful and agonizing: the decisions, the planning, the cleaning! 

So be a Party Smarty and let the Houston Museum of Natural Science host your child’s birthday party! Our one-of-a-kind parties provide a unique experience that your guests will continue to rave about for ages.

Here are the top ten reasons why you should have your next birthday party at HMNS:

NEAR, FAR, WHEREVER YOU ARE
We offer birthday parties at two great locations: HMNS and HMNS Sugar Land!

 

WHAT’S A WEEKEND?
We know you’re busy, and sometimes (especially during the summer) your “weekend” isn’t really a weekend. That’s why our parties can be held any day of the week!

TOO DARN HOT
We are an indoor venue … in Houston. Whether you want to beat the heat, get out of the rain, or stay warm, all of our party rooms are climate-controlled and even pre-decorated!

COMPLIMENTARY “RINGLEADERS”
Nervous about what to do with all those monkeys adorable children running about? Every party comes with a least one party coordinator to help run the show, making it easier for parents to be able to enjoy the party along with everyone else.

STAY AND PLAY ALL DAY
You party guests can make a whole day out of it! Book a party through us and you and your guests will receive access into our permanent exhibit halls following the party.  

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD!
We have very few restrictions dealing with food, meaning you are more than welcome to bring in anything — whether you make it yourself or have it catered. And you’re not limited to specific vendors either. In fact, we only have two restrictions when it comes to consumables: (1) no alcohol and (2) no heating devices or sparkler candles (for obvious safety reasons).

EASY, BREEZY? BEAUTIFUL!
Having a party at our Museum is just plain easy! From booking to the party itself, we are with you every step of the way. Your rooms will be set up and ready to go, and your party coordinator will even meet you at your car to help bring in any items you may have. The coordinator will also keep everything running smoothly and on schedule, so you do not have to worry about a thing. And best of all, we clean up everything!

SOMETHING FOR THE SCRAPBOOK
Our venue offers one of the most unique birthday experiences in town! From taking a walk through our tropical rainforest in the Cockrell Butterfly Center, greeting ancient Egyptian mummies, seeing out-of-this-world shows in the Burke Baker Planetarium, or roaring with our dinosaurs in the Morian Hall of Paleontology, our parties are one-of-a-kind, memorable experiences.

REALLY “WOW” THOSE SOCCER MOMS — AND THE KIDS TOO, OF COURSE
If you are looking for a way to personalize your party even more, we offer a range of add-ons and options (including our Deluxe parties for the super fans) to make your party the hit of the neighborhood. Whether you want to add party bags to go with your theme, a live animal presentation, face painter, balloon artist, or even our astonishing magician, we can help you get the party you really, really want.

EDUCATIONAL OR FUN? WHY NOT BOTH?
Our parties are both entertaining and educational! Instead of the same old party where the children spend the entire time running around, why not try us and see how we make learning fun?

For more information or to book your party today, send an email to birthdays at hmns dot org (replace “at” and “dot” with the appropriate symbols), or visit HMNS.org.

Happy partying, you party smarties!

The ABCs of the Fourth of July: America, Bulgari, Cher (and Houston)

What do America, Bulgari, Cher (and Houston) have in common?

Well, since you asked: BULGARI launched an AMERICA-inspired collection of jewelry in the 1970s called “Stars and Stripes” — which was modeled by CHER. And pieces from that line are in HOUSTON for Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces, now showing at HMNS!

VERSIONE AGGIORNATA 24 FEBBRAIO-emai)I’ve been geeking out about this since I first found out that: (1) this line of jewelry existed, (2) Cher wore it (flawlessly, I might add), (3) you can get within about six inches of it at the Museum (albeit through the case, but still, this is likely the closest I’ll get to seeing something she wore).

I was therefore inspired to write a song in honor of the collection (well, OK, I wrote new words to the tune of “The Star Spangled Banner)*

 

Oh, say can you see through display cases’ light
What so proudly we hail, Bulgari gems-a-gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars set in earrings of gold
Made for their New York store but something was missing.
And then came our Cher, with her flawless, big hair
Gave face in her pics. Red, white, blue everywhere.
Oh, say does that Star Spangled Collection yet exist?
You’ll find it in Houston,  it’s not to be missed!

 

*BONUS: Sing along with Cher as she sings “The Star Spangled Banner!”

Don’t miss Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces now at the Houston Museum of Natural Science!

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