Explore Movie Monsters this Summer with All-New Special FX Camp

When I was a kid, I lived a couple of years in Singapore. There, at the time, the media was somewhat censored, so your TV viewing options on a Saturday afternoon were limited. Consequently, I have seen the 1981 film Clash of the Titans approximately 60 times. It was on the approved media list, apparently.

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This cinematic masterpiece was produced by Ray Harryhausen, who was known for his special effects techniques well before CGI. What made his techniques fun was the use of stop-motion animation. This made things that would not have otherwise been possible suddenly within the realm of possibility and gave inspiration to some of today’s most famous directors such as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Tim Burton.

 

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For those of you born more recently, Monsters, Inc. threw back to the original Harryhausen. Think you can remember the reference? Here’s a photo of Harryhausen while you think about it…

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Time’s up! “Harryhausen’s” was the name of the restaurant that Mike and Cecelia were canoodling in before Scully and an uninvited Boo interrupted their dinner. Did you get it right?

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This summer, we will be introducing a new generation to the wonders of monster movie magic with a new camp called Monster Movie Maker. Campers will spend part of the day discovering the myths surrounding some of our favorite monsters and doing a little myth-busting with some science experiments; they will also learn the art of stop-motion animation as they create some monster movies of their own. Here are two non-monster related stop motion videos I made for practice.

Finally, they will spend the last part of the day learning some tips and techniques for monster transformation. Check out HMNS’s very own Kelsey, who was transformed from a regular gal to a sassy vampire. As the week progresses, so will the transformations. By the end of the week, campers will be working on applying prosthetics as part of their makeup magic.

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Got a camper between ages 10 and 12, doesn’t have a latex allergy, and wants to come create with us? Click here and sign up for camp! There are only a handful of spots left!

Are you a grown-up who is too old for camp, but still wants to come play monster? Check back here in October. We will be posting some tutorials for some of the simpler monsters make-overs.

Already a monster but want to up your game? We will be offering some Monster Make-Over Classes for some of the more complex monsters this fall. Look for the September-October Museum News, the blog in September or the e-blasts in October for more information.

On the Fifth Day of HMNS…We Like to Move It, Move It

I don’t know what it is about a sea of dancing lemurs – but it just makes me smile. A sea of dancing lemurs on a giant screen – well, that just can’t be beat.

On the Fifth Day of HMNS, move it, move it with the whole zany group in Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa in the Wortham IMAX Theatre at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Check out a preview in the video below.


There’s always a lot happening at the Houston Museum of Natural Science – especially during the holiday season. Today’s post is just one of the 12 ideas for fabulous family fun we’ve put together for you (it’s a take-off of everyone’s favorite holiday classic, The 12 Days of Christmas  – you know, ”fiiiiiiiiiive gol-den riiiiiiiings!”) We’ll be sharing the possibilities here every day until Christmas Eve. Best of all, most are activities that last past the holiday season – some, year round. You can also check them all out now at the spiffy new 12 Days of HMNS web site.

Check out the first four days of HMNS:
On the first day of HMNS, explore The Birth of Christianity.
On the second day of HMNS, shop for Sci-tastic gifts.
On the third day of HMNS, meet Prancer the reindeer.
On the fourth day of HMNS, discover the making of The Star of Bethlehem.

On the Fourth Day of HMNS…Discover The Star of Bethlehem

Discover The Star of Bethlehem this holiday.

There’s always a lot happening at the Houston Museum of Natural Science – especially during the holiday season. We’ve put together 12 ideas for fabulous family fun for you, which we’re sharing here every day until Christmas Eve. You can also check them all out now at the spiffy new 12 Days of HMNS web site. For the fourth day of HMNS, go behind-the-scenes of the film The Star of Bethlehem, a holiday tradition in the Burke Baker Planetarium. (Of course, each day’s idea can be done on any day this holiday – and in some cases, all year.)

Many are familiar with the Biblical Star of Bethlehem – the bright star that the wise men followed to reach the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. But – what was the historical, astronomical event that initiated this story? What was the Star of Bethlehem? What did the wise men see?

These are questions that have puzzled biblical scholars and scientists alike. And every year, audiences can explore the latest archaeo-astronomy research into this fascinating topic. In the video below, go behind-the-scenes with Adam, one of our Planetarium astronomers, as he updates the film for this year.

Check out the first three days of HMNS:
On the first day of HMNS, discover The Birth of Christianity.
On the second day of HMNS, shop for Sci-tastic gifts.
On the third day of HMNS, meet Prancer the reindeer.