100 Years – 100 Objects: Black Diamond

The Houston Museum of Natural Science was founded in 1909 – meaning that the curators of the Houston Museum of Natural Science have been collecting and preserving natural and cultural treasures for a hundred years now. For this yearlong series, our current curators have chosen one hundred exceptional objects from the Museum’s immense storehouse of specimens and artifacts—one for each year of our history. Check back here frequently to learn more about this diverse selection of behind-the-scenes curiosities—we will post the image and description of a new object every few days.

black-diamond-historical-photo

This description is from Dan, the museum’s curator of vertebrate zoology. He’s chosen a selection of objects that represent the most fascinating animals in the Museum’s collections, that we’ll be sharing here – and at 100.hmns.org- throughout the year.

During a circus parade in Corsicana, TX during the 1920′s, this famous elephant attacked members of the public audience while his handler wasn’t paying attention. 

What ensued after the attack would surely have been one of the strongest publicized cases regarding humane treatment of captive elephants.

You can see more images of this fascinating artifact – as well as the others we’ve posted so far this year – in the 100 Objects section at 100.hmns.org

I Search, You Search, Erin and I Researched.

Black Diamond, part of HMNS rich
history – check back here and on
hmns.org for features and events
celebrating our centennial
throughout 2009.

Last Friday, Erin and I went to the Texas Room in the Julia Idasen building at the downtown Houston Public Library to research the history of our beloved HMNS.  We had so much fun, I thought we were going to get kicked out.  Besides the building being an amazing treasure itself, the articles we found about the Museum were awesome. 

Many of them were inspiring, some of them were serious, but a good handful were just plain fun. Did you know for example that the original title of the Challenger Center was something to the effect of “Space Lab – 2061” ? There were also several articles on objects that we remembered as kids, but that haven’t been on display in a while – like Black Diamond and the shrunken heads.

So, why am I telling you this?  2009 marks our 100th anniversary as a museum and because of that we will be having a number of special events – 100 in fact. We will also have a special section on our website devoted to our 100 years of history.  Watch for what made us giggle in the weeks to come.