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

Free Open House! at the Woodlands Xploration Station

Ever wondered what it would be like to visit an amazing natural science museum in the Woodlands Mall?  Well here’s your chance! On Tuesday, March 31, from 4 to 7 p.m., we are holding a FREE Educators’ Open House at The Woodlands Xploration Station!!!

pachycephalosaurus2During the Open House, which – did I mention this? – is FREE to all educators, visitors will have the opportunity to view demonstrations of the Outreach Programswith Melissa Hudnall. There will be plenty of Museum Staff present to answer any questions you may have.  Chris Flis, one of our very own Paleontologists, will be on hand to discuss our newest Outreach Program, Earth Science on Wheels. Chris will also answer questions about our Whiskey Bridge Paleontology trips.  Educators will be given Information about field trips, staff development opportunities, and upcoming exhibitions at the Museum.

xpl-milk-frogAt the Houston Museum of Natural Scienceit is our goal to accommodate educators in any way possible.  With this in mind, we welcome educators’ families at this particular event; we know that childcare can be difficult to find! As a further enticement, Chick-fil-A refreshments will be provided, so come hungry! 

If you are interested in coming, please let me know by sending RSVP’s to ecrouch@hmns.org or (713) 639-4754.

Frogs, dinosaurs, insects, luminous minerals, and MORE await you at the Xploration Station!

Mock Mummification

* Walk Like An Egyptian *
Creative Commons License photo credit: pareeerica

We will be having an educator overnight soon at the HMNS – these events allow teachers to come in after hours and learn new activities to do in their classrooms with students. Teachers are also able to wander around our exhibit halls, have a catered dinner, and watch a planetarium show. Today I thought I would share with you one of the classroom projects for our Mummies, Tombs and Catacombs Educator overnight happening in April. (Teachers – you can sign up now at www.hmns.org

Materials:
Bendable action figure
Paper clips
Small heart sticker
Salt
Red food coloring
Scented oil
Glue
Udjat eye stickers – find an Udjat Eye design and print it on label paper
Sequins
Labels
Paper plates
Black Sharpies
Paper towels

Procedure:
1. Get a parent to help you (this only applies for kids.)

2. Talk about the different steps that took place during mummification. You may want to check out the book Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki. You can find it at your local library.

3. Now it’s your turn to make a mummy! Grab an action figure and place it on a paper plate.

4. Get a small amount of water and a Q-tip. This represents water from the Nile River. The dead were first washed with water from the Nile. Dip a Q-tip in the water and use it to “wash” your mummy. Then, dry it with a paper towel. Save the towel. You will need it later.

5. Now it’s time to remove the organs from the body. Organs contain a lot of water, so they must be removed in order to preserve the body. Take your paper clip and bend it into a hook shape. This is the shape of the instrument used to remove the brain from the head. The embalmers inserted it through the nose. The brain was considered a filler for the head (kind of like stuffing) and not important, so it was discarded. Pretend to remove the brain using the hook you made.

Egyptian Embalming Urns
Creative Commons License photo credit: mamamusings

6. Next you need to remove the viscera from the body. A cut was made into the left side of the mummy using an obsidian blade (Use a black Sharpie marker to draw a line on the left-hand side of the abdomen); it was from here that the internal organs were removed. Four of the organs were taken out and embalmed separately. The liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines were embalmed and placed in separate jars called canopic jars to be entombed with the mummy. The heart was left in place inside the body. They believed the heart controlled thoughts and emotions and served as the place where memories were stored. The mummy would need to keep its heart. Place your heart sticker on the mummy’s chest.

7. The body was then covered in something like salt called natron. It took 40 days for the body to dry out. The natron was changed often. Sprinkle your mummy with salt to simulate the natron.

8. When the body was dried out it was washed again using palm wine. Wash off the figure using water dyed red (palm wine). Pat you’re the body dry with a paper towel.

9. The body was then stuffed with aromatic spices and resins. This made the body smell at least a little more pleasant. Use a drop of scented oil on your body to make it smell nice.

10. The incision in the side will need to be protected. Place your Udjat Eye sticker over the incision on the left hand side of the abdomen.

11. Next comes the resin. Resin was made from tree sap and was painted on the body to make it waterproof. Paint the body from head to toe with a light coat of Elmer’s glue. You may use your finger to do this.

12. Next are the amulets. Amulets are carved figures that are thought to have magical powers. The most important amulet for the mummy was a large scarab that was placed over the heart to provide protection. Place a sequin over your mummy’s heart to act as the heart scarab.

13. Next, the bandages. Mummies were wrapped with linen bandages. Linen is made from flax, which is similar to cotton. Take a length of cotton gauze and wrap your mummy from head to toe.

14. Now you have your own mummy! Maybe you can make a sarcophagus to hold your mummy!

Museum Educators Open House — January 24th is just around the corner!

Well, it’s 2009 and it’s almost time for the Museum District’s Museum Educators Open House on Saturday, January 24th! MEOH is always a fun day for us at the Houston Museum of Natural Science where we get to collaborate with other Houston Museums to put on a big event for area Educators!

The HMNS will be hosting the following amazing Houston organizations; Battleship Texas/San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, Bayou Preservation Association, Downtown Aquarium, FotoFest, Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, Houston Computer Museum, Houston Gem and Mineral Society, Houston Zoo, The John C. Freeman Weather Museum, Moody Gardens,  and the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art! The Children’s Museum of Houston, The Health Museum, Holocaust Museum Houston, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston will also be participating as MEOH hosts for the other 16 participating organizations!!


Houston area educators, school administrators, home school educators and student teachers are invited to discover the fascinating exhibitions, programs and educational resources available for their students. This event is completely FREE for all educators and for educators who attend at least 3 or more presentations are eligible for 3 hours of Continuing Education Credit; all you have to do is register online.

Go to the Museum District homepage to register for MEOH 2009 today!