Oh, just another day in the life of exhibits: Installation in pictures (with inanimate commentary)

Done any home improvement projects lately? Us, too! This Monday we installed two new nautical creatures in the new Hall of Paleontology, and we documented one of the installs for you fine people.

THIS GUY:

DSC_0002Know what he is? He’s a ginormous Eurypterid, otherwise known as a sea scorpion. We don’t know about y’all, but we’re pretty glad these thingers are extinct. I mean, he’s a whopper (and he looks angry):

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Associate Curator of Paleontology David Temple was on-hand for the install. Here he is giving Eury a pep-talk. We imagine he’s saying something like “No, your chelicerae don’t look big in this sling.”

DSC_0017You’ve got to have velvet hands to be a handy-man at HMNS. Eury, meanwhile, is #overit.

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Up, up and away!

DSC_0029Buckle up, Eury. You’re about to go for a ride.

DSC_0041“Do you even know what you’re doing?”

DSC_0071And finally, we’re finished!

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Come meet Eury for yourself at the new Hall of Paleontology. We’re open late today (Tuesday) — ’til 8 p.m.!

HMNS at Sugar Land: Transforming a prison into a museum

Picture 47
The building HMNS at Sugar Land
will occupy was built in 1939.

After the past six months, I’ve gained even more respect for our exhibits team at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I’ve been fortunate enough to see first-hand exactly what it takes to develop a museum, formerly an old prison building built in 1939.

Like you, I usually see the exhibit when it is finished. And I have to admit, I never realized what challenging tasks the design and construction are. I thought it was like decorating your home or office. Okay, maybe not that simple, but a matter of knowing where you’re going to put things, and maybe knock out a wall or two—pa rum pum pum pum—you’re done.

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This photo was taken just a few months
before exhibit construction started

After going back and forth for a while now to visit the new museum in Sugar Land and seeing it in various stages of development, I’ve learned that designing a museum is more than dotting I’s and crossing T’s. Because of the lengthy process, my colleague Erin and I thought we could show you better than we could tell you, which is why we have been recording the entire process.

As a precursor to the opening, we thought we would show you an excerpt from the special video we are still currently producing. In this segment, you’ll meet Rodney Gentry, a senior designer for the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Gentry tells us what he thought about the historical building when he first laid eyes on it, as well as some of the obstacles the team faced when the museum was in its initial planning phase of development. Plus, you’ll see some past photographs of the prison back in its heyday and some photos of what it looked like when we first took a look at the space. Keep in mind, it was filmed at the beginning of this week, so the space is still transforming every day in preparation for the opening next Saturday.

It’s an experience I’ll never forget and one I hope you’ll always remember after you view the complete documentary. Stay tuned for our release date.

Until then, click here to watch a part of the video. Also, here is the history of the Central State Prison Farm, now the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land.

Happy Birthday, HMNS!

Birthday Cake
So, imagine this –
but times 100.
Creative Commons License photo credit:
Theresa Thompson


HMNS has been around for 100 years! It’s hard to believe, but in 2009 HMNS will be celebrating a BIG birthday. Since we are hoping to have as many people as possible participate – we are going to hold the party ALL YEAR LONG. Exhibits, classes, special events, and behind the scenes action are going to allow all HMNS patrons the opportunity to experience their favorite part of the Museum in a way they’ve never been able to before.

Seriously, though, we have to have cake. I LOVE cake.

If you like cake, face painting, bug chef concoctions, watching different chemicals get mixed and go ‘BANG!,’ taking docent led tours through every hall, learning how to preserve sentimental items, molding & casting dinosaur bones, learning about how exhibits are built, petting tarantulas, and making cool crafts – then you’re going to want to be at HMNS on January 3rd from 10am – 2pm when we have the best party of all: OUR BIRTHDAY PARTY! Don’t miss this special day as we kick off a year that’s going to be filled with surprises that will excite, tantalize, and leave you wanting more!