Our New Holiday Shopping Guide is Here!

On the hunt for that perfect gift for the science lovers on your list? Let HMNS’s Museum Store help you out. View our Holiday Gift Guide for inspiration or browse our store. From a dino plush for your little scientist to pi plates for the chef or a periodic collar for the canine in your life, there’s something for everyone!

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Make the Holidays Merry and Bright With Your Very Own Jingle Tree!

_kjr3238The holiday season is a magical time – make it even more so at HMNS at Sugar Land with one of Fort Bend’s most anticipated holiday traditions! Jingle Tree features a showcase of beautifully decorated trees that are up for bid in a six-day long, online silent auction. Our special touch? The trees are sponsored and decorated by Fort Bend designers, museum supporters, local celebrities and artistic visionaries! 

Jingle Tree is a festive way to support HMNS at Sugar Land’s mission of science education while helping provide science enrichment to local underserved populations. We hope this annual event will continue to be an integral part of your holiday season! 

jt16_851x315Presented by Sterling McCall Acura.

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Bubbles, Bites and Belles – Holiday Coffee
Tuesday November 15 | 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Tickets $35

This fabulous private event will allow you to see the trees up close and perhaps even “pre-buy” the one you fall in love with! Indulge in bubbly mimosas and delicious bites, or add to the fun at Santa’s Little Helpers coffee bar, where you can purchase festive holiday drinks. Enjoy the museum and socialize with old friends or make new ones at our holiday coffee!

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Jingle, Jingle, Mix ‘n Mingle – Happy Hour & Auction Close
Thursday November 17 | 5:30–8:30 p.m.
Tickets $50

Bring your friends for an evening of tree viewing, on-line bidding, a fabulous live auction, unique raffle items and delectable food. Enjoy our complimentary signature cocktail, the Jingle Jangle, or visit the cash bar for your drink of choice. It’s your final chance to bring home your favorite tree! All bids close that evening at 8:15 pm, you won’t want to miss it!

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Jingle Tree is a festive way to support HMNS at Sugar Land’s mission of science education, while helping provide science enrichment to local underserved populations. Our local museum lets visitors see how intriguing and FUN science can be! We hope you’ll join our list of science education champions!

We are very grateful for our generous sponsors who made the Jingle Tree events possible. 

So many people have dedicated their time and effort to make Jingle Tree possible. We wholeheartedly thank these leaders.

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Please, Be Irrational! Pi Day is Tomorrow!

pi-dayTomorrow is Pi Day, a slightly silly recognition of the special number that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. But it’s not just any Pi Day, it is the Pi Day of the century! Because pi is 3.1415926……..etc., Pi Day is held on March 14 every year (get it? 3-14?), but Pi Day this year is special because it is 2015, so now we can have 3-14-15, which won’t happen again for a hundred years!

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For extra bonus, give a cheer at 9:26 am (and 53 seconds!) to squeeze in a few more place values of joy. But you’ll have to make a cut-off somewhere because pi just keeps going, and going, and going without repeating patterns.

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It has been calculated out to a trillion digits (thanks, computers!) but most of the time, there’s no reason you’d need more than a couple dozen at the very most. Happily, for everyday estimations 3.14 will get you there, or 3.14159 if you want be more accurate.

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Want to remember pi more easily? Use the delightfully geeky trigonometric chant:

Cosine, secant, tangent, sine!
Three point one four one five nine!

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Find yourself in pi’s digits: Use the birthday (or other date) finder from www.mypiday.com to see where your date shows up in the endless string – it’s pretty, too!

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Want some gear to along with that pi? We’ve got your covered!

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Join us for a Pi Day celebration at HMNS Sugar Land the morning of 3/14/15, or check out more fun with pi from www.piday.org

Happy Pi Day, Everyone!

Not that Pope Innocent: Revisiting the fruit cake’s bad rep and the Butter Letter

You may or may not have heard, but the Magna Carta comes to HMNS on Feb. 14, 2014 — because nothing says romance like an 800-year-old legal document.

I was researching the Magna Carta for our educational programming and had performed an Internet search looking for more information on correspondence between Pope Innocent III and King John (whose relationship is integral to the history of the Magna Carta for a number of reasons; you’ll just have to come to the exhibit to find out why).

I, however, was not specific enough in my search terms, so I found information on a different Pope Innocent and a different letter — this letter was titled, “The Butter Letter” or the “Butterbrief.”

Distraction ensued. “I must know more,” I thought. So here’s the story I discovered:

We all know that the fruit cake has always had a bad rep (and how it has survived this long with everyone making fun of it is a mystery). The stollen, a German fruit cake, was developed in the mid-1300s, and has been served at Christmas time from its conception. But it wasn’t very tasty for a number of reasons, including the fact that you were not allowed — by Church decree — to use butter OR sugar. Blech.

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Advent was a period of penitence and strict fasting. Part of the rules for fasting included the restriction of “luxury items,” including sugar and butter, and the lack thereof made baked goods taste awful (seriously, what’s even the point of baking without butter and sugar?).

In Medieval Saxony (now central Germany), Prince Elector Ernst and his brother, Duke Albrecht, decided they just couldn’t take it anymore. They had to have tastier baked goods.

So what do you with a problem like bad baked goods? Write to the Pope!

It took them FIVE popes to have their pleas answered!  Pope Innocent VIII sent them  a response — known as “The Butter Letter” — which granted the use of butter for their baked goods without having to pay a fine … but only for their household. The Pope was clever and put a condition in the letter stating that others could use butter for cooking, but whenever butter was used, a donation had to be made to help with the cost of constructing the Freiburg Cathedral.

Saxony figured out a work around to this problem in the 16th century, when the lot of them became Protestant.

Over time, however, stollen has become a delicious, sugar-covered confection and so we decided to taste this little piece of history for ourselves. Allison went to Angela’s Oven in the Heights and picked up a loaf right out of the oven and brought it to work. The baker allowed Allison to take some pictures of the final steps.

Modern fruit cake with lots of sugar.

Modern fruit cake with lots of sugar.

Holiday baked goods from  Angela's Oven.

Holiday baked goods from Angela’s Oven.

Oh history, how tasty you can be! Lecker (which means “delicious” in German)!