Understand the legacy of Magna Carta at an HMNS Distinguished Lecture

Nearly 800 years ago, on a summer day on the banks of the river Thames, 25 barons gathered waiting for King John. The document they sealed, under fluttering pendants, would come to underpin our modern conceptions of liberty, freedom and justice. But why — let alone how?

We would come to call this document Magna Carta – the “Great Charter.” But how did it come about?

There were many, many medieval charters. Yet, this is the one that became embedded in the consciousness of England and then the world. What relevance could this document possibly still hold for us as Americans, an ocean away and 800 years later?

Tonight we’ll answer these questions at “A Universal Charter? The Legacy of the Magna Carta” as part of our Distinguished Lecture series. Featuring Sir Robert Rogers, Clerk of the British House of Commons – an office that dates back to 1363 – we will delve into the history and influence of Magna Carta.

Join HMNS in giving our distinguished speaker a big Texas welcome at his lecture tonight in the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre!

 

Robert - full regaliaA Universal Charter? The Legacy of the Magna Carta
Sir Robert Rogers, Clerk of the British House of Commons
Wednesday, February 19, 6:30 p.m.
Click here for tickets.

About the Speaker:
Sir Robert is well accustomed to the ways in which the old lives with the new. One of his tasks is to endorse Parliamentary bills in Norman French — but they are prepared using some of the most advanced text-handling software in the world.

Also an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple Inn of Court (the Temple Church plays a part in the story of Magna Carta), Sir Robert Rogers is author of two miscellanies about the British Parliament: “Order! Order!” and “Who Goes Home?” He’s the joint author of “How Parliament Works,” now going into its seventh edition.

UPCOMING MAGNA CARTA LECTURES:
Tickets $18, HMNS members $12
www.hmns.org/lectures

13th Century Sword & Buckler: Origins of the Knightly Fighting Arts
John Clements, Association for Renaissance Martial Arts
Wednesday, February 26, 6:30 p.m.
Click here for tickets.

The liberal arts in medieval times were those subjects studied by a free man — who was free precisely because he was armed and trained in the fighting arts. Much of what is known of 13th century sword and buckler training is documented in the only surviving fencing manual of the period. John Clements, martial arts historian, will describe the science of defense developed in this period, as well as the arms, armor and chivalric work of knights. This lecture will be followed by a live demonstration of medieval martial arts.

Conquest, Wars and Liberties of the Realm: the Long Run-Up to Magna Carta
Bruce O’Brien, Ph.D., International Early English Laws Project.
Wednesday, March 12, 6:30 p.m.
Click here for tickets.

To understand Magna Carta, one has to understand England’s past. Much has to do with the obligations of kings and their subjects, which was a point of negotiation. This process is writ large in pre-conquest Anglo-Saxon laws, in the monuments of the Norman kings such as Domesday Book and the coronation charter of Henry I, and in the legal reforms instituted by Henry II, which formed the basis for what came to be known as the Common Law.

Medieval Genealogy
Lynna Kay Shuffield, Genealogist
Wednesday, April 16, 6 p.m.
Click here for tickets.

Do you have royal lineage? Are you a descendant of a rebellious baron? Genealogy researcher Lynna Kay Shuffield will review tips to help you trace your family to medieval Europe. For those with English roots there is a fair chance you may find a Magna Carta link. Over 3,000 Texans are currently registered as descendants of the Magna Carta Dames and Barons from Runnymede. You do not need to be an avid genealogy researcher to enjoy this program.

ADDITIONAL MAGNA CARTA PROGRAMS

ADULT CLASS: Introduction to the Sword
Thursday, February 27, 6 p.m.
Click here for tickets.

The sword is an important symbol of power — from the gladius of gladiators to the light saber of the Jedi. It has been used to change history. Whether leading a conquest of the Normans or to helping to secure the seed of democracy, the sword is an important symbol of martial skill. Thought of as a “lost art,” swordsmanship is still taught using the writing and illustrations passed down from Renaissance sword masters. Learn the basics of this martial art in this class lead by John Clements, director Association of Renaissance Martial Arts. This program is for participants age 15 and up.

ADULT CLASS: Calligraphy, From Quill to Pen
Thursday, May 15, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m
Click here for tickets

Saturday, June 21, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Click here for tickets

Calligraphy — from ancient Greek kallos for “beauty” and graphe for “writing” — is a visual art dating back to at least 5,000 BC, although our western letter forms were standardized during in the 8th century. In this beginner-level class, Cindy Haller, Houston Calligraphy Guild instructor, will teach you to use a dip pen (our modern answer to the quill) and ink to create the Italic script, and introduce you to the history of English script writing. All supplies are provided and are yours to keep. Participants must be 15 years of age or older.

Paleo-powered pictures for everyone on Sept. 24: Bakker’s back with a big book of dinosaurs

Our esteemed curator of paleontology, Dr. Robert T. Bakker, is back in town and on campus at HMNS Tuesday, Sept. 24 for a very special book signing and lecture.

Coinciding with the release of his brand new picture book, The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs, Dr. Bakker will lead a lecture in the Giant Screen Theatre, to be followed by a book-signing session at the Museum Store.

From the Google

Among the topics to be addressed during the lecture with Dr. Bakker’s inimitable enthusiasm are: Was T. rex a slow-footed stumble-bum? (No!) Were tyrannosaurs devoid of any gentle, nurturing gestures? (No way!) Were gigantic meat-eating dinos ticklish? (You bet!) Could you out-run an angry charging triceratopsine? (Don’t even try.)

Kid-friendly dino activities will be available throughout the Grand Hall prior to the lecture, beginning at 5 p.m. For more information or to book your tickets in advance, click here!

Why James Delgado > James Cameron: See a real underwater explorer speak April 12

James Cameron’s got nothing on Dr. James Delgado. Although the multimillionaire and filmmaker made a historic dive Monday to a depth of 35,576 feet, it’s Delgado who headed up the historic excavation of the R.M.S. Titanic – the inspiration for that other guy’s most famous film.

james vs

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking in April 1912, new images were released in the April 2012 edition of National Geographic that depict the entire wreckage for the first time in a single frame.

For the first time ever, the boat’s full expanse is photographed at its resting place more than 2 miles beneath the Atlantic Ocean.

Although the images look as though they were shot from a distance, the ocean depths are far too dark to light the wreck powerfully enough – and doing so would be dangerous to the ship’s remains. Instead, the images were assembled mosaic-style by experts at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and took months to complete.

To create an accurate image of the full wreckage, researchers layered optical data on top of sonar images gathered from an exhibition in 2010 that is widely regarded as the most extensive research and recovery trip to date. During that trip to the wreck site, the eighth since its discovery, three robots circled the boat using side-scan and multibeam sonar to capture hundreds of images per second.

Titanic | James Delgado appearance

Delgado, the chief scientist for the excavation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Director of Maritime Heritage, told the National Geographic the reconstructed images were “a game-changer.”

“In the past, trying to understand Titanic was like trying to understand Manhattan at midnight in a rainstorm – with a flashlight.”

Delgado will be at HMNS on April 12 to discuss expeditions to the wreck site and the technology that has made such imaging possible.

In addition to discussing his own historic visit to the ocean floor, Delgado will outline options for the Titanic’s future preservation.

To reserve tickets, click here!

Flashpoint of Empires – The Archaeological Rediscovery of Jamestown

Today’s post is written by Amy Potts, the HMNS Director of Adult Education. 

One of our country’s most important historical cities was lost.  But, Jamestown has been re-discovered -thanks to archaeologist Dr. William Kelso!

Dr. Kelso will be giving a lecture on his Jamestown discoveries at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Wednesday, November 16 at 6:30 p.m. The lecture is co-sponsored by Archaeological Institute of America – Houston Society with support from Thompson & Knight Foundation. Following the lecture Dr. Kelso will sign copies of Jamestown, The Buried Truth. For tickets and more information, click here.

Dr. Kelso began directing excavations on Jamestown Island at the behest of Preservation Virginia.  Jamestown’s incredible rediscovery lies in the correction of a historical myth previously thought to be true – that the site of the original Jamestown settlement of 1607 had washed into the James River long ago. The archaeologists used primary source material to estimate the location of the fort on Jamestown Island, such as the Zuniga Map, created by a Spanish spy of the same name, and the accounts of original colonists, such as William Strachey, Captain Ralph Hamor, and John Smith.

Dig Site with Dr. William Kelso
Dr. William Kelso

Upon analysis of these sources and other buildings, the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists discovered the postholes of the original fort; discoloration in the soil left the evidence of the palisades and bulwarks that once formed the fort wall. After expanding the dig, the archaeologists were able to validate that the Jamestown Fort had only begun to wash into the James River, but was instead covered inadvertently by a Confederate earthwork during the American Civil War. Throughout this excavation, the team discovered evidence of fort buildings, artifacts, and the remains of settlers.

The discovery of a well within the limits of the Jamestown fort is important due to the artifacts found in the well.

Wells that had stopped providing (or never provided) drinkable water were frequently filled in with the refuse of daily life, which gave the archaeologists the opportunity to look at a concentrated collection of stratified artifacts. Tobacco pipes, pottery sherds, and combat armor all help date the excavation site to the early 17th century, giving even more support to the positive identification of the fort.  In this case, curator Beverly Straube was able to substantiate evidence regarding the professional work done by the original settlers. Goldsmiths, bricklayers, masons, perfumers, tailors, fishermen, coopers, blacksmiths, glassmakers, carpenters, and tobacco pipe makers are among the dominant professions for which there is archaeological evidence.

William Kelso, one of America’s foremost historical archaeologists specializing in early American history, serves as the Director of Research and Interpretation for the Preservation Virginia Jamestown Rediscovery project. Previously, Kelso served as director of archaeology at Colonial Williamsburg’s Carter’s Grove, Monticello, and Poplar Forest, as well as Commissioner of Archaeology for the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission. During his time at Monticello, he was one of the first to make early colonial slave life the focus of archaeological research. Dr. Kelso earned a B.A. in History from Baldwin-Wallace College, an M.A. in Early American History from the College of William and Mary, and a PhD in Historical Archaeology from Emory University.