A Story of Workday Blues, or, How HMNS After Dark Improves Your Week

Monday inches along like a tectonic plate, and you feel the weight of the week on your shoulders. Mildred made the coffee wrong, but your boss doesn’t like waste, so you had to suffer through two mugs of the bitter swill because no one else would drink it and you’re the only one in the office with a caffeine addiction this strong. You hear Andrew yell at the copier again, and you wonder whether life wouldn’t be more exciting if we were raptors.

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What you wish the office looked like.

You remember it’s been nearly a year since you’ve been to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The last time you were there, you learned raptors weren’t at all like the ones in Jurassic Park; those CGI characters were closer in size to Deinonychus. Velociraptors were only as large as a cat, and you remember wishing the little guys were still around so you could have one as a pet, then wondering what you might feed it — cats, maybe? ALF ate cats.

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What you see when you imagine raptors eating cats.

Dude! You think. I’d totally rather be looking at dinosaurs than the walls of this cubicle right now. And the more you think about it, the stronger your urge to feed your scientific curiosity with a visit to HMNS.

By the time you’re about to punch out, you’ve already decided to venture to the museum to improve your mood. It’ll be a great way to unwind a little before heading home to walk the dog for your significant other. The dog can wait another hour or so; you need some time to yourself. This day has been awful. You send one last email, and with a huff, you swing your bag over your shoulder and you march out the door, your good-byes disingenuous.

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The walk to your car.

It’s raining again, but with dinosaurs on the brain, it’s an acceptable discomfort. In fifteen minutes, you’ll be standing below a magnificent 40-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex. You round the corner onto Hermann Park Drive. Your heart thumps, faster, faster as the concrete building looms above you. The butterflies in your stomach remind you of the explosion of color at the Cockrell Butterfly Center, and the thought of color reminds you of the sparkling Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, and then, finally, you’re at the parking garage!

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What you wish you could un-see.

Which is closed. It’s 5:25, and the museum has been shut down for the day. Worst Monday ever.

You get back home, walk the dog, take a shower with the water as hot as you can stand it, then go online to check the museum’s hours, dreading that you’ll have to wait it out until the weekend. But, lo and behold! They’re offering a new service — something called HMNS After Dark.

“You asked, and we answered,” you read. “For everyone who has wished for access to the museum in the cool evenings after work, here’s your chance… HMNS will stay open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 25!”

Holy cow! That’s this week! Bless my lucky stars!

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What you wish you could always see.

You rub your eyes and double-check to make sure. But this ain’t no fiction, buster. This is the real thing! Everything’s awesome, and everything’s open. Looks like you won’t have to wait until the weekend after all.

That very night, you make plans with your significant other to come out to HMNS After Dark. Tuesday and Wednesday speed along after that.

Late Night with Catalysts: New program offers after-hours fun for the young at heart

When I tell people I’m the Overnight Coordinator at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, I usually get one of two reactions. It’s either a sarcastic “Oh, does everything come to life at night?” or an astounded “People can spend the night there?!” While I’m in the Youth Education Programs department and typically work with the kiddos, we decided to partner with the Catalysts young professionals group at HMNS to create a late-night event for the young at heart. On July 30 we had our first-ever adult late night at HMNS exclusively for the Catalysts group.

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The museum up late. From left to right, Emily Lutz, Elizabeth Marlowe, Jayme Schlimper (in the bear mask), Matti Hammett, Kelli Lozada, Nicole Temple, Julia Russell, Kelsey Friedemann, Madison Weinhoffer, Katie Conlan, and Sahil Patel.

Since it’s summertime, we decided to take everyone on a trip down memory lane to good ol’ summer camp. Of course, we had to make it a trip with a bit of that HMNS pizzazz. Late-nighters could “roast” s’mores in our toaster ovens as an indoor (and flameless) spin on everyone’s favorite campfire cuisine. We had a make-your-own trail mix bar complete with barbecue flavored mealworms as an optional but delicious addition. We also had some Cool Chemistry demonstrations by seasoned Outreach presenter Sahil Patel and flashlight-led tours of the Morian Hall of Paleontology with Connor Eichenwald from the museum’s W.T. & Louise J. Moran Ecoteen Program. Finally, if campers wanted to capture the moment, we had Smilebooth there with a bevy of youth ed-crafted, camp-themed props! See some of our favorite snapshots below.

If a summer camp-themed late-night sounds like your idea of a night well spent, then Catalysts is the group for you! Our young professionals group gives you access to a variety of events throughout the year including tickets to an exclusive Catalysts events each quarter and tickets to our Mixers and Elixirs events during the summer. That’s on top of the usual membership benefits like free access to our renowned permanent exhibition halls and advance notice of upcoming events and special exhibitions. Visit our Catalysts Web page to join today!

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From left to right, Christine Dubbert, Sahil Patel, Madison Weinhoffer, and Daniel Echeverri.

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From left to right, Clark Kellogg, Nicole Temple, and Allison Kellogg.

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…and Sahil Patel, again. :)

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Top, left to right, Julia Russell, Zack Kammer, Hunter Robinson (bear mask), and Dalia Rihani. Bottom, from left, Britt Baumgardner and Freddy Dabaghi.

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Dain Geist and Rachel Wilkinson.

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Morgan and Elizabeth Hann.

Steamy salsa night closes out the summer

The time has finally come to close out this summer’s Mixers & Elixirs series. But we’re going out with a bang! End this summer right with one last steaming salsa night before summertime is gone.

 We talked to lead singer Rudy Rincon from Grupo Ka-Che to see what makes their performance at Mixers and Elixirs so spectacular.

What is the best thing about playing at Mixers?

Mixers25Being around the dinosaurs is definitely one of the best things. Another great aspect is being in a location that gives you the opportunity to be outside the normal standardization of a club. It is something really new and innovated that gives you another taste of both themes: a museum and a show.

How would you describe your band’s overall music and performance?

We are the most energetic Latin performance in town. Our show is completely live and it is well established. We got together in ’98.

What started you out in music?

We all started as musicians. We share Latin music as our connection even though we come from different countries. By communicating with the local audience we felt the need to polish and professionalize our music. Our group presents Latin music that delivers our culture as well as an exciting show for our audience.

What was it like performing under a giant dinosaur in past years?

 It was an adventure. Everyone at the beginning wasn’t sure what the response would be. As a band we really appreciate the work that the museum has been putting behind Mixers. We are pleased to be a part of the most exciting events. It integrates the museum aspect as well as an opportunity for young business professionals to network, dance, and mingle.

This is your last chance to see and be seen at Mixers & Elixirs! Don’t let the opportunity to salsa under the dinosaurs pass you by for another year. The party starts at 6 p.m. with our live DJ and cash bars. The dancing begins with Grupo Ka-Che at 7 p.m. Be sure to catch this fantastic night before it summer slips away.

Soul-soothing to heart-pounding performance this Friday night

Mixers25Need to find a happening spot this Friday night? It’s time for one of the last smokin’ Mixers of the summer. Don’t miss Yvonne Washington and the Mix as they bring their spectacular jazz show to the museum.

 

Listen and dance as they soothe your soul with a slow jazz ballad or get your heart pounding with an intense rhythm and blues selection. As one of the top female vocalists in Southeast Texas, Yvonne Washington puts on a performance that you shouldn’t miss.

 

This is one of the last Mixers of ’09! Don’t let this opportunity to see and be seen by the smartest crowd in Houston. The cash bar opens and live DJ plays starting at 6 p.m. After mingling in our Volkswagen Lounge join other beautiful party people under the dinosaurs as Yvonne Washington and the Mix get a swingin’ party started.

 

This week: Yvonne Washington and the Mix

  

August 28: Grupo Ka-Che closes out the summer with some Latin beats.