Museum District Day is this Saturday!

Today’s post is by Susan Schmaeling, APR. Susan is passionate about the 18 member museums in the Houston Museum District Association (HMDA). As a consultant to HMDA, she is delighted to help facilitate Museum District Day, which introduces the richness of the member museums of the Houston Museum District to thousands of visitors.  

Houston is a thriving cultural hub and at the heart of it all is the Houston Museum District. Come and explore the fourth largest museum district in the nation during Museum District Day!

15th Annual Museum District Day
Saturday, September 17, 2011
10 am – 5 pm

17 museums offer free general admission to their captivating exhibits, special programs, hands-on activities, performances and more. Pack up the car with family and friends and drive yourself to the Museum District – paid and/or free public parking is available at many of the museums.

Or take out the hassle and ride the METRORail to the Houston Museum District stop at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. You can bike it and safely lock your bike in front of The Menil Collection bookstore or on Branard Street in front of one of the distinctive grey Menil bungalows. Then hop on a free Museum District Day Bus Shuttle and take one route which stops at each and every participating museum.

Participating museums include:
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum Houston Museum of Natural Science
Byzantine Fresco Chapel The John C. Freeman Weather Museum
Children’s Museum of Houston The Jung Center
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston Lawndale Art Center
Czech Center Museum Houston The Menil Collection
The Health Museum Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Holocaust Museum Houston Rice University Art Gallery
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft Rothko Chapel
Houston Center for Photography  

Here’s a sample of the fun, free activities you and your family can participate in on Museum District Day:

Meet anchors and reporters from our title sponsor, KHOU-TV Channel 11, at the Houston Museum of Natural Science from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Take a free Tai Chi class at 3 p.m. by Henderson Smith on the lawn near the Rothko Chapel.

Enjoy a delicious lunch al fresco at the Great Good Hot Dogs Truck for about $5 per hot dog at The Menil Collection.

Contribute a part of yourself to The Jung Center’s Inside-Outside Virtual Parade collage. Free materials like photos, clippings and art images will allow you to express your true self.

Help the Blue Star Moms support our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bring a small personal care item to the Holocaust Museum Houston to be sent overseas. Write a note of thanks to the men and women who protect and serve us.

Make Sunprints at the Houston Center of Photography.

Watch the Houston Area Blacksmiths forge steel at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft‘s annual “Gathering of the Guilds.”

Make a Snap Circuit at the Inventor’s Workshop inside the Children’s Museum of Houston.

Witness performances about the life of a Buffalo Soldier every hour on the hour from 11 am to 3 pm at the Buffalo Soldiers Museum.

Watch artist Ana Serrano create her cardboard cityscape, Salon of Beauty at the Rice University Art Gallery.

Share your memories of Hurricane Carla and Tropical Storm Allison at The Weather Museum, as we remember the 50th anniversary of Carla and 10th anniversary of Allison, and learn about how storms are named as you come up with your own list of Atlantic storm names.

You will experience the richness of other cultures, be inspired and celebrate the Museum District’s diverse community.

Get details about Museum District Day!

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Please note – the Houston Zoo is not providing free general admission on Museum District Day.

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!

Looking back…

In case you were wondering about notable science events that occured the week following August 22…

On August 24, 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius erupted, covering the cities of Pompeii (hopefully you had the chance to see the exhibit here in Houston at the Museum of Fine Arts), Herculaneum, and Stabiae under volcanic ash. The city was lost for 1,700 years – until it was accidentily rediscovered in 1748. The excavation of the city has given valuable insight into the city during the height of Roman Empire, acting as a time capsule, allowing scientists to study the buildings, food, and even people that were buried that fateful day.
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This is Mount Etna erupting in 2006 (there is no footage of the 79 explosion of Mount Vesuvius for obvios reasons.)

Also on August 24, in 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefined the term “planet,” and Pluto was sent on its cosmic way (read the post about the controversy that ensued, by our astronomer James.) Pluto was “demoted” to the status of Dwarf Planet. There are currently eight planets and four dwarf planets in our solar system. The new definition of a planet is a celectial body that meets the following criteria:
    (a) is in orbit around the Sun, 
    (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and
    (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

Karoli looking foward
Creative Commons License photo credit: ckaroli

On August 25, 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers. He was one of the first men to build a telescope, and did so without actually ever seeing one of the few that existed. He was the first to discover any of Jupiter’s moons (he found 4), now known as the Galilean satellites.

On August 27, 2003, Mars made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years. The last time Mars was that close to Earth, man had just began to migrate out of Africa. Man wouldn’t start settling down, farming, and beginning to live in cities for another 48,000 years. Mars passed approximately 34,646,416 miles (55,758,006 kilometers) from Earth.