#CitizenScience – Join our Butterfly Experiment!

Have you seen a numbered butterfly in the Cockrell Butterfly Center today?

We’re doing a longevity study to see how long the butterflies in our center are living. If you see a butterfly with a number on it, snap a picture and post it on Instagram with the tag #CBCStudy so that we can see it!

Those who don’t use Instagram can email us a photo instead. Make sure to include the date you saw the butterfly in your caption so that we can properly record the data!

Thanks for helping with our experiment!

For more information about the Cockrell Butterfly Center and to plan a visit, visit our website. 

C’mon, get snap happy! Grab your camera (any camera) and Pixel Party with us on Sunday

Oh yes, photographers, it’s that time once again. Time to dust off ye olde DSLR, point-and-shoot, or even that fingerprint-smudged smartphone — and pony up to a photo party at your favorite science museum after hours.

In case you haven’t heard by now, our Pixel Party is the next generation of photography soirees from HMNS, where photographers of all cameras can set up shop in our latest and greatest exhibits — and get a crowd-free glimpse of the goods.

This month, we’re lifting the veil off three (!!!) major titans for your photographic pursuits: the stunning new Hall of Ancient Egypt, the intriguing Scenes from the Stone Age: the Cave Paintings of Lascaux exhibition, and the timeless Hall of the Americas (where photography is traditionally prohibited — until now).


In order to get the opportunity to snap those masterful exhibits, we ask that you meet three simple requirements:

(1) Register for the Pixel Party

Yup, register. It’s totally free, but we’ve gotta know you’re coming. You can do that registration thing if you point your little mouse right here and click. After you register, you’ll receive an email confirmation that your registration is good to go.

Oh, and you might wanna take note of the deadline, because there is one. Registration must be received by 5 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 21. We won’t accept registrations after that, no matter how hard you beg or how many barrels of cupcakes you promise to bring. Sorry. Them’s the breaks.

(2) Bring a camera

Maybe that goes without saying, since this is a photography party and all, but hey, we’re saying it anyway. This means that everyone in attendance must have a camera in hand. We actually don’t care what kind of camera — smartphone, fancy camera, credit card-sized camera, and the like — but whatever you’ve got has to be capable of taking photos.

But this also means no +1. It means no family, no friends, and no one without a click-click-clicker in hand. Just photographers.

(Now if your loved ones take photos, too, that’s another story. So, um, psst. Make ’em register.)


(3) Have an active photo sharing profile on the Interwebs

You know, we wanna check out the spectacular photos you take of our exhibits. Let’s face it: you make us look good. And maybe we’re a little vain, too. But we wanna see ourselves in the glow of your adoring gaze. So, indulge us.

To that end, you must have an active Flickr, Instagram, 500px, or other photo sharing account; a dedicated Facebook Fan Page for your photography; or an active photography portfolio online.

We have to make sure that you are who you say you are — a photographer. Because why show up to a picture party if you don’t really like to take them?

That’s it. Capisce?

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and you can chill in the Grand Hall until the event begins at 6 p.m. We’ll have kibbles for you on our front patio from The Hungry Lumberjack (so bring cash), and, of course, the chance of a lifetime to explore three fabulous exhibits after hours.

Think you can hang with some snap-happy folks at the Museum? Then register, why dontcha?

Because Instagram is everything: A self(ie) guided tour of HMNS

I’m sure you, like many people who visit HMNS, are a selfie connoisseur. But sometimes it can be difficult to come up with new concepts. I mean, your Instagram followers need variety. Who wants to see the same old pic over and over again on their feed? Sure, you take them in front of different backgrounds, change the filter, etc., but where’s the art in that? You’re a selfie artiste – you need drama. A motive. You want to tell a story!

Lucky for you, HMNS is one of the best places in Houston to explore the art of the selfie. Here are some good jumping off points:

#LionPhotoBomb #HMNSelfie
The Hall of African Wildlife is located on the second floor. If you squat or sit down in front of the lion case you can position yourself so that it looks as if a lion is photobombing you.

HMNSelfie 3

Pro tip: Why stop with the lion?! The animals in the exhibit have been positioned in such a way that they look as if they could run/pounce/gallop at any moment — almost as if they’re getting ready to jump into your picture…


#SwimmingWithTheFishes #HMNSelfie

Right as you enter the Museum, there’s a staircase to the left with a mural of a whale and a squid. If you go to the top of the stairs, to the mezzanine, you can position yourself perfectly to make it look as if you’re underwater.

HMNSelfie 1

Pro tip: There’s another staircase on the other side of Glassell Hall with an underwater mural as well (this one featuring marlins). And now, with a new installation of marlins, dolphins and schools of fish hanging in Glassell, you’ve got so many great ways to add variety to your selfie.


#WalkLikeAnEgyptian #HMNSelfie
Located on the third floor of the museum, the Hall of Ancient Egypt can be a tricky place to take pictures because of the dim lighting – but I’m sure that won’t deter you. Just find a spotlight, jump in, and “walk like an Egyptian.”

HMNSelfie 4

#Pro tip: If you’re posing in front of a light source, have a friend use their phone to light your face out of the frame as you take the pic. That way you won’t become just a silhouette.


#ButterflyKisses #HMNSelfie
The Cockrell Butterfly Center is one of the most popular parts of the Museum and we’re always releasing new butterflies into the happy habitat.

HMNSelfie 5

Pro tip: Be patient – butterflies can be flighty, but it’s worth it to get a shot with one of them. If you know you’re going to the Butterfly Center, wear bright colors to attract the butterflies to you.


#Petrified #HMNSelfie
The Morian Hall of Paleontology has some really exquisite petrified wood specimens. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed a good double entendre, so why not look PETRIFIED while in front of petrified wood?!

HMNSelfie 6

Pro tip: This hall is another great place to explore the “specimen as photobomber” concept discussed above.


#MagnaCarta800 #HMNSelfie
Our Magna Carta exhibit just opened, so you should really come see it — and be a selfie pioneer in this hall! The Magna Carta itself is about to turn 800 years old, and this is the only place in America where you can see it. So you might as well have something to remember it by.

HMNSelfie 2

Pro tip: The exhibit for Magna Carta also shows you the ins and outs of medieval life, so it’s rife with picture opportunities.

I hope you’ll try out some of these ideas and don’t forget to tag us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, and use the hashtag #HMNSelfie!

React + Interact: From crunchy crickets to partying with a prince, science gets social

Royalty and cracking codes and castaways, oh my! It might sound like a plot summary of a new hit novel, but it’s actually a few of the highlights that our online followers liked and shared this week. From a fancy dinner with Prince Charles to edible insects to the difference between Dimetrodons and Uma Thurman, it was just another week in social media land for the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

It was an important week for NASA as Apollo 11 celebrated its 44th Anniversary of making the U.S. the first country to explore the Moon. Not only did they celebrate winning the Space Race, but they also helped build up a little boy’s dream of someday going to Mars. A 7-year-old boy named Dexter wrote NASA a heartfelt letter expressing his desire to go to Mars. NASA didn’t just answer him; they also sent him a ton of “cool space swag” as well as pictures of the Red Planet and the Curiosity Rover — once again proving that the United States has the best space program in the world!

In other news, Tom Hanks may not have been the only famous castaway. Several detailed aerial photos show a remote island that Amelia Earhart may have survived on for some time as a castaway. These photos didn’t show any volleyballs with faces hanging around, but there was still enough evidence to show that the famous flyer may have lived in island isolation for a short while.

Many social media followers of the Museum enjoyed a post showing just how delicious and nutritious crickets can be. In case you don’t follow us on Instagram, you too can view this young lady enjoy her crunchy cricket snack.


One of our many awesome Instagram snaps

Kate Middleton’s baby bump may have been drawing most of the news recently, but Houstonians should be paying particular attention to another British Royal: the Prince himself, as Prince Charles recently hosted a black-tie-dinner for a handful Museum patrons. The focus of this soiree was to discuss a partnership between the museum and the Hereford Cathedral, which currently houses one of the four 1217 Magna Cartas. The patrons were lucky enough to view the Magna Carta and the King’s Writ as well as enjoy a lovely dinner with the charming Prince.

image courtesy of CultureMap Houston

Read the whole story at CultureMap Houston

On an historical note, HMNS also blogged about cracking the code of the Rosetta Stone. It explains how the month of July in 1799 turned out to be the most important month in the history of understanding Egyptian hieroglyphic writing. It explains how the stone was discovered and used to bridge the gap between understanding ancient Greek and understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Pushing even further back in history to the age of the dinosaurs, Dr. Bob Bakker blogged about some fabulous Dimetrodons and some of their interesting anatomy. He even uses the beautiful Uma Thurman to further his explanation for a great read about one of our in-house exhibits. Once you read up on the Dimetrodon, make sure you come and enjoy it in person in our new paleo hall, curated by the wonderful Dr. Bakker himself.


Although Dimetrodons have armored chests, they don’t look quite like this illustration by Bakker

These were just a few of the many stories that our social media followers enjoyed this week. If you missed any of it, make sure that you follow the Houston Museum of Natural Science on all of our social media channels. We are posting fabulous new information every day — and sharing yours, too!