Founder Jimmy Wales loves Wikipedia Loves Art

Wikipedia Loves Art has caught the eye of Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales (you can check out his bio on – of course – Wikipedia).

In the video below, he shares his thoughts on the contest, and how the public perception of Wikipedia has changed, even over just the past few years.

In case you missed our announcement last week, Wikipedia Loves Art is a world-wide, museum-based, photo scavenger hunt. It’s a take-off on Valentine’s Day that shares the love among photographers on Flickr, anyone who’s ever used Wikipedia (read: everyone) and museums across the globe.

You can participate by shooting pictures of the items on the HMNS goal list any time in the month of February – but we’re also hosting a Wikipedia Loves Art meetup on Sunday, Feb. 15 from 6 – 9 p.m. The meetup will include free access to the permanent exhibition halls as well as conservatory and entomology exhibits at the Cockrell Butterfly Center for all registered Wikipedia Loves Art photographers. Before coming to the meetup, please be sure to register online. Check in will be at a table in the Grand Hall.

More details: the Wikipedia Loves Art Flickr page; the Brooklyn Museum’s announcement; and the HMNS meetup post in our group poolon Flickr.

Hope to see you there!

Shutterbugs, unite: Wikipedia loves you! [free stuff]

the trigger
This could be you, at
Wikipedia Loves Art at HMNS.
Creative Commons License photo credit: karlrobin

The always spectacular Brooklyn Museum has an all-new round of awesome for us in February: Wikipedia Loves Art – a world-wide, museum-based, photo scavenger hunt. It’s a take-off on Valentine’s Day that shares the love among photographers on Flickr, anyone who’s ever used Wikipedia (read: everyone) and museums across the globe.

The goal: to create free content that can be used to illustrate educational articles across an almost unimaginable range of topics in everyone’s favorite online encyclopedia. If your photos are chosen for use on Wikipedia, you’ll get full credit in the caption – even better, you can win great prizes!

As it turns out, Wikipedia loves science, too – and your friendly local science museum is participating! Check out our goal list as well as our photography guidelines and get ready to start shooting! All that’s required is the ability to identify an object and take a snapshot that shows it off – anyone with a point and shoot camera and a free Flickr account can participate. (To sign up for Flickr, go here and click “Create Your Account.” You can also take a tour first to explore.)

love is in the air
Creative Commons License photo credit: GcD^3 pictures

More details: the Wikipedia Loves Art Flickr page; the Brooklyn Museum’s announcement; and the HMNS meetup post in our group pool on Flickr.

You can shoot at HMNS any time in the month of February – but we’re also hosting a Wikipedia Loves Art meetup on Sunday, Feb. 15 from 6 – 9 p.m. The meetup will include free accessto the permanent exhibition halls as well as conservatory and entomology exhibits at the Cockrell Butterfly Center for all registered Wikipedia Loves Art photographers. Before coming to the meetup, please be sure to register online . Check in will be at a table in the Grand Hall.

Hope to see you at the meetup! And Happy Valentine’s!

LEGO: The building blocks of science

Our guest blogger today is Ian Wilkinson, one of the museum’s IT geniuses. Besides being a computer guru, he is an avid science fan and a LEGO enthusiast. Put the two together, and… 

As a life-long fan of both Lego bricks and science, I was thrilled when the announcement for the “Brick Science” contest was posted on one of my favorite Lego fan-sites, Reasonably Clever, this August. The contest had four categories: “Good Scientist”, “Evil Scientist”, “Laboratory Diorama”, and “Real Scientist”. The last category had the most interest for me, and I set about creating a list of the scientists I would like to render in Lego bricks.

Just for fun, I put a few figures together to get started; Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, the mad scientist Rotwang from the film Metropolis (for the Mad Scientist category). A glow-in-the-dark piece I had recently acquired inspired me to make a Lego Madame Curie, which led to the addition of her husband Pierre and a radioactive research lab.

As I photographed them in normal light, it occurred to me that some “lights out” photos would also be needed to demonstrate the glow effect. While taking photos in the dark, I remembered that I had a black light and wondered how the parts would look under that. The photo turned out rather fuzzy, but looked keen.

While helping Dr. Bakker with some IT issues at work the next day, I decided it would be extra cool to make a Lego version of him for the contest and maybe get him to endorse it by getting photographed with it. That evening, I put together a Lego vignette of Dr. Bakker using a tiny shovel to dig up some animal bones.

I was a bit concerned that the only Lego animal skeleton in my collection is that of a horse, but Dr. Bakker assured me that he has actually dug up horse bones before, and therefore the model was accurate. After selecting the cowboy hat for his figure to wear (there was a fedora available as well), I got a very nice photo of Dr. Bakker holding up his Lego effigy for the contest.

Because only one entry was allowed per category, I had to submit Dr. Bakker under “Real Scientists”, and the Curies as “Good Scientists.” After that, I had to wait until the end of September to find out the contest results.

Finally, the contest winners were announced last Tuesday. I was a bit disappointed that my Dr. Bakker vignette did not win, until I saw the very amusing depiction of “Theoretical Physicist Moog creating fire in the laboratory.” (To see it, click here and scroll down to “Class Four.”) It’s a good thing I took the black light photos of the Curies, as they seemed to appeal to the judges- “Curies in the Lab” won first place for “Good Scientists,” garnering me a Lego kit featuring Lego Alligators!

All in all, it was a very fun contest. I would have been happy not winning a thing; it’s fun to build Lego scientists, especially when I can get the real scientist in on the game! Special thanks to Dr. Bakker for being a good sport and participating in the contest with me!

Blog Contest: Draw a Dinosaur!

Leonardo da Vinci said: “I don’t understand a thing ‘till I draw it.” When you draw, your finger tips teach your brain what’s important.”

Dr. Bakker paraphrased Leonardo da Vinci in his recent post, Draw Dinos Right, to explain why great  paleontologists tend to be great artists, too. Now that the world premiere of Dinosaur Mummy CSI: Cretaceous Science Investigation is open at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, you can test this hypothesis on another Leonardo – the mummified dinosaur that was found in Malta, MT, with skin and internal organs preserved. And when you do, you can enter to win great paleo prizes – like a signed dinosaur drawing by Dr. Robert T. Bakker himself – as well as a $200 gift certificate to Texas Art Supply, for all your future dino-drawing needs.

The contest is simple: pick a dinosaur and draw it for us. In this video, Dr. Bakker takes you through drawing a T. rex – but your entry can be any dinosaur you like. On Nov. 1, Dr. Bakker will choose one winner for each of two categories – one for scientific accuracy, and another for artistic effect.

So, head on over to the drawing board – you’ve got until Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. to enter.

Entries must be no larger than 11 x 17 inches and they can be turned in to the Museum Services desk at the Museum or scanned and submitted online to blogadmin@hmns.org. Make sure to include your name, phone number and e-mail address with your entry – otherwise, we’ll have no way to contact you if you’ve won. Two identical prizes will be awarded – one to recognize the most scientifically accurate dinosaur drawing and the other to honor the best artisitc effect. Click here for contest rules.

UPDATE: Our winners have been posted! Along with a slideshow of all of the fabulous entries – a huge thank you to all the very talented kids who entered.