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).

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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.)

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(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?

React + Interact: What do Ozzy Osbourne and gingers have in common? Plus big bugs, false memories and more!

The Museum is always interested in educating its fans, whether that’s within our exhibition halls or online. If your daily social media experience doesn’t include the Houston Museum of Natural Science, you might be missing out on news that can feed your noggin.

Photo courtesy of melontao via Instagram

For example, this week one visitor was so inspired by our new Hall of Paleontology that she took it upon herself to design a unique dino necklace. Using souvenirs from our Museum Store and a little creative inspiration, she was able to combine her love of dinosaurs (especially T. rex) with her love of jewelry.

Courtesy Glamourbones
Photo courtesy of Glamourbones’ Dino DIY

Have you ever wondered why the moon looks so much larger right at the horizon than it does high in the night sky? Well, you aren’t alone, and there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. You can also craft a quick and easy way to identify the phases of the moon using ordinary items found in most people’s homes.

Bringing it back down to earth, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were able to create their own Neuralyzer (the tool used by the Men in Black to erase memories). They were able to create a false memory in the mind of a mouse! Don’t worry, the mouse wasn’t harmed. And although it’s unlikely that he imagined he was once an A-List movie mouse that starred in Stuart Little, his false memory was still pretty fascinating.

Speaking of critters prone to delusions, the greenhouse here at the museum will be raising one of the largest moths in the world! Check out the Atlas Moth caterpillar and see for yourself whether it deserves its title.

Atlas Moth

In other noteworthy happenings, the Museum is currently hosting the Nautilus Live, which is using remotely-operated vehicles to search the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. The research team has been discovering some pretty fascinating things, including an underwater rainforest. A Bald Cypress forest that had been preserved for almost 50,000 years has recently been uncovered — in part thanks to hurricane Katrina — and is just waiting to teach the world about its history.

Did you know that gingers owe their distinct hair color to a mutation in northern Europe from thousands of years ago? It’s true, and redheads might be going extinct!

And speaking of mutants (sorry my fair friends; it’s accurate), it was recently discovered that Ozzy Osbourne is a genetic mutant! He won’t be making the cast of X-Men any time soon, but he does have some very interesting genes that scientists believe is the reason he has survived all of his, erm, medicinal recreation.

courtesy gawker media

If you found any of these stories interesting, then make sure that you follow the Houston Museum of Natural Science on all of our social media channels so you don’t miss a beat!

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.

instagram.com/hmns

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.

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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!

Get snap happy: Bring your camera — any camera! — to our Pixel Party photo event

Remember those Flickr meetups we used to have, back in the days of yore? Where photographers could set up shop in some of our newest exhibits and get a crowd-free glimpse of the goods?

Well that was then, and this is now. And we want to invite you to bring your camera — any camera — for a new-and-improved snap happy, party after-hours.

Enter the Pixel Party: the next generation of photography soirees from HMNS.

Doing our thing...Doing our thing, by Pixeltopia

The Pixel Party won’t be all that different from what you’ve come to know as the HMNS Flickr Group Meetups — bring your camera, see some new exhibits, and post your masterpieces online. Except this time, any kind of camera — including the kind housed in your smart phone — is welcome.

Our first Pixel Party is scheduled for Sunday, October 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the new Gems of the Medici exhibit. Yup, you get to see it right after it opens — no crowds, no lines, no fees. And, as a bonus (since it’s been so long and we’re cool like that), we’re keeping our new Morian Hall of Paleontology open for you, too.

You must have one of the following to participate:

(1) An active Flickr or Instagram account
(2) A dedicated Facebook Fan Page for your photography
(3) An active photography portfolio online

During the Pixel Party, registered photographers will have access to photograph the exhibits. Which means you must register to par-tay.

To register, please send an email webeditor@hmns.org with your name and a link to one of the following:

(1) Your Flickr or Instagram account
(2) A link to your Facebook Fan Page
(3) A link to your online portfolio where photos will be displayed

We won’t be taking registrations any other way, so follow the rules, why dontcha? You’ll receive an email confirmation of your registration when we get your info.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send an email or post a comment here. Registration must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26.

No matter whether you’re a Nikon nerd or an iPhoneographer (or anywhere in between) we want to see you at this shindig. Tripods are welcome, but remember: we’re all here for the photography, so plan to play nice!

We hope to see you on Oct. 28! Don’t forget: Email us to register at webeditor@hmns.org.