Posts Categorized: Museum Musings

New Texas Wildlife

November 10, 2014 Geekery, Museum Musings 0

The Houston Museum of Natural Science recently reopened their Texas wildlife exhibit. The old exhibit was in dire need of some TLC — one of the dioramas had been so ravaged by moths that it was closed off for at least 3 years and many of the specimens were damaged beyond saving. The new exhibit abandons the “old school” style of neatly lined up, glassed-in shadow box style scenes in favor of something more like the museum’s contemporary paleo hall.

The visitors are meant to feel that they are walking through the displays rather than past them, as though they are nearly interacting with the animals. And in some ways it really is an interaction; several of the animals are animatronic and their movements are apparently triggered by viewers passing nearby. It was rather startling at first!

Before we get to the photos, I have to make a couple of apologies!

First, though it has been about a month since we went to California, I haven’t yet posted anything about that particular trip — a post or two on this subject should be up soon.

Second, most of the photos I took in this new exhibit were so blurry as to be completely unusable, and though I did my best to sharpen them up, the photos below really aren’t top quality. I don’t know if there was something on my lens or if I just had the shakes from too much coffee or what.

Enough blather — now for a few photos!

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On Butterflies

March 17, 2013 Adventures, Geekery, Museum Musings 0

My mother came to town recently. It was a nice little visit. We ended up going to HMNS and — get this — we went in the Butterfly Center.

That may not seem like a big deal to you but it is to me. You see, I’m afraid of butterflies.

Not, like butterflies specifically. Just anything with more than 4 legs in general. Spiders and wasps are the worst, but other “cute” creatures like ladybugs or, yes, butterflies are still pretty awful. I can’t even eat shrimp if the legs are still attached.

But… we went into the little tropical habitat and I didn’t run and I didn’t scream and, most importantly, I didn’t smush any rare live specimens. We even saw an Atlas Moth which was surprisingly really cool. So: VICTORY.

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Texas Wildlife (… sans the “life” part)

November 4, 2012 Geekery, Museum Musings 0

These photos are actually several months old. We took them sometime before the new HMNS Morian Hall of Paleontology opened in this past summer.

This is one of my favorite halls, even if it isn’t the most exotic or expensive or unusual. It’s all native flora and fauna, for one thing, and I love that our museum gets to showcase that. For another, there all kinds of details and little surprises stuffed into each diorama. Just strolling through the hall (as many visitors do as they head to other exhibits) isn’t enough; you really need to take the time to observe the scenes, really take it all in.

Actually the Texas Wildlife Hall needs a little TLC. These are pretty old exhibits and the displays need some attention/repair. Of course that’s been delayed because of the construction, but I think they may be working on it again soon… but I haven’t had a chance to see these exhibits again recently so I don’t know.

As you’ll probably see in some of the photos below, the hall itself is dimly lit. This can make taking photos frustrating, but it also makes the dioramas seem more like little worlds unto themselves.

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There are a couple of displays that I missed out on because they were already closed for repairs when Gary and I started volunteering at the museum last year. These are the bat cave, which featured Mexican free-tailed bats, and the predators, which featured a mountain lion, a bobcat, a Red-tailed Hawk, a black bear, and a coyote amongst other carnivorous birds and mammals.


Dinosaurs!!!

June 10, 2012 Geekery, Museum Musings 0

Want some photos of the new Paleontology Hall at HMNS? I took these while we were being led through the hall by one of the scientists who was instrumental in putting it all together. So now we’ve been “trained”… if only we had more time to spend actually docenting!

Fair warning: 55 photos. Without further ado….

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Holidays at HMNS

December 25, 2011 Geekery, Museum Musings 0

The Houston Museum of Natural Science puts up several Christmas trees around this time every year, each of which is uniquely decorated by a community organization. So, today being Christmas and all, I thought it would be fun to post some quick snaps of all of the fun decorations that graced our trees this year.

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The first tree (and obviously the most awesome tree, ever) is from the HMNS Volunteer Guild. The theme for this year was Viva la Vida, so the Guild put together a tree that showcases all forms of life, starting from the earliest living cellular forms at the bottom and working up to current species at the top…

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… complete with an imminent mass extinction event en route to the dinosaur branches.

The rest of the trees are pretty cool, too, but nothing can compete with the Guild’s dinosaur ornaments.

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Well, that’s it really. Merry Christmas!