Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science (abbreviated as HMNS) is a natural history museum located on the northern border of Hermann Park in Houston, Texas, United States. The Houston natural science museum was established in 1909 by the Houston Museum and Scientific Society. This is an organization whose goals were to provide a free institution for the people of Houston focusing on education and science.
The Houston Natural Science Museum boasts of well over two million visitors each year. The museum complex consists of a central facility with four floors of natural science halls and exhibits, the Burke Baker Planetarium, the Cockrell Butterfly Center, and the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre (formerly known as the Wortham IMAX Theatre).
It is worthy of note that the Houston Natural Science Museum is one of the most popular in the United States. It ranks just below two other popular museums in the United States: New York City’s American Museum of Natural History and Metropolitan Museum of Art and the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco in most attendance amongst non-Smithsonian museums. Much of the museum’s popularity is attributed to its large number of special or guest exhibits.
Brief History Of Houton Natural Science Museum
The initial museum organization was called the Houston Museum and Scientific Society, Inc., and was created in 1909. The Houston museum of natural science’s primary collection was acquired between 1914 and 1930.
Among the collections included the purchase of a natural-history collection assembled by Henry Philemon Attwater and a donation from collector John Milsaps, the latter of which formed the core of the museum’s gem and mineral collection. First housed in Houston’s city auditorium, the collection was subsequently housed in the Central Library for seven years, and then at a site in the Houston Zoo in 1929. The museum’s now wide-ranging education programs began in 1947 and, in its second year, hosted 12,000 children.
The Houston Natural Science museum was officially renamed the Houston Museum of Natural Science in 1960. However, the construction of the current facility in Hermann Park began in 1964 and was completed in 1969.
By the 1980s, the Houston natural science museum’s permanent displays included a dinosaur (skeleton) exhibit, a space museum. In addition, there are other exhibitions on geology, biology, petroleum science, technology, and geography. In 1988, the Challenger Learning Center was opened in memory of the Space Shuttle Challenger crewmembers that were lost during the shuttle’s tenth mission.
The center’s aim is to teach visitors about space exploration. The Wortham IMAX Theatre and the offsite George Observatory were opened in 1989.
Houston Museum of Natural Science attended to more than one million visitors in 1990. The Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) trustees determined that new state-of-the-art facilities, additional space, and renovations to current exhibits were needed because of the increased attendance. Between 1991 and 1994, a number of exhibit halls were renovated and the expansion of the Sterling Hall of Research was completed. The Cockrell Butterfly Center and the Brown Hall of Entomology opened in July 1994.
In March 2007, the museum opened the Houston Museum Natural Science Woodlands X-ploration Station, located in the Woodlands Mall. The facility was home to an interactive Dig Pit, where children could excavate a mock Triceretops, a variety of living exhibits, fossils, and minerals. The Woodlands location closed on September 7, 2009, less than a month before Houston Museum of Natural Science opened a satellite museum in Sugar Land, Texas.
Houston Museum of Natural Science celebrated its 100th year in 2009. During that year, the museum offered a multitude of family programs, lectures, free events, and kids’ classes as part of the “Fun Hundred” celebration.
On October 3, 2009, Houston Museum of Natural Science opened its satellite museum in Telfair, Sugar Land. The building and surrounding land that became HMNS at Sugar Land was once part of the Central Unit, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison that had been unoccupied for several decades. Click here to read more about Houston Natural Science Museum.
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A Few of the Houston Museum of Natural Museum Exhibits
The Houston Natural Science Museum has the following permanent sites:
- The Foucault pendulum, demonstrating the Earth’s rotation. The length of the pendulum’s cable is over 60 feet (18 m) long.
- Cullen Hall of Gems & Minerals, featuring a large exhibit of over 750 crystallized mineral specimens and rare gemstones.
- Lester and Sue Smith Gem Vault, showcasing some of the most exquisite finely cut gems in jewelry.
- Farish Hall of Texas Wildlifeexhibits animals and wildlife native to Texas. The hall contains a video wall that displays the plants, animals and topography of the seven biotic regions of the state.
- Evelyn and Herbert Frensley Hall of African Wildlife, a display of taxidermied animals, including one of only two okapis exhibited in North America. Opening in 1969, the hall allows visitors to explore the seven biomes of the continent of Africa. Contains over 120 specimens, including 42 species of birds and 28 species of mammals are on display.
- Strake Hall of Malacology, with many specimens of mollusks.
- Morian Hall of Paleontology, the largest paleontology hall in the United States. Contains over 60 major skeleton mounts, including three Tyrannosaurus rex, a Diplodocus and the most complete Triceratops skeleton ever discovered. It also houses one of the largest trilobite collections in existence. Robert Bakker serves as Curator of Paleontology.
- John P. McGovern Hall of the Americas, showing more than 50 cultures worth of pre-Columbian archaeological
- Welch Chemistry Hall, with interactive chemistry related displays and a periodic table of elements with a sample of each element.
The Houston Natural Science Museum is a place to visit for it houses some of the worlds natural collections that are extinct. Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) can be used interchangeably with Houston Natural Science Museum (HNSM). The two terms means the same thing. Around the world facilities like Houston Natural Science Museum generates enough money for the host countries. It is an investment for both government and individuals.
Check also: 7 natural wonders of the world