Houston Museum of Natural Science

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Event/Item Event Scheduled  
Coral: Rekindling Venus by Lynette Wallworth

 

Created and directed by Australian media artist Lynette Wallworth, Coral: Rekindling Venus is an immersive film experience that takes viewers underwater through the mysterious realm of fluorescent coral reefs in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Wallworth’s visually stunning Coral: Rekindling Venus is a full-dome film presentation designed to immerse viewers in the complex world of rare marine life with the hope of creating an emotional connection between a global audience and the planet's endangered coral reefs. This epic project features original deep-sea photography from Emmy Award-winning cinematographer David Hannan, and music by Antony and the Johnsons, renowned Australian Indigenous artist Gurumul and German composer Max Richter.

5/15/2014
7:30 PM
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Film Screening - Trashed

Trashed confronts the critical global issues of waste and sustainability. Producer Jeromy Irons takes us around the world, confronting mountains of trash in China, an endless tide of plastic waste on Indonesia’s Ciliwung River, and the tons of human detritus floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  This award-winning documentary premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. View this special screening of Trashed with Dr. Herb Ward, professor of civil and environmental engineering ecology and evolutionary biology at Rice University.

4/24/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Bats: The Night Shift by Cullen Geiselman

 

Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight and they have radiated into almost every habitat on earth.  They are responsible for eating millions of night-flying insects, dispersing seeds in rain forests, and pollinating plants in deserts.  Only three out of the 1,300+ species of bats are vampires and feed solely on the blood of other mammals and birds. Other bats are carnivorous and capture small vertebrate prey, such as lizards, birds, and even other bats.  Their great diversity of feeding strategies is a testament to the adaptability of these nocturnal animals and reveals their important roles they play within ecosystems.  During her lecture, Dr. Cullen Geiselman will give a brief summary of the world’s bat species, their habitats, and adaptations and discuss their ecological functions and the benefits they provide to humans within different environments. She will end by bringing it all back to the 38 bat species found in Texas highlighting the 8 or so that call Houston home. Bat researcher and conservationist Dr. Cullen Geiselman has studied bats around the globe. She currently serves on the board of directors of Bat Conservation International. This lecture is co-sponsored by Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

10/27/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Battleship Texas and Her Commanders by James Thomas

  

Battleship Texas÷as the most powerful naval vessel in the world at the time of her debut. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the commissioning of USS Texas in 1914, historian Dr. James Thomas will share stories of the ship's valiant commanding officers and her most remarkable accomplishments, including Captain Charles Baker and the D-Day assault of Omaha Beach. Marine Corps veteran James Thomas, Ph.D. is professor of history at Northwest College, Houston Community College System, and a volunteer for Texas Parks and Wildlife at the Battleship Texas State Historic Site.

 

6/3/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - British, and American, Sensations by Paul Smith

 

The people of the United States are as rightly possessive of Magna Carta as are the people of Britain. This talk will examine some of the reasons why, and will then explore other icons and periods in British cultural history that have captivated the US and contributed to the special relationship between the two nations. From Magna Carta to the modern monarchy, from Shakespeare to the Beatles, from Doctor Who to Downton Abbey -why do these transatlantic sensations mean so much to us all? Paul Smith is director of the British Council in the USA and cultural counsellor at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.

 

The Museum's Magna Carta programs are sponsored by the British Council.

5/14/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Exploration to Exploitation - The Road from Plant Discovery to Market by Tony Avent

 

In this behind-the-scenes look into the nursery world, Tony Avent will share the secrets of how and why new plants fit into different market niches. Explore why certain new plants get to market quickly, while other great plants never see the light of day. Avent will track memorable plant introduction successes, explain bad horticultural marketing disasters, and blow up some common plant exploration myths. You will never look at plants the same way again! Tony Avent is owner of Juniper Level Botanic Gardens and Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, North Carolina. (This is the nursery from which HMNS obtained our beloved corpse flower plant, Lois, when she was a tiny tuber.) This lecture is cosponsored with The Mercer Society with additional support from Houston Advanced Research Center and Kava King Products.

 

 

Tickets $18, Members $12

 

9/4/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Growing an Ark: The Expanding Role of Gardens in Plant Conservation by Peter Wyse Jackson

 

Often referred to as “living museums,” over 3,000 botanic gardens are known in 175 countries and territories worldwide, most of which were established since 1950. Botanic gardens’ efforts to rescue plants from extinction through expanded research, conservation programs, and environmental education is leading to their increasingly influential role in the development of international policies in biodiversity conservation. Peter Wyse Jackson will take you on an around-the-world journey that showcases a wide range of some of the most significant successes and contributions by botanic gardens, both individually and collectively.

 

Peter Wyse Jackson, Ph.D. is director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis and former Secretary-General of Botanic Gardens Conservation International.

 

This lecture is cosponsored with The Mercer Society.

11/6/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Gulf of Mexico Biodiversity and Oil Spill Resilience by Wes Tunnell

 

The Gulf of Mexico is one of the most ecologically and economically valuable bodies of water on Earth producing 1.4 billion pounds of commercial fishery landings each year valued at $660 million, and it harbors 15,419 species. In contrast to this great biodiversity and productivity, there are environmental impacts and problems that contend with a healthy Gulf. Large percentages of Gulf habitats have been lost due to many environmental insults, such as overfishing, habitat loss and destruction, degraded water quality, extensive coastal development, and climate change. Dr. Wes Tunnel will explain how the Gulf appears quite resilient in the face of all of these problems, and what a tipping point of too many problems might eventually cause. Dr. Wes Tunnell is Associate Director and Endowed Chair of Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.  He serves as adjunct curator of malacology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This lecture is co-sponsored by Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

10/13/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Mars Direct: Humans to the Red Planet within a Decade by Robert Zubrin

 

While many have said that human missions to Mars are an endeavor that would be excessively costly and take many decades, a small team at Martin Marietta has drawn up a daring plan that could sharply cut costs and send a group of American astronauts to the Red Planet within ten years. The plan, known as Mars Direct, has attracted international attention and broad controversy. Now, with debate how to proceed with human space exploration, the Mars Direct plan is more relevant than ever. Can Americans reach the Red Planet in our time? The principal author of Mars Direct, Robert Zubrin, addresses this question. Following the lecture, he will sign copies of his popular books The Case for Mars, How to Live on Mars, and Merchants of Despair.

 

Prior to the lecture, attend a special evening screening of The Great Planet Adventures at 6 p.m. in the Burke Baker Planetarium. (Separate ticket required.)

5/7/2014
7:00 PM
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Lecture - Natural History and Aesthetics - Why Should We Care About Nature? by Harry Greene

 

The diversity of life on Earth is under serious threats from multiple human-related causes, and science plays well-known roles in addressing management aspects of this problem. Dr. Harry W. Greene will describe how natural history also plays a vital role in enhancing our appreciation for organisms and environments, thereby influencing value judgments that ultimately underlie all conservation. I will first explain how an 18th  century philosopher's distinction between "beauty" and "sublime" can be used in the context of Darwin's notion of "descent with modification," then illustrate this approach with frogs, snakes, African megafauna, Longhorns, and California Condors. Dr. Harry Greene is professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University. He is a popular author and will be signing copies of his latest book Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art following the lecture.

 

This lecture is co-sponsored by Rice University's Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

 

9/22/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Plant Conservation in a Rapidly Changing World by Peter Raven

 

 

 

 

The animals, plants, and other organisms of our planet collectively make our lives on Earth possible, and yet we are destroying their habitats, changing the climate, introducing weeds, diseases and pests widely, and overharvesting many of them. In turn, these factors are driven by our rapidly growing population, increasing consumption levels, and use of destructive technologies. As a result, we could drive to extinction more than half the kinds of plants and animals that exist now within the next 75 years or so.

 

For plants, the world has more than 400,000 species. In the U.S. alone, some 4,000 of the estimated 19,000 kinds of plants, and in Texas nearly 300 of the roughly 4,800 native species are of conservation concern – 27 of them already federally-listed.

 

Fortunately plants can be saved through genetic seed banks, the establishment of protected areas and botanic garden collections.Dr. Peter Raven, President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, will describe the efforts to save as many these species in the USA as possible, while we still have time to do so. The Center for Plant Conservation, of which Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens is a member, consists of 40 similar institutions that are leading this conservation effort.

 

This lecture is cosponsored with The Mercer Society with additional support from Houston Advanced Research Center and Kava King Products.

 

 

9/25/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - Tamu Massif, The World’s Biggest Volcano Is Hiding Beneath the Sea by William Sager

 

Tamu Massif, the world's largest volcano, was discovered in 2013 in the northwestern Pacific Ocean by a team of researchers lead by Dr. William Sager. Constructed from massive lava flows that emanated from the volcano’s center, Tamu Massif is comparable in size to the largest known volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons on Mars. Dr. Sager will explain how he is unlocking the murky secrets of oceanic plateaus’ structure and how they erupt and evolve using multichannel seismic profiles and core samples from the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, and why this new data is important to you. Professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences at the University of Houston, Dr. William W. Sager leads research vessels to see to collect geological data. 

6/24/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - The Bayeux Tapestry: The Story-Telling Textile of the Norman Conquest by Pam Holland

 

An embroidered textile 230 feet long, the Bayeux Tapestry recounts the story of the conquest of England by the Normans in 1066. Professional quilter Pam Holland of Australia has nearly completed a full-scale quilted replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. In the process of her work and research, she has become one of the leading experts on the original piece which is on display in Normandy, France. The replica quilted panel on display in the Magna Carta exhibition is an example of Holland’s work. 

 

The Museum's Magna Carta programs are sponsored by the British Council.

7/22/2014
6:30 PM
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Lecture - The First Big Trip - Are We There Yet? Africa and the Human Journey by John Kappelman

 

When modern humans left Africa about 50,000 years ago and populated the rest of the planet, they were already sophisticated hunters and gatherers, able to adapt to a wide range of habitats. Examine the evidence to better understand this pivotal journey in evolution. John Kappelman, is professor of anthropology at University of Texas, Austin.

 

This lecture is cosponsored by Archaeology Institute of America – Houston Society.

5/13/2014
6:30 PM
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