29 September 2016

No. 86: Another Museum

NO. 86: Another Day, Another Museum

Another Museum Visit:

A few weeks ago I spent the day at the Houston Museum of Natural Science with friend Martha.
O my.
When the kids were little, we went there all the time. Even before kids, back in the day, when I was in high school I would go for a Saturday, a summer day, even a date.   But it has been a while. A long while. Once the kids got big enough to drive themselves places, I couldn't con them into going places with me. Which means I haven't been to the science museum in a bit. (Or the beach. Sigh.)

So Martha and I got up bright and early and headed to the museum district.
And hey!
They have remodeled. A LOT.

My favorite place I didn't explore enough?
The Cabinet of Curiosities.
We walked through in search of the stairs and I was overwhelmed, amazed, excited, curious. And every other verb you can think of.
An alligator on the ceiling?!  Next to a zebra skin? Surrounded by shells?
This is the kind of sensory overload that enchants me.

O goodness. Such a blurry pic. 
We were rushing in hopes of coming back through later.

 Our main destination was the La Virgen de Guadalupe: Empress of the Americas exhibit. 

The Shrine in Mexico City

The story goes, the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec that had converted to Christianity, in 1531 on a hill in what is now a suburb of Mexico City.  She requested that a shrine be built on the site where she appeared. Of course, Juan Diego had a bit of trouble convincing the bishop that he had seen the actual Virgin. A few more visits, a shroud that miraculously developed a picture of the Virgin and some roses in the dead of winter...the bishop got the point. And there has been a shrine there ever since. 

It's been a million years since I went to the Mexico City shrine so this was a nice refresher. The actual shroud did not travel to Houston. There was a lot of history and some reproductions along with some "inspired by" artwork.  Overall the exhibit was pretty thin.

The Museum of Natural Science's version 

After the Virgin, we headed back downstairs and got waylaid by the Hall of Ancient Egypt.  O my goodness. I love mummies. Room after room of wonderful artifacts from ancient Egypt.  Ever since I did a report on Tutankhamen in High School, I've been smitten. 

I've even had my own up close and personal experience with mummies.
Back in 1972 I spent a summer in San Miguel de Allende with my mom, Liddy and her mom. Nearby was Guanajuato where they had a collection of bodies that were naturally mummified after being interred in the 1880s. They had been dug up, stored and finally put on display. When we went the display area was accessed by going down a narrow circular staircase into the ground. Halfway down you could not see up or down. It was not for the claustrophobic. Once inside (and under ground) the mummies were in glass cases with no guards and no one to stop two teenage girls from sliding open the cases. 

 Adult mummies! 
Naked ones at that. 

And baby mummies.
All felled by a cholera epidemic. 

Visiting the mummies in Guanajuato is no longer as big an adventure. You walk in to a regular old museum through a regular old door. And no touching is allowed. 

Since they have taken all the fun out of it....you might as well just go to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to see dead bodies. At least the information cards will be in English. 

After Egypt we went back in time to the dinosaurs. 

So many bones! Carlos would have been in Heaven. 

My favorites were the trilobites.  Fossils of extinct marine arthropods, they have aways reminded me of giant doodle bugs

In Texas, this is a doodle bug. 
In reality, it's a Pill bug

This visit I realized some of them had some pretty impressive "feelers" too.

Unlike doodle  bugs which are maybe ¼" long, this baby was closer to 4 inches. 

 And how would you like to run into those feelers in the ocean? 

Or how about this crawling up your leg as you wave hop? 

But of course there were the giant dinosaurs and fossils, also. T- Rex, a wooly mammoth, and a triceratops roamed the Paleontology Hall. All manner of fossilized flora and fauna took up rooms of displays. Martha and I wandered for hours until hunger finally took over. 

A stop at Goode Company Taqueria kept me from getting "hangry" on the ride home. Sadly it doesn't qualify as a new restaurant for me - can't count it on No. 63- but it certainly fit the bill that Monday. 

And now. 
Now I can't wait to go back. Especially because I just noticed the HMNS now has a whole NEW exhibit devoted to ....wait for it....

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