While many children learn by performing hands-on tasks, school systems have yet to figure out how to incorporate gardens, imagination workshops, and towering aqueduct mazes into their budgets. With 90,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits, the Children's Museum of Houston, sparks creativity by allowing kids to explore 14 learning stations. Ranked No. 1 among the 10 best children's museums in the nation by Parents magazine, named one of the 12 best children's museums in the country by Forbes.com and one of the 10 best by USA TODAY, and voted Best Museum in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015
by the Houston A-List Poll, the museum has accrued a lot of praise. Exhibits include the interactive EcoStation, a solar-powered outdoor utopia with activities such as stream creation and leaf rubbing that inspire kids to think about environmental responsibility. At the Invention Convention workshop, kids can explore engineering possibilities with building blocks, propellers, and even basic robotics. The sprawling cityscape of Kidtropolis invites children to participate in a simulated economy. The experience requires them to earn paychecks, budget money on pretend debit cards, vote for political candidates, and learn how to obsessively check milk expiration dates at the onsite grocery store.
New to the museum exhibits, kids are invited to enlist in the Special Elite Crime Resolution and Espionage Team (aka S.E.C.R.E.T.) to crack codes, uncover clues and outsmart villains. S.E.C.R.E.T. is the Children’s Museum of Houston’s all-new interactive spy experience. This revolutionary experience is designed to take a child’s museum visit to the next level. Kids report to duty and are assigned to go on secret missions throughout the Museum. Using state-of-the-art technology, agents gear up to solve puzzles, discover hidden agendas and thwart the villains’ schemes.
The 14 massive purple-black murals by Russian-born American artist Mark Rothko that fill the cavernous space at Rothko Chapel don't just contribute to the building's name, but also to its nature. "Stepping back, waves of subtle color difference appear across the broad surfaces—leading to an unmistakable impression of physical depth," says NPR's Pat Dowell about staring into one of the colorful canvases. The experience is often a transformative one, creating within some viewers the sensation of gazing into infinity.
Commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil and designed with the input of Mark Rothko himself, Rothko Chapel was dedicated in 1971 as an independent, intimate non-denominational sanctuary. Since then, its renown has only grown; it now occupies a coveted spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Outside the Chapel, Broken Obelisk by Barnett Newman serves as a starkly elegant memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
And yet, for all of its inscrutable beauty, the chapel is also a place of action—a value echoed in the chapel's mission statement. Throughout the year, public programs including concerts, storytelling, lectures, and guided meditation tackle issues of injustice and human struggle. The Chapel serves as a place for a range of interfaith services for religious communities in search of space, hosting everything from holy days and spiritual celebrations to memorial services and wedding ceremonies.
Groupon Celebrates Pride Month
Over the last 50 years, the gay-rights movement in America has overcome tremendous obstacles to become a powerful voice for inclusion and diversity. Even as it has grown, the movement—like Groupon—is local at heart, and we applaud the commitment to real change that improves everyday lives.
At Groupon, we are happy to add our voices to those celebrating PRIDE, their achievements as a social movement and a continued march to equality for the LGBT community. Plus, we love a chance to dig that rainbow wig out of storage.
This month—and throughout the year—we salute our merchants and customers who support PRIDE and all efforts that promote dignity, respect, and equal opportunity. We're highlighting these merchants' deals with a special badge to show Groupon's pride in working with people who share our values.
Designed by award-winning architect Gunnar Birkerts, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston's stainless steel building safeguards a multitude of work designed to intellectual engage viewers and invoke complex reactions. The museum's two galleries, the Brown Foundation Gallery and the Zilkha Gallery, collectively host 8–10 free exhibitions every year.
The Brown Foundation spotlights work by internationally renowned artists and pieces organized around themes; past exhibits include a Kiki Smith survey and a showcase of performance art by black artists. The Zilkha, meanwhile, hosts the museum's Perspective Series, which gathers the work of emerging artists. The museum's Teen Council curates a biyearly edition of Perspectives, unveiling work by young, Houston-area artists that mine for deeper feelings than the normal teenage angst toward parents, teachers, and singing animatronic bears. The Teen Council also contributes to the museum's numerous programs, which include lectures and discussions for each show, as well as Musiqa concerts based on each Brown Foundation Gallery exhibition.
It might seem strange to see a Gutenberg Bible page pulled using mid-1400s technology, or
the Declaration of Independence being printed on an authentic 19th-century iron hand-press. At The Printing Museum, where local artists give live demonstrations of real, working artifacts, these sights are almost commonplace. In its mission to preserve and share the history of
written communication, the organization functions as part museum and part interactive classroom. A permanent collection highlights preserved prints and
gear from around the world—from ancient
Mesopotamian clay tablets to Civil War-era
newspapers. This collection even includes a display of equipment and documents belonging to Texas' first printer.
However, the museum's four galleries and
14,000 square feet of space aren't just reserved for
relics. Every year, staff curate 12 rotating exhibits that, in the past, have covered the work of
contemporary printmakers and photographers or explored the evolution of modern printing around the world. Meanwhile, an on-site print shop holds hands-on, all-ages workshops in typography,
paper-making, and other forms of print-based art.
Although black soldiers have served in every American war, they weren't formally included in the regular US Army until an act of Congress in 1866. Their regiments—the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry—became known as Buffalo Soldiers, a nickname originally conceived as a term of respect by the American Indians they often fiercely fought in battle. Eventually, the nickname came to be used for all black soldiers, even after the military was integrated and the units disbanded.
Located in Houston's Museum District, the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is the only museum in the nation primarily dedicated to preserving the legacy of African American soldiers, ranging from the Revolutionary War to the Persian Gulf War. Their rich history is too often forgotten when the stories of American conflicts are told. Former slaves and Civil War veterans joined the original regiments, and the soldiers served their country even while they weren't afforded equal rights. The museum features galleries of artifacts from various wartime eras, a historical reenactment, and preserved interviews with the last Buffalo Soldiers, who served in World War II.
Seven days a week, the Houston Museum of Natural Science cultivates knowledge with interactive exhibits that shuttle minds into such far-flung realms as tropical rainforests and outer space. Permanent exhibit halls house everything from the skeletons of brachiosauruses in the recently expanded Morian Hall of Paleontology to artifacts from ancient Egypt and the Americas.
Housed inside three stories of glass, the museum's Cockrell Butterfly Center habitat teems with more than 1,500 winged wonders from around the globe, which frolic around a 50-foot waterfall, and flutter through exotic plants. Visitors can also gaze skyward in the Burke Baker Planetarium, which casts more than 10 daily shows with curve-mirror projection technology. Eyes marvel at the planetarium's 30'x18' full-dome digital theater, capable of transporting families to the aurora borealis in the Arctic Circle or to the nougat-flavored center of a black hole.