Category Archives: Do

Exhibition in Collaboration with AAM Offers Unique Perspective


Beginning this weekend, Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston presents an exhibition from the permanent collection of the Museum of Broken Relationships. In collaboration with the 2011 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™ in Houston, the exhibition will feature detritus from failed relationships — be it a wedding dress, an “I Love You” teddy bear, or a set of fluffy handcuffs — donated to the museum by people from around the world. Objects from the permanent collection will be on view alongside ephemera offered by Houstonians and AAM attendees looking to exhibit their own love legacy; as a reminder, AAM attendees will be able to drop off their object on Sunday, May 22 between 9 am and 5 pm at the AAM 2011 Annual Meeting Volunteer Office in the George R. Brown Convention Center (Room 340AB).For those of you in Houston TONIGHT, Blaffer Art Museum invites the public to an opening reception in celebration of the exhibition. It will take place today, Friday, May 20, from 6 until 9 pm. Admission is free and complimentary cocktails will be provided.  If you plan on attending the opening reception, let Blaffer know on Facebook! But if you’re not in town until after AAM begins, be sure to catch a ride on a free bus tour that departs to Blaffer from Exhibit Hall E in front of the Convention Center at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, May 24.Conceptualized in Zagreb, Croatia, by Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic, after the couple ended their own romantic relationship in 2006, the Museum of Broken Relationships was established by the two to create a space of protected remembrance where the material and nonmaterial heritage of broken relationships can be witnessed, and where these experiences can move beyond the individual into a universal understanding.

–Jeff Bowen, Blaffer Art Museum; member of the AAM 2011 Public Relations & Marketing Subcommittee


The P.O.D.A Project Has Arrived!

The opening reception for the P.O.D.A. Project kicked off tonight at Discovery Green. Hundreds ascended on the park for a rockin’ party, complete with St. Arnold suds and Fusion Taco treats.  The eight PODS containers were a huge hit!  We can’t wait for AAM attendees to get to Houston so they too can enjoy this amazing public art exhibit, as well as all the other fun things happening in the park during the conference. 
Below are some photos taken during tonight’s opening reception by Local Host Committee member, Kim Davenport, the director of Rice Univeristy Art Gallery. Thanks for sharing these with us, Kim!

 –Monica Rhodes, AAM 2011 Local Conference Coordinator

Science and History Buffs, Listen Up!

Houston is home to many world-renowned art venues, but did you know that there are tons of science and history museums in town, too?  While I am a little biased about my own science and history museum – The John C. Freeman Weather Museum in the Houston Museum District – I know that there are many others also worth exploring.

I recently came across a great resource – and saw their picks for the Top 10 Science and History Museums in Houston, which included George Ranch Historical Park, Houston Fire Museum, Museum of Printing History, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Space Center Houston, Children’s Museum of Houston, John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science, Holocaust Museum Houston, Heritage Society and The Forbidden Gardens (which recently closed down).

What’s so special about these venues, you might ask? How did they make the top 10?  Well, it was no surprise to me to see some museums on the list; the ones that I’ve been fortunate enough to visit absolutely stand out in my mind as quite deserving of the recognition.  However, there are many on the list that I haven’t been to (even though I’ve lived in Houston for five years, I must admit, I haven’t made a lot of time to explore. I work a lot! What can I say?!?)

I did a little research and it didn’t take me long to figure out why all these places made the cut. I definitely need to get on the ball and check them out. And I encourage all my museum friends – from Houston and beyond – to visit them soon.

Here’s what I learned….

George Ranch Historical Park

George Ranch Historical Park

At George Ranch Historical Park, visitors can get a feel for present-day Texas and trace the state’s history through the homes and lives of the Jones family. A living history park with costumed characters and real hay rides! I’m not a native Texan, so I can’t think of a better place for me to learn more about my new state.  I pulled my boots out of the closet and have them ready to go to the George Ranch for the evening event they are hosting during AAM, complete with a big BBQ dinner with all the fixings, singing cowboys and a campfire sing along. Yeehaw! (isn’t that what Texans say?! Haha!)

The Houston Fire Museum explores firefighting in the city from its earliest days and displays vintage equipment which ranges from antique helmets to a 1938 REO salvage truck that kids can climb on.  I know a fewHouston firefighters myself, so it’ll be a real honor to pay tribute to them and their courageous calling by visiting the Houston Fire Museum.

Houstonians and visitors from around the world can learn about the diverse history of the Houstonregion by visiting The Heritage Society, a museum complex located at Sam Houston Park. I’ve seen their beautiful buildings set against the backdrop of the Houston downtown skyline. Quite picturesque! They too are hosting an evening event during AAM that is sure to delight!  Where else will you be able to feast on “armadillo eggs”?!

The Museum of Printing History not only displays ancient and modern printing tools but also lets visitors participate in the process.  And – they have a sheet from the Gutenberg Bible from 1455 and colonial documents, including a Pennsylvania Gazette printed by Ben Franklin in 1765, which I am very curious to see so that I can get a taste of home. I hail fromPhiladelphia, ya know.

Holocaust Museum Houston

Holocaust Museum Houston

While at the Holocaust Museum Houston, which is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and teaching the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy, guests can trace the persecution of Jews and other minorities in 20th-century Europe through photographs, films and text.  This museum is just down the street from The Weather Museum, so I can walk there, pick up a COEXIST bumper sticker for my car and do my part to Stop Hate, Starting Here.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

Houston Museum of Natural Science

From dancing under the dinosaurs to the exciting IMAX shows to star gazing in the planetarium to the eye catching bling in the gem vault — there’s something for everyone at Houston Museum of Natural Science. And it’s about to get bigger! HMNS is expanding. In the Summer of 2012, the Museum is opening its new two story, football field sized Paleontology Hall, and adding over 15,000 square feet of combined exhibition, education and classroom space.  Between now and then, though, there’s still a lot to explore and learn. In the Wiess Energy Hall, I learned that one barrel of crude oil produces 19.9 gallons of finished motor gasoline. In the Earth Forum, I saw firsthand how the wind shapes and reshapes dunes and witnessed the formation of a cloud using cool air and water vapor. The meteorologist in me LOVED that! I can’t wait to go back!

Voted America’s No. 1 Best Children’s Museum by Parents magazine, the Children’s Museum of Houston is truly a playground for your mind, offering a multitude of exhibits bursting with action-packed fun that engage kids in the ultimate learning experience.  I wish there was a museum like this in Philly when I was growing up! I am a kid at heart, so I need to borrow some of my friends’ kiddos (Jess, Jaleigh, Sarah, Scarlett or Maverick, are you ready?!?!) soon for a trip to CMH. (All my nieces and nephews live in New Jersey and Philadelphia so I can’t take them.) We can start in Kidtropolis, the city for kids, run by kids (this is my chance to run for mayor!) and then solve brain teasers in Think Tank. And the day won’t be complete without making a splash in FlowWorks and coming up with the next big idea at the “Inventors Workshop” in Invention Convention.  Should I apply for a patent now?!?

Another interactive museum experience awaits at The Health Museum, right next door to the Children’s Museum. This museum is ALL ABOUT YOU!  Walk through the human body (can you say “22-foot-long backbone?!?!) in the Amazing Body Pavilion and tickle the vocal cords and keep your eye on the eyeball. Then, picture yourself as another gender or ethnicity and see what you might look like in 30 years in You: The Exhibit. Plus, you can catch a whiff of the McGovern Theater,Houston’s only 4-D experience!

Space Center Houston

Space Center Houston

This being Space City and all, it’s only natural for our city to be home to out-of-this-world adventures at Space Center Houston (SCH).  SCH is the only place in the world where visitors can see astronauts train for missions, touch a real moon rock, land a shuttle and take a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA.

AAM attendees, are you ready to explore these exceptional institutions?

Houstonians, what local science and history museums make your top 10 list?

–Maureen Maiuri, Executive Director, The John C. Freeman Weather Museum;
Hospitality Information Event Task Force Co-Chair; Hospitality Subcommittee member

Check out Houston’s Art Galleries!

We know Houston has a plethora of very exciting and diverse museums, covering a range of subjects from art, history, science and beyond. We can’t wait for AAMers to arrive so that we can show off our great city and fantastic museum community.

In addition, we are excited to showcase our splendid art gallery scene.  For those that weren’t aware, Houston is home to a wide array of outstanding art. From emerging to internationally acclaimed artists, fine art photography to ceramics, whatever your preference, chances are you’ll find it in Houston’s galleries.

In preparation for the American Association of Museums 2011 Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo™, the Local Host Committee has gone the extra mile to reach out to many of Houston’s galleries to ensure that they know about AAM coming to Houston so that they are prepared to be open (and exhibiting) for the duration of the conference.

Participating galleries will be listed in a handout that will be made available in the Hospitality Lounge for all attendees. The Hospitality Lounge serves as our distribution center for information on Houston area hot spots and must see and dos.

Houston Art Galleries – if you haven’t heard from us or a member of our art gallery outreach task force about our efforts and would like to participate, please send a message, along with details of your plans and hours to by May 6.  If you have any questions, please call Albert at 713.353.1570.

AAM Attendees – We encourage you to venture out and see all that Houston has to offer!  After all, May is HOUSTON ARTS MONTH!  Pick up the list of art galleries (many that are holding special hours just for you!) in the Hospitality Lounge located on the 3rd floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center and set sail. 

If you are going to be in town on Saturday, May 21, from 4 – 8 pm, a group of art gallery owners are hosting a special FREE tour of some of Houston’s hottest gallery spots. More details regarding this tour are still to come and will be made available later this week on this blog. In the meantime, feel free to RSVP for the tour by emailing Space is limited, so please act soon!

–Albert Sanchez, AAM Houston 2011 Conference Intern

AAM Attendees and Houstonians, Come on Down to Discovery Green!

Discovery Green park is the “front yard” for the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Hilton Americas Houston hotel. That’s why the AAM 2011 Local Host Committee has planned a slate full of activities and programs during the 2011 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™, especially for AAM attendees and the local community. From engaging performances during the lunch hour and early evening, to a special exhibition created especially for AAM 2011, there’s never a lack of fun happening at Discovery Green! For more information, visit the Houston Hospitality Lounge in the George R. Brown Convention Center during the conference or go to

Art Car Parade Sneak Peek
Saturday, May 21
6 – 10 pm
Twas the night before the parade and all through the park, the art cars were glowing and I saw a spark…
Celebrate Houston’s Art Car Culture! Get your first look at the new cars for 2011 (including the Houston Area Museums Art Car!) and see some old favorites from years past. Enjoy live music with illuminated Art Cars and entertainment throughout the park. This is a great opportunity to enjoy the cars if you can’t go to the parade on Sunday. And, if you are going to the parade, come check out the cars in the dark! They are pretty cool when they are all lit up!

The Portable On Demand Arts (PODA) Project
Be one of the first to see a unique public art exhibition in Houston designed especially for AAM!

Sponsored by the American Association of Museums 2011 Local Host Committee in partnership with PODS Houston, the City of Houston and Houston Arts Alliance, the PODA Project is a temporary public art exhibition on display at Discovery Green featuring the work of Aerosol Warfare, Box 13 ArtSpace, Jillian Conrad, Lynne McCabe, Gabriel Martinez, Metalab, Anthony Shumate and The Joanna. Each artist or collective of artists will uniquely transform a PODS® container into a work of art.

Created in conjunction with the 2011 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™, and responding to the futuristic theme of the conference– the Museum of Tomorrow – the PODA Project provides a non-traditional platform for artists to explore the cultural, ecological, political, scientific and socio-economic forces shaping Houston’s aspirations for the future, and showcase the city as a vibrant arts and cultural capital and museum mecca for locals and visitors alike.

This traveling exhibition will debut at Discovery Green May 18 – June 5, 2011, before touring a series of locations (TBA) throughout the greater Houston region.

Celebrate Houston Arts
The Houston Arts Alliance and Discovery Green have teamed up to present an array of performances and activities while AAM is in town, showcasing the best of Houston’s performing and visual arts.

Sunday, May 22, 8 pm
The Aurora Picture Show and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston present Space, Land and Time: Underground Adventures with Ant Farm, a film directed by Laura Harrison and Elizabeth Federici (USA, 2010, 78 min.) that is the first independent video documentary to delve into the work of the renegade 1970s art/architecture collective Ant Farm, best known for its iconic land-art piece Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. Radical architects, video pioneers and mordantly funny cultural commentators, the Ant Farmers created a body of deeply subversive work that questioned everything by posing a set of creative and comedic alternative. The filmmakers will be in attendance and will host a Q&A session with attendees following the film.

Monday & Tuesday, May 23 & 24
12 – 2 pm AND 6 – 8 pm
Houston Arts Alliance Folklife and Traditional Arts Program presents Local Roots/Global Culture, showcasing the city’s diverse performing arts traditions from Creole to Carnatic music, from Highlife to hard core Honky Tonk.

Fitness in the Park
Discovery Green offers a regular series of free exercise and movement classes for the community. While AAM is in town, here’s what’s on the schedule:

Saturday, May 21
                930 – 1030 am:                  Slow Flow Yoga
                11 am – 1 pm:                       Strictly Street Salsa
Sunday, May 22
                1030 – 1130 am:                Discovery Hoop Dance (hula hoops!)
Monday, May 23
                630 – 730 pm:                    Bum-ba before you Zumba
Tuesday, May 24
                630 – 730 pm:                    Joyful Yoga
Wednesday, May 25
                630 – 730 pm:                    Zumba

Other Fun Activities in the Park

Sunday, May 22 (every Sunday)
12 – 4 pm
Urban Harvest Farmers Market and Craft Beer Garden

Wednesday, May 25 (every Wednesday)
12 – 130 pm
Weekly Blues & Burgers Series, featuring Rue Davis, “the Man with Many Voices.” Pick up a bite to eat at the park’s Lake House Café and enjoy this blues music lunchtime outdoor concert

–Susanne Theis, Discovery Green

Discovery Cart Zone

What will the Museum of Tomorrow be like? One thing is for certain, it will continue to be an exceptional educational resource, proving visitors with unique hands on activities and learning opportunities and doing whatever it takes to reach and teach its visitors. 

Get a taste of Houston’s Museums of Tomorrow at the DISCOVERY CART ZONE at the George R. Brown Convention Center during the American Association of Museums 2011 Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo, in Houston May 22-25.  While AAM Annual Meeting attendees are encouraged to go out into the city and explore Houston’s plethora of amazing museums, we are also excited to be bringing the museums to the convention center.

In Los Angeles, during the 2010 AAM Annual Meeting, museums like the Aquarium of the Pacific, the California Science Center, the J. Paul Getty Museum and Kidspace lead activities such as cave painting, creating art in the ancient world, kelp dissection and slime making, and demonstrated exciting technologies such as the multitouch table for interactive mapping, and the Magic Planet digital globe. 2010 was the first year for AAM to host these learning stations and activities at the conference, and Houston is looking forward to an exciting second year!

Houston museums – if you are interested in being a part of the Houston DISCOVERY CART ZONE at the GRB, contact before February 22, 2011.  Please advise regarding your museums availability and every effort to accommodate your schedule will be made. Please note – a table will be provided for each participating museum; otherwise, museums are responsible for bringing all their materials (enough for 100-200 guests) and staff for the duration of their assigned shift.

Attendees – let us know what Houston museum you would like to see in the Discovery Cart Zone! What suggestions for hands on activities do you have?

Monica Rhodes
Local Conference Coordinator
2011 American Association of Museums Annual Meeting
May 22 – 25, 2011   *   Houston, Texas

Jim Parsons – My Houston

Houston’s museum community is looking forward to the AAM Annual Meeting in Houston!