Street Address
One Hermann Circle Drive
Houston, TX 77030
Mailing Address
One Hermann Circle Drive
Houston, TX 77030
phone: 713-639-4600
fax: 713-523-4125
Truett Latimer, President/CEO
phone: 713-639-4660
Carolyn Sumners, Director, Astronomy & Physics
phone: 713-639-4632
Laural Ladwig, Planetarium Manager
phone: 713-639-4737
Nancy Greig, Director , Butterfly Center
phone: 713-639-4678
Daniel Brooks, Curator, Verteberate Zoology
phone: 713-639-4776
Lisa Rebori, Collection Manager/Registrar
phone: 713-639-4670
Dirk Van Tuerenhout, Curator, Anthropology
phone: 713-639-4674
Joel Bartsch, Curator, Gems & Minerals
phone: 713-639-4673
John Wise, Curator, Malacology
phone: 713-639-4677


Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) in Houston, TX is one of more than 15,400 museums in the MuseumsUSA directory. Find an exciting museum to visit where you live or vacation today.


The Houston Museum and Scientific Society, Inc. was organized in 1909 to establish and maintain a free institution for the people for education and science. The core of the permanent collection was acquired between 1914 and 1930. Initially displayed in the City Auditorium and public library, the collection moved to the Houston Zoo in 1929. In 1947, the first museum education program was initiated. Land was acquired in Hermann Park in 1959 for a permanent facility to accommodate the expanding collection and growing audience. Shortly thereafter, the name of the corporation was changed to its present title, The Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Through a series of building campaigns, the museum has steadily expanded its facilities. Museum attendance totaled 2.million in 1999, and membership has grown to more than 28,000 households. The museum comprises a permanent collection of over 1.5 million objects and specimens. The museum receives no direct state or federal support and receives less than 1% of its operating funds from the City of Houston. In 1999, the museum earned 87% of its $15 million operating budget from admissions and retail operations.

Artifacts Collections

Vertebrate collection: Herpetological specimens from Africa; birds from Africa; mammal skulls, skins, and skeletons from east Africa; The collection also includes taxidermy specimens of bears, lions, mountain gorilla, zebra, impala, coyotes, and birds. Some of these may be available for long-term loan.

Gems and minerals: 4,500 specimens from locations worldwide. The collection was formed primarily for exhibition. The 1,500 display-quality specimens include duplicates that may be available for long-term loan.

Anthropology collection: 60,000 objects from Africa (including Egypt), Oceania, Japan, and the Americas. Collection strengths are in objects from the North American Plains and Southwest, and pre-Columbian and folk art pieces from Latin America. Subject to conditions, most objects are available for loan.

Malacology collection: 1,000,000 dry specimens, 40% of which are from the Gulf of Mexico. The collection is comprised of marine, freshwater, and land mollusks.

Entomology collection: 500,000 specimens (predominantly beetles, moths, and butterflies)

Paleontology collection: Three major areas: fossil plants (approximately 450 catalogued specimens): fossil invertebrates (approximately 700 catalogued specimens); fossil vertebrates (approximately 1,100 catalogued specimens). A large (>100,000 specimen) collection of fossil invertebrates is currently being identified and inventoried.

HMNS also has collection items in the following areas: history and technology, astronomy, and botany.

Research Collections

Archives of the museum's history are available to researchers by appointment only. Schedule appointments at least one week in advance of actual visit.

Educational Programs

Educational workshops/programs,Docent programs,Lectures,Adult workshops Regional and national travel,International travel,Hands-on activities,Classes Summer School,Family programs.

HMNS offers a wide array of formal and informal educational programs that emphasize hands-on study of natural science. Programs are offered on a variety of topics that range from chemistry to physiology, solar energy to butterflies, and dinosaurs to Native Americans. HMNS has developed a number of programs in which children learn the tenets of science through the hands-on construction a crystal radio, solar powered car, gliders, or a bat house. The Challenger Learning Center simulates the experiences of an astronaut on a 21st-century space station. The education department has developed some general materials relating to science and specific exhibitions that could be of use to other museums. Contact the Director of Education for more information.


    Museum News (bi-monthly members newsletter) Dashing Diplodocus (monthly volunteer newsletter) Science X-Plorations (three times annually Education Department publication) Teacher s Guides to various exhibits Minerals of the Houston Museum of Natural Science Call to the Sky: The Decoy Collection of Dr. John McCleery The World of Fabergé: Russian Gems and Jewels Dialogues with Zuni Potters Other (published in association with Rice University Press) Birds of Houston Wildflowers of Houston