All Exhibit Tours

As part of The Natural History Museum’s exhibition Mining the HMNS, on display at Project Row Houses in 2016, the NHM developed a series of pepper’s ghost hologram dioramas, featuring a docent tour of the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences (HMNS) and a toxic tour with communities living along the fenceline of Houston’s fossil fuel infrastructure.

This mini-diorama depicts a hologram of NHM’s Beka Economopoulos giving a tour of the HMNS.

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Is the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences a museum, or a PR front for the fossil fuel industry? This was the central question of “Mining the HMNS”, a 2016 exhibition by The Natural History Museum that interrogates the symbiotic relationship between the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences and its corporate sponsors.

In this video, NHM’s Beka Economopoulos offers a guided tour of this exhibition, which excavated key narratives and displays in the Houston museum, and highlighted the voices and stories that are excluded–those of the low-income predominantly Latino and African-American fence-line communities along the Houston Ship Channel.

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In the spring of 2015, shortly after launching our campaign urging museums to cut all ties to the fossil fuel industry, The Natural History Museum occupied the largest exhibitor space at the American Alliance of Museums annual convention in Atlanta. The AAM convention is the world’s largest gathering of museum professionals, with 7000 museum staff from 60 countries in attendance.

The Natural History Museum highlights the socio-political forces that shape nature, yet are excluded from traditional natural history museums. Our primary subject of study is the “fossil fuel ecosystem”, characterized by a complex set of interrelated feedback loops encompassing land, energy, politics, society, economics and culture.

At the AAM convention we turned our anthropological gaze on traditional science museums as ideological habitats within this ecosystem. We re-created installations from New York’s American Museum of Natural History, including previously excluded socio-political context about the museum’s board member and biggest sponsor, David H. Koch.

This video documents NHM co-founder Beka Economopoulos’s opening remarks at the Grand Opening of The Natural History Museum at the Queens Museum in September 2014. The museum’s launch was timed to coincide with the People’s Climate March, an historic march through the streets of New York City, with more than 400,000 people calling for climate justice.

We constructed a 1000 square foot tent inspired by infrastructure used in archeology expeditions and mobile disaster response scenarios. Custom-built plinths showcased taxidermic animal specimens, and 14 light boxes featured photographs taken at 5 natural history museums across the Eastern seaboard. The photographs depicted museum visitors engaging with dioramas and nature displays—functioning as a backdrop that reflected an anthropological perspective on museums and their exhibits.