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    Magic: The Science of Wonder

    Presented by at Houston Museum of Natural Science

    February 26 - September 6, 2010

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    Magic: The Science of Wonder

    The Houston Museum of Natural Science presents Magic: The Science of Wonder, February 26 – September 6, 2010.

    Magic—illusory feats of wonder that dazzle the eye and confound expectations—has fascinated humanity for centuries. Mesmerized by the masters of illusion who perform this mysterious craft, we’re drawn to the spectacle, curious to discover "How did he do that?" Though their methods are enshrouded in secrecy, magicians combine the art of performance with a variety of scientific disciplines, including math, physics and psychology, to create their dazzling effects and fascinating illusions.

    With a touch of hocus-pocus and a dash of abracadabra, the Houston Museum of Natural Science pulls a spectacular new exhibition out of its hat—Magic: The Science of Wonder, opening Friday, February 26, 2010. The extraordinary show examines how science and magic are intertwined, tapping into our universal desire to know "How does that work?" Magic is the perfect subject to inspire people of all ages—especially kids—to learn about the science behind the magic, and the world around them.

    Presenting an array of artifacts connected with legendary performers of the past and present, the exhibition will also feature film and video clips of famous magicians, as well as guest illusionists performing live. At the "University of Magic" inside the exhibition, visitors will have the opportunity to learn a magic trick of their own.

    Among the many intriguing artifacts to be featured are torches for fire eating; magic lanterns and automatons; Harry Houdini's trademark milk can and water escape trunk; Harry Blackstone's "Zig Zag Girl" prop; Mike Caveney’s linking coat hangers; and items from the acts of Doug Henning, Penn & Teller, and other superstars of magic.

    Walk Through the Exhibition

    As visitors enter Magic, they will immediately pause at the impressive sight of a giant keyhole, which creates a feeling of ‘peering in’ to a secret room. At the end of the corridor, the ornate stone bust of a beautiful woman, modeled after Adelaide Herrmann, one of the feminine figures of magic history, stands seven feet tall. The eyes of the statue are closed, but her spirit draws visitors just the same.

    Walking through the eccentric hallway that leads within, a glance from side to side reveals translucent walls and images of 22 well known magicians, such as Robert-Houdin, Harry Houdini, Blackstone, Dai Vernon and many other legends.

    Then, travel through the history of magic. Learn how this mystical art began; meet famous magicians who transformed the art from the earliest recorded illusions, dated back to the first century A.D., to the present day, and find out how popular writers such as Chaucer and Rabelais used the colorful metaphor of the magician in their works.

    Marvel at sensational relics used to ‘wow’ audiences – like the mysterious rapping hand illusion; a flea circus; and cups and balls—the earliest recorded illusion, this classic deception, in which the magician makes three small balls vanish and appear under three cups, is now known throughout the world.

    Enter the Hall of Principles and discover different principles of magic (click to play video) through visual illustrations: appearance; disappearance; restoration; penetration; suspension; levitation; transformation; and transposition.

    Then, discover the Women of Magic. See photographs, posters and props used by past performers, followed by contemporary women Magicians including Tina Lenert, who combines mime, story and magic to create her award-winning act.

    Next, experience an all-new illusion by entering a life-size replica of Alexander Herrmann’s private train car, created especially for this exhibition. Known as Hermann the Great, Alexander traveled from one magical performance to the next by train with his wife, Adelaide; this powerful illusion —where visitors experience something akin to a séance led by the spirit of Adelaide Herrmann herself —is designed for only the bravest visitors.

    Finally, enter a live theater, built from the ground up especially for this exhibition. At just under 100 seats, the theater’s ornate proscenium and red velvet curtain create a feeling of intimacy for visitors’ live encounter with one of our many award-winning Magicians.

    Many, many other surprises are in store. The Houston Museum of Natural Science invites you to step out of everyday life and into a world where amazement lies around every corner.

    Magic: The Science of Wonder, developed by the Houston Museum of Natural Science in partnership with Movies From The Heart, is generously supported by Weatherford International Ltd. and HMW Entertainment.

    Magic: The Science of Wonder runs from Feb. 26 through Sept. 6, 2010. Tickets may be purchased online, which is recommended due to the expected popularity of this exhibit. For more information, visit the museum’s web site at

    The Houston Museum of Natural Science—one of the nation’s most-heavily attended museums—is a centerpiece of the Houston Museum District. With four floors of permanent exhibit halls, including the Wortham IMAX® Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Burke Baker Planetarium and George Observatory and as host to world-class and ever-changing touring exhibitions, the Houston Museum has something to delight every age group. With such diverse and extraordinary offerings, a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, located at One Hermann Circle Drive in the heart of the Museum District, is always an adventure.

    Houston Museum of Natural Science

    5555 Hermann Park Drive
    Houston, TX 77030

    Full map and directions

    Admission Info:

    Ticket prices are $27 for adults, $22 for children and seniors and TBD for museum members.

    General Day and Time Info:

    Monday & Wednesday - Sunday
    9 am - 6 pm
    (last entry at 5 pm)

    9 am - 8 pm
    (last entry at 7 pm)

    Phone: (713) 639-4629


    Parking is available in our 6-story garage located on Caroline, just south of Hermann Drive. Parking is just $5 for museum patrons and $7 for all others. In addition, some curbside parking is available near the Museum entrance and in Hermann Park.

    Accessibility Information: Currently, no accessibility information is available for this event.

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    • Event Name: Magic: The Science of Wonder
      "Magic ... Underwhelmed...."
      Comment posted by: Michael D. from Houston, Jun 14, 2010

      Had I known that the exhibit was a journey through the props and evolution of magic, I would have spent my money elsewhere at the Museum. I was under the impression that the 'how' of the magic would... Expand

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