THE NATION'S FIRST WEATHER MUSEUM
After more than twenty years delighting more than two million participants, the Nationís First Weather Museum, has expanded . . . into the clouds and across greater Houston.
The John C. Freeman Weather Museum, named for the father of longtime president/founder, Jill Hasling, has been a mainstay in Houstonís cultural arena. The museum has now closed in the Museum District but is currently dispersed among nine cultural and educational organizations across greater Houston and beyond. The Weather Museum was run as a project of Houstonís Weather Research Center which will continue offering its core educational initiatives: ongoing training of emerging meteorologists, and educational outreach/workshops on weather science and safety.
The concept of a Weather Museum was a new one in 1993, and was born out of Ms. Haslingís passion to share her excitement for meteorology, science education, and weather history. The idea caught on easily. Tourists from all fifty states and more than 27 countries, visited the museum at its home in Houstonís Museum District.
The Weather Museumís ambition to make our community weatherwise was realized with the support of many Houston corporations, foundations, and volunteer weather enthusiasts. Serving a steady array of area students, families, and teachers, the Weather Museum excelled in experiential learning, with interactive exhibitions on hurricanes, flooding, and forecasting. In fact, the museumís innovative organizational model included training emerging meteorologists as forecasters while expanding their abilities as informal educators in the museumís galleries.
A consistent supporter of the Weather Museum, the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), coupled with key funders and sponsors like State Farm Insurance, Shell Oil, BP, KHOU-TV, Weatherford, and ExxonMobil, ensured that the museum captured the interest of thousands of students interested in meteorology and weather safety.
Jonathon Glus, CEO of Houston Arts Alliance remarked, ďAlthough weíll miss them, the closing of the Weather Museum is not a sad occurrence, itís really a kind of victory. Their mission was so popular and so important that itís now been taken up by a great variety of Houston organizations.Ē
Interactive exhibitions, historical weather equipment, and educational weather lessons are now shared with a wide assortment of Houston area organizations. Notably, several hands-on weather exhibitions will soon be utilized by the Galveston County Museum/Galveston Historical Commission, where the topical fit of hurricanes and weather history are a perfect fit. Galveston Museum educator Sandra Siddall noted, ďWeíre excited about the endless possibilities presented by the receipt of John C. Freeman Weather Museumís collections. Not only will many of the items make a marvelous addition to our collection of historical artifacts, but the weather education possibilities for the schools and the public are phenomenal. Iím eager to start local weather history and safety presentations for various venues.Ē
The WaterWorks Educational Center, educating thousands of Houston students each year, will also benefit from select interactive exhibitions. Other popular objects and exhibits will soon be available at the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum, Lone Star Aviation Museum, and Houston Maritime Museum. Proudly, the Museumís historic weather archives (including Isaac Clinesí working papers and the City of Houston Weather Records) are now safely cared for by the Rosenberg Library and Harris County Archives.
The vast majority of the collections and archives will be kept locally. As Jill Hasling says, ďOur Board of Directors was determined to see that our exhibits and collections remain in Greater Houston and in the end just one item was sent out of state.Ē The National Weather Service Museum and Science Center in Norman, Oklahoma will receive Dr. Edwin Kesslerís prototype 1000-S Wind Generator, an item with a direct Oklahoma connection.
The Weather Museum was funded by a grant from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.
THE WEATHER MUSEUM HAS CLOSED
No Single Building Could Contain the Weather Museum!