The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy—The Exhibition at the Houston Museum of Natural Science

HOUSTON— The Houston Museum of Natural Science welcomes visitors to the world of Frodo, Sam and the rest of the Fellowship to Houston at 12:01 a.m. on June 4, 2005 with The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy—The Exhibition. This exhibit takes visitors behind-the-scenes of the Academy Award-winning films and opens up the world of Middle-earth for exploration.

This groundbreaking exhibition brings the fascinating world of movie making to life through hundreds of pieces of memorabilia from the epic film trilogy, including original costumes and jewelry, as well the central icon of all three films—The One Ring. A variety of hands-on interactive activities provide the opportunity to explore new technology, creating a completely unique experience.

“The Lord of the Rings films combine science and engineering with creativity and imagination,” said Joel A. Bartsch, president of the Houston Museum of Natural Science. “The films have so many fans, but even those that are unfamiliar with the trilogy will be fascinated by how such a rich fantasy world was created with real-world science.”

Through the props actually used in the trilogy, visitors can explore innovative techniques used in the films, such as computer-generated special effects and animatronics. Exclusive interviews with cast, crew and the director are shown in videos playing throughout the exhibit.

“The films in the trilogy were award-winning blockbusters,” said Carolyn Sumners, Ed.D., spokesperson for the exhibit and director of astronomy and the physical sciences at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. “With such a fabulous story, The Lord of the Rings entertains, but it also has the ability to engage the imagination and educate the mind. The exhibit is fascinating and the science is sensational.”

An interactive scaling activity reveals how filmmakers can make the actors appear to be Hobbit-sized or wizard-sized using an ingenious mix of trick photography, forced perspectives and props of different scales. Visitors can even see themselves transformed as Hobbit- or Wizard-sized in their own photo that will be available for purchase.

Witness special effects demonstrations, including the combination of real and digital action, and computer-generated-image technology (CGI). Examine film props up close, including a display of Hobbit hands and feet; other prosthetics that transformed the actors; and weapons belonging to Arwen, Gandalf, Frodo and Aragorn. Marvel at the amazing artistry of costumes like Arwen’s riding attire, Galadriel’s stunning dress and Gandalf’s robes, all one-of-a-kind.

Additional interactive components, developed by the Museum of Science in Boston, enhance the experience of every visitor. A motion capture exhibit allows film enthusiasts to step in front of a camera and watch as a computer translates their movement with a foam sword and shield into digital action on a nearby screen. A scaling line-up uses an ultrasonic sensor to detect whether visitors would be a diminutive Hobbit or a towering Dwarf, based on height. A 3-D scanner records the contours of participants’ faces and displays the resulting wireframe animation instantly on a screen in front of them. Outside the scanning booth, they can manipulate the image using special effects technology to discover how they would look as a giant stone colossus.

Houston Museum of Natural Science interpreters will be available throughout The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy—The Exhibition to answer questions, engage visitors in hands-on activities and offer additional insight into the trilogy’s behind-the-scenes science and technology.

Developed and presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in partnership with New Line Cinema. This exhibition was made possible through the support of the New Zealand Government.

© 2005 New Line Productions, Inc.; The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, The Return of the King and the characters, events, items and places therein, are the Trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company, d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises, under license to New Line Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Local support for the exhibit is provided by Time Warner Cable and The Examiner Newspapers.

Tickets for the special exhibition are $17.50 for adults; $14.50 for children (3 – 11) and seniors (62+); $9.50 Museum Members; and $13.50 for groups of 20 or more. For tickets, or more information, visit or call 713-639-4629. Information in Spanish is available at 713-639-4603.

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.

More Information:
(713) 639-4629