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Doseum Exhibits, Tall Tales And Native American Arts: Your Weekend Is Here

Tent-like domes at the Doseum aim to recreate smells in our solar system.
Amada Miller
Tent-like domes at the Doseum aim to recreate smells in our solar system.

Tour two fascinating new exhibits at the Doseum. Listen to some really tall tales. And enjoy gorgeous Native American artwork. Your weekend is here, and there is plenty to do in the Alamo City!

First off, head to the Doseum where two new science-based exhibits have opened. Mark Menjivar's celebrates the birds.

Credit Mark Menjivar
Field Guide

"My is exhibit is called Birding the Doeseum, and it really is an invitation for people to come in and to look, listen and explore the lives of birds,” he said.

All through the Doseum pictures of native birds look down from the walls, and sounds of the various birdsongs play out from speakers. An entry-area display wall with a monitor plays a short welcoming video, and little booklets with pencils are there for those who want them. 

"People can grab a field guide when they come in and begin to explore and find those birds," Menjivar said.

The field guides help to identify the birds on the wall, but the science and fun interface doesn't end when kids head home.

Bird houses hang in the Doseum entryway as part of the "Birding" exhibit.
Credit Mark Menjivar
Bird houses hang in the Doseum entryway as part of the "Birding" exhibit.

"Children and families can take the field guide home with them and continue to explore the world around them," he said. 

Amada Miller's exhibit sniffs out a completely different angle. 

"My exhibit looks at five different places in our solar system,” she said. “It breaks down the basic chemical compounds that these places are made of and really tries to figure out what these places smell like." 

Yes, what they smell like. Her exhibit is in a large room with an entry through dark curtains opening up into a starscape — a dark room with starlike lights projected everywhere. Five lit, tent-like domes seem to invite kids to crawl in. Each represents a different celestial body, and each has a distinctive smell. The earth, the moon, a comet, an exploding star and a gas cloud are all featured. Closest is the Earth.

"So then we'll go to the moon where it smells like firecrackers, and then an exploding star, where it smells like barbecue," said Miller.

Yes, barbecue. And there are fascinating scientific reasons behind each smell.

IF YOU GO What: The Doseum Where: 2800 Broadway When: hours vary per day Cost:  $14

Credit San Antonio Story Tellers Association
Sue Kentz telling a story.

Then on Saturday, get ready for tall tales from the San Antonio Storyteller's Association, which Jane McDaniel said has a specific objective.

"To keep the ancient art of storytelling alive,” she said. 

She said her personal backstory pretty well dictated that she would become a storyteller, and one who appreciates hearing other peoples’ stories. 

"I come from Ireland where we still talk a lot. It gets dark in Ireland in the winter at about 4 o'clock. And so people visit each other," McDaniel said. 

Once a year they hold a special gathering of storytellers.

"It's called Tellebration. Happens on all the continents except Antarctica,” she said. She gave it a quick thought, then followed that with “...although they could do with some stories!"

She said this is what you can expect if you go.

"They can expect eight professional storytellers at our Tellebration, which will be this coming Saturday from 7 to nine o'clock. They can expect stories of adventure. Stories of love lost, stories of love regained,” she said. “There's magic in stories!" 

And McDaniel said there's good news for storytelling in the U.S.

"There's a very strong resurgence of storytelling here in the States."

IF YOU GO What: Tellebration Where: Friends Meeting House, 7052 N. Vandiver When: 7 p.m. Saturday Cost:  free

Then downtown on Saturday and Sunday it's the Briscoe Western Art Museum's Yanaguana Indian Arts Market.

"They'll sell everything from pottery, all handmade, beautiful jewelry, lots of beautiful turquoise, silver," the Briscoe’s Meredith Belzen said.

Those who haven’t been to this yearly event should know that it's more than just a sale of Native American arts.

"We also have fun activities and crafts for the kids, so if you want to come down and shop, we also have entertainment. Grammy-nominated band who will be playing," she said. 

That band is Santa Fe, New Mexico’s Innastate. Much of the festivities are in the McNutt Sculpture Garden, but Belzen noted the entire museum is open.

"It's a free community day and that does include admission to the museum, so it's three floors, galleries with our Alamo diorama, our Pancho Villa saddle, and our Santa Anna sword — you might want to come see that, too," she said.

A Native American dancer at a performance.
Credit Briscoe Western Art Museum
A Native American dancer at a performance.

If you've not yet made it down to the Briscoe, this is a great reason to visit.

“And we'll also have museum tours all day long that highlight some of the Native American work that's here in the museum,” she said. 

Native American blessings begin both days, and drum circles and food will be available at the museum that backs up to the River Walk downtown.  

IF YOU GO What: Yanaguana Indian Arts Market Where: Briscoe Western Art Museum When: 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday Cost:  free

Jack Morgan can be reached at Jack@TPR.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii