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CMNH Top 10: Orientation Quotes

Look no further for advice on perfume use, hair care and dental hygiene

Any workplace is going to generate some humorous quotes now and again, but when your workplace is a Children's Museum, your hilarious quote percentage increases exponentially. The most humorous exchanges tend to happen during our Group Visit orientations when we chat with the children and create an open question and answer dialogue that's intended to refresh chaperones and students on museum rules and fill them in on the activities and programs happening that day.

In honor of legendary late night television host David Letterman signing off for the final time this week, I present to you:

The Top Ten Kids' Quotes from this Week

(Yes - just this week.)


#10. "Why do you have a beard?"

This was in response to me asking, "Does anyone have any questions before we start exploring the museum?" To be fair, this kindergartener had a question and he certainly asked it.

"Just because," I answered, quickly seeing in his face what a disappointing answer this was for him.

"But . . . WHY?!" he protested.

I thought for a quick second. (A quick second is about all you can afford yourself when dealing with 40+ 5-year-olds eager to start identifying dinosaur bones.)

"Well, my wife would tell you it's because I'm lazy," I began, getting a laugh from the chaperones, "But I like it because I think it's super cool and it keeps my face warm when it's cold and windy outside."

He nodded his head in approval.


#9. "Can I call you Tall Boy?"

Holding the door open for a school group that just tumbled off the bus Wednesday morning, one of the children - who was between 4 and 5 years old - looked up at me in awe and asked the aformentioned question. To be fair, I'm quite tall at 6'5" and get remarks from full grown adults so I certainly expect it from children who are usually hovering between 3 and 4 feet tall. That said, "Tall Boy" certainly beats, "He must be the Castle Ogre", which a father told his daughter one day years ago when I was cleaning up the Pattern Palace exhibit.

Full disclosure: I told the young man that he could absolutely call me, "Tall Boy". He never did after that, but I think he was happy knowing that he had permission if the need arose.

Eau de Osprey Nest is what Children's Museum employees from Milan to Dover are wearing this year!

#8. "Why are you wearing so much perfume?"

A first grader visiting from out of state asked me this question earlier this week. It's a good question. It's a really good question. I appreciate that she wouldn't be bothered with the thought of me - a very (as we've covered) tall, bearded man - wearing perfume, but the sheer overuse of the flowery scent is what clearly upset her. It should be stated that she asked these words with a very visibly scrunched up face that implied olfactory offense. She was also approximately 30-40 feet away from me. This was some strong perfume. I explained to her that I wasn't wearing any perfume.

"I know. But why so much of it?" she pressed.

This, my friends, is what we call an unwinnable war. I knew conceding defeat was my only viable option.

"I don't know why I used so much of it. I'll be more careful in the future," I solemnly swore to her.

She nodded her head in approval.


#7. "I've got it! You're brother and sister!"

Meghan, an Experience Guide - Educator here at CMNH, and I were jointly leading a large orientation earlier this week in Henry Law Park. Taking advantage of the nice weather, we had the students and teachers file in to the bleachers in front of the Rotary Amphitheater so we could go over the shape of the day with them. Once we introduced ourselves and found out who in the group were returning visitors and who were here for the first time, we opened the floor up for suggestions of potential rules of the museum. Even if a child supplies us with a rule that isn't necessarily "correct", we always know to redirect and focus on the positive parts of what they said thank them for their contribution.

Thus, "Don't poke any of the animals or climb their cages", will get some sort of, "Oh, I WISH we had live animals! But if we did, you are absolutely correct that we couldn't climb their cages. Speaking of animals, who know's what an osprey is? Because we have an osprey nest that . . ." and so forth.

It's hard to catch us off guard. There isn't much we haven't heard. Until this week.

"Who knows a good rule to remember at the museum?" Meghan asked. She called on a Kindergartner in the front row who had his hand raised as high as he could hold it.

"I've got it," he yelled triumphantly. "You're brother and sister!"

Meghan and I tried our best not to laugh. Meghan, understandably shorter than me - with brown hair that's cut long in two sections with blue streaks at the end - has no glasses (as I do) and looks absolutely nothing like me. But this boy was utterly convinced that he had finally solved a mystery that didn't exist.

"Awww, that would be cool if we were," Meghan told the boy. "But we're not sister and brother, I'm afraid. Does anyone else have an idea about a good museum rule?"

A hand, belonging to a boy with very large, curly hair, shot up immediately from the second row. Meghan called on him.

"You must be a Mommy and Daddy together!" he yelled out.

Several other children in the class started nodding their heads satisfactorily, happy to know that even after a false start, it was good to know that Meghan and I were married and, clearly, also had children.

Meghan and I explained quickly that we were in no way related outside the museum and moved forward with a list of museum rules.


#6. "MEL GIBSON!"

When a group of second graders were asked if they had any questions this week, a dark-haired girl in a rainbow sweatshirt raised her hand tentatively. We called on her and she quietly said, "Do . . . do you want to know my name?" Instantly charmed (as we often are), we responded enthusiastically that we, "absolutely wanted to know her name".

"Madison," she responded quietly but confidently and with a smile.

"It's nice to meet you, Madison!" we told her.

Another hand shot up from right behind Madison. A boy, with a grin equal parts teeth and former teeth, seemed to be vibrating with energy.

"Yes, you. In the back," I called.

"Do you want to know my name?" he asked, with none of the shy hesitation that Madison had exhibited.

The whole class seemed as if it was frozen in anticipation waiting for my answer, all their tiny lungs holding their breath at the same time. I sensed something was off but pushed forward nevertheless.

"I sure do," I answered with a large grin.

"MEL GIBSON!" he shouted back.

Now, dear reader, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to think about a time that you laughed so hard that your cried. You cried, your sides hurt and you ran out of breath. You needed to hold on to a fixed object just to steady yourself and regain your composure. Can you envision it?

Now multiply that by 7,000.

The children just absolutely fell out.

They. fell. out.

An absolute cacophony of laughs. Hyenas temporarily replaced these children for the duration of the ol' "Mel Gibson" punchline. I do not presume to understand the "Mel Gibson" joke. Like many early Elementary jokes, I'm quite sure the element of surprise is far more important than the element of logic. All I know is that there's a class of second graders in the state of New Hampshire that are quite confident that they pulled a classic "Mel Gibson" on me. What that means, I have no idea. I'm not sure they do either. But, boy, did they love it.


#5. "Are you really human?"

"Yes, I am," I told the boy, somewhat startled.

"Oh. Good. I told them you were."

I received no explanation who "them" was nor why this hypothetical collective may have questioned my base humanity.

Minty Heroes in a Halfshell!

#4. "I don't like mint."

I love a good story as much as the next person. (Take a look at the length of this blog entry if you don't believe me.) And kids sure do love telling stories. There's no left turn too many, no red herring too confusing, and no lack of mentions of a cousin who has a pet who once walked in a yard next to their friend's house before it started raining and everyone had popsicles and then some of them went swimming but maybe it was also a birthday party where everyone knew that pink was their favorite color. I think you get the idea. I had a little boy in a pre-K group Friday morning that asked me if I liked the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

"I sure do," I answered. "Raphael is my favorite!" (Note: I pronounced it, "RAF-EE-EL")

"I think you meant to say, 'Raphael'." he countered. (Note: He pronounced it, correctly, as "RAF-EYE-ELL")

"My gosh. You're right. You really know your ninja turtles, don't you?"

"Yes. I do. And at my house I have a toothbrush and toothpaste and the toothpaste is Ninja Turtles toothpaste and also I have Ninja Turtles band-aids and the Ninja Turtles toothpaste has all the turtles on it and the Ninja Turtles toothpaste is green just like the Ninja Turtles and the Ninja Turtles toothpaste tastes like mint."

He paused, briefly, to inhale oxygen and I jumped in.

"Wow! You must love that Ninja Turtle toothpaste!" I gushed.

"I don't like mint," he said with extreme seriousness. "And that's why I don't ever brush my teeth. Don't tell my Mom and my Dad."

(It's ok, buddy. I won't tell Mom and Dad, but I will make a blog out of it!)


#3. "Don't whine like a little baby. Nobody likes a whiny baby."

Another quote from Friday morning, this time from some second graders. When I asked what the, "most important rule" was in the entire museum, I'm usually leading towards either, "Have fun!" or "No running!", but this girl's hand shot up so fast that I could tell she was ready for this question.

Her above answer? Is not incorrect. I told her that was a great answer and one everyone would be wise to remember.


#2. "Don't bite anyone. Even if they're your grandparents."

Words to live by.


#1. "I'm in love with your best friend's hair."

Well . . . it's not cliche. I'll give him that. Remember our friend from #7 who thought that if Meghan and I couldn't be brother and sister then we simply must have been husband ("Daddy") and wife ("Mommy")? Well, as we were walking into the museum after the end of orientation, he pulled at my hand. I could tell he had something to say but wanted me to come closer. I did.

"Can I tell you something?" he asked quietly.

"Of course!"

"I'm in love with your best friend's hair."

Clearly, he had landed on the 'fact' that if Meghan and I couldn't be blood related or married, we must be best friends. In general, the kids have responded quite favorably to Meghan's atypical hair coloring. But "responding favorably" is not as high praise as, "love"!

"Do you want to tell Meghan what you think about her hair?"

"NO!"

"I see. Well, do you want me to tell her?"

" . . . Yes."

And I did.

It was her favorite quote of the week.





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CMNH 5K + 1: The Sequel

Last year, I ran the Children’s Museum 5K Road Race with a 6 month old. It was definitely a different experience from the previous races I had run. My son, wearing a *slightly* smaller version of the Captain America shirt that Daddy runs in, mostly stayed quiet the whole race while I talked loudly and often to him throughout the race. It was the first time during a race that – when encountering a downhill portion of the course – I yelled, “Wheeeee!”

Like I said, a different experience.

This year, the experience changed again.

#1. That 6 month old suddenly (at least it felt sudden) had become an 18 month old, had a mouth full of teeth, is obsessed with his Thomas the Tank Engine sunglasses and waving and shouting to most people (and animals – especially animals) he sees on a leisurely walk around our neighborhood. A very busy Road Race & Fun Run? Would it be too overwhelming? Would he have a meltdown? Would I need to keep raisins in my shorts pocket? He loves raisins.

#2. As the museum’s Media Producer, I would be photographing and videotaping different portions of Race Day. And pushing my son in the stroller at the same time.

#3. If things turned upside-down (something that any parent of a toddler can attest happens roughly every 20-30 minutes), I would have to leave the course and head back to the museum for an extended raisin-filled time out.

Please enjoy the following look at our participating in the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race and Fun Run.

Father & Son, pre-race

Father & Son, pre-race, sporting the official hashtag of the CMNH Road Race!

Long time volunteers and former staff help man the registration tables for those picking up their race bibs and the many racers that wait to check the weather that morning and register the day of the race

Long time volunteers and former staff Ann, Gabe & Anne help man the registration tables for those picking up their race bibs and the many racers that wait to check the weather that morning and register the day of the race

It was still a little chilly about 15 minutes before race time.

It was still a little chilly about 15 minutes before race time.

One of the largest groups of runners at this year's race!

One of the largest groups of runners at this year’s race!

Getting to the starting line on time can be difficult when there's a . . . FIRETRUCK PIT STOP!

Getting to the starting line on time can be difficult when there’s a . . . FIRETRUCK PIT STOP!

Face Painting is always a popular activity at our road races.

Face Painting is always a popular activity at our road races.

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CMNH Volunteer and Miss Teen NH Caroline moments before she sings the National Anthem.

CMNH Volunteer and Miss Teen NH Caroline moments before she sings the National Anthem.

One more minute until the starting pistol starts the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race!

One more minute until the starting pistol starts the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race!

On your mark . . . Get set . . .

On your mark . . .

Get set . . .

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Making our way up Central Avenue!

Making our way up Central Avenue!

Cutting across Chapel Street next to Kendall Pond Pizza II & Janetos!

Cutting across Chapel Street next to Kendall Pond Pizza II & Janetos!

The Dover Mounted Patrol joined our volunteers at Rogers St in cheering on the races. (Which also convinced my son that there would be horses waiting for him at the end of every street we passed.)

“Horsies! Horsies!” the voice from the stroller cried out as we continued up Portland Ave. The Dover Mounted Patrol joined our volunteers at Rogers St in cheering on the races. (Which also convinced my son that there would be horses waiting for him at the end of every street we passed.)

CMNH Media Producer Zach and his son ran the 5K this morning. We checked in with them at Mile #1 to see how the father/son team was holding up. We'll give you a hint: Someone was missing the third member of their team! #CMNH #CMNH5K #CMNHrace #CMNHzf #SeacoastRoadRaceSeries #AtlanticAvenue #FamilyFun #FatherAndSon #Mile1 #SeacoastNH #DoverNH #NewHampshire
A video posted by Children's Museum of NH (@childrensmuseumofnh) on May 2, 2015 at 3:04pm PDT

Long time CMNH volunteer Frank prepares runners for the Fairway Meadows Cul-de-sac

Long time CMNH volunteer Frank prepares runners for the Fairway Meadows Cul-de-sac. What he DIDN’T prepare me for is that there would be cute puppy dogs that live on said cul-de-sac. Cute puppy dogs that my son INSISTED we stop the stroller for so we could point at them. Repeatedly. “Doggie, Doggie, Doggie!” was his repeated yelp. That is, until he came up to the top of the loop and quickly remembered that his grandfather was helping to man the water station!

After 1.5 miles mostly uphill, our Water Station volunteers were a very welcome sight for our course runners! #CMNH #CMNH5K #CMNHrace #CMNHvolunteers #WaterStation #SeacoastRoadRaceSeries #SeacoastNH #DoverNH #NewHampshire
A photo posted by Children's Museum of NH (@childrensmuseumofnh) on May 2, 2015 at 4:52pm PDT

It's all (mostly) downhill after the Mile #2 marker!

It’s all (mostly) downhill after the Mile #2 marker! And this is about when the cries for, “Grampa!” finally gave way to “Balloon! Balloon! Balloon!”, which itself turned to excited garbles of “PONYHORSIEPONY!” as we approached the Mounted Patrol Stables on Cocheco Street.

CMNH volunteer & balloon wrangler Jess mans the hill leading from Cocheco Street to Portland Avenue.

CMNH volunteer & balloon wrangler Jess mans the hill leading from Cocheco Street to Portland Avenue.

Looking out over the Cocheco River as we round the bend towards Mile Marker #3!

Looking out over the Cocheco River as we round the bend towards Mile Marker #3!

Can it really be Mile #3?! Are we almost there?

Can it really be Mile #3?! Are we almost there?

These two long time CMNH members both participated on race day; 5K for Mom and Fun Run for Son!

These two long time CMNH members both participated on race day; 5K for Mom and Fun Run for Son!

Two local runners who run the CMNH 5K every year!

Two local runners who run the CMNH 5K every year!

Long time Children's Museum 5K mascot, Albert the Alligator

Long time Children’s Museum 5K mascot, Albert the Alligator getting ready for the Fun Run! (Has anyone else ever noticed that Doug is always missing when it’s time for the Fun Run? Hmmmmm . . .)

Stop the presses - BANANA BREAK!

Stop the presses – BANANA BREAK!

CMNH Educator Sarah and Albert the Alligator lead the junior racers in some stretches before the race begins

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CMNH Educator Sarah and Albert the Alligator lead the junior racers in some stretches before the race begins

And they're off!

And they’re off!

My wife and son running in the Toddler 50 yd. dash. He might just make this!

My wife and son running in the Toddler 50 yd. dash. He might just make this!

You've . . . um, gone off course . . .

You’ve . . . um, gone . . . off course . . .

And . . . he's decided he's running an entirely different race now. To each his own!

And . . . he’s decided he’s running an entirely different race now. To each his own!

CMNH volunteer extraordinaire Terri mans the CMNH/Hannaford Foodworks Yogurt Bar in Henry Law Park

CMNH volunteer extraordinaire Terri mans the CMNH/Hannaford Foodworks Yogurt Bar in Henry Law Park

You'd be bananas to miss out on the miles of food post-race at our Hospitality Tent! (See what I did there?)

You’d be bananas to miss out on the miles of food post-race at our Hospitality Tent! (See what I did there?)

Bookings Manager Caitlynne, Corporate Relations Manager Katie and CMNH Board Member Sarah were running behind the scenes all morning to make sure everything ran smoothly!

Bookings Manager Caitlynne, Corporate Relations Manager Katie and CMNH Board Member Sarah were running behind the scenes all morning to make sure everything ran smoothly!

Well, that’s another CMNH Road Race & Fun Run in the books! We’re already preparing for Race #31! Did you run the race? We hope you had as much fun as we did!

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Welcome to our new website

As the Children’s Museum of NH approached its 30th birthday, board and staff members were completing a long-range plan process and it was clear that the museum was ripe for an image update. Our previous logo, graphics and website had served us well as we transitioned from our Portsmouth location to Dover, but now we were looking ahead to the next decade and wanted to reflect our plans for transformation.

Our new branding was developed in partnership with Haigh & Martino (HAM), a Portsmouth-based “design think tank” that helped us identify our strengths, hone our message and think outside the box. We wanted our branding to represent the creative, forward-thinking nature of our business, the connections we create with children, families and schools, and the infinite possibilities of young minds.

CMNH-logo-main-lockupHAM came to us with several creative concepts and our team immediately honed in on this one: vibrant hinged letters that spelled out our name but also could morph into an endless array of objects and shapes. We loved the flexibility this solution offered, allowing our identity to grow and change with us, while maintaining a distinctive look and feel.

Using theCMNH-Icon-Gundalow straight and curved pieces of our new custom alphabet letters, HAM set about creating a set of icons for us to be used in our communications. Some, like the gundalow, represented exhibiCMNH_IconsInStateShapets and objects found in the museum. Others could be used to illustrate posters for our programs and events. And a number of the icons could even be combined to create images like this design of the State of New Hampshire, used on a banner in Henry Law Park.

Last summer, we began unveiling our new branding, starting with signage on the front ofRevealEvent_CrowdFromBack our building. On a beautiful morning, we gathered with museum members and supporters to reveal our new exterior signage and celebrate with colorful games and crafts like tie-dying t-shirts using our new brand colors.

Next, we rolled out new stationery and collateral materials – from brochures and nametags to stickers and a new look for our quarterly newsletter. All that remained now was to redesign the museum’s website with a new look and updated functionality.

2015WebsiteHomepageWorking with Haigh & Martino, we reviewed different design concepts that incorporated our new branding, and chose the bold design you see today. The new site is based on the Craft CMS platform and is completely mobile friendly, something we know our members will appreciate. With large graphic buttons and a complete yet succinct menu, the site is easy to navigate and features tons of photos that really give prospective visitors a great idea of what they can see and do here.

Website2015_CalendarScreenshotWe also built a custom calendar that allows users to filter events and programs by age or by type. You can quickly see what’s coming up just for babies and toddlers, tweens, and other age groups in between. Calendar events also link directly with related webpages for more information.

We hope you’ll take a few minutes to explore the new site and see what a great browsing experience it provides, whether you are looking at it on your phone, tablet or laptop. We are pleased to have this final piece of our rebranding project go public, and we look forward keeping it updated with great content for families, teachers, supporters, and partner organizations.

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