The Museum Blog

Archives for October, 2015

Meet the CMNH Staff: Doug Tilton

Name: Doug Tilton

Title: Visitor Services and Operations Director, Volunteer and Intern Coordinator

How Long He Has Worked at CMNH: 16 years

What is the most fun part of your job?

I like it when I get to see programs and events work well. I also like to see Museum visitors engaged and getting a lot out of the experience.

What is something people might not know about you?

I’m a puppeteer and I trained other people to be puppeteers for years. I never took a theater course, but I ran a theater for 14 years. I was the Associate Director of the Little Red Wagon Touring Program and I helped with New Hampshire outreach.

What is your favorite exhibit at CMNH and why?

The Post Office. I like it because it has mailboxes throughout the museum so it encourages kids to explore other exhibits. Also, there are so many things to do there, sorting mail, delivering mail, running the post office. It even helps kids learn to read!

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Science Art

Junior Science: Ages 3.5-5

By Meredith Lamothe

Hello Science Families!

We’re halfway done with this session of science–I say it every time, but it always surprises me when we get to this point!

Today was all about opposites in junior science class!

We specifically focused on BLACK and WHITE! It was fun to talk about alllllll the many colors that we’ve learned about and all the shapes and then to step back and look at something as simple as black and white.

We talked about how black and white are opposites and some other things that are opposite (UP and DOWN, Smooth and Bumpy, Left and Right, Open and Close!)

ACTIVITY #1: Floating Crayons

Then it was onto our first experiment! We explored crayons! We wanted to see if a bunch of crayons on our trays would SINK or FLOAT (opposites!) We dropped in crayons–which made a great splash sound!–and then observed what they did. We noticed something very odd. All of our crayons were sinking EXCEPT our black crayons! Those floated!

We learned that black crayons float because the pigment used to make the black color isn’t as heavy as the pigments used to make the other color crayons.

Then we tried to see if there was anything on our table that might help the other crayons float. We couldn’t find any floaties or pool noodles–but we did see some salt. What would happen if we added salt to our water? WE tried it! After we added a whoooooole bunch of salt, all of our crayons started to float! We learned that this was because we were changing the density of the water and making it a lot easier for the crayons to float–just like it’s easier for us to float in the salt water of the ocean!

ACTIVITY #2: Black and White Process Art

Our next activity was experimenting with black and white paints. We started by using a little brush and trying out some black paint. Then we used a BIG brush and added some white paint. Those become gray! We kept experimenting, added some collage pieces, and just paint, paint painted!

blackandwhite(This photo is from Pinterest, but our paintings used the same idea!)

Our paintings were still veeeery damp at the end of class, so we’ll have to take them home next week–they’re looking more and more interesting as they dry!

See you next week!

Best,

Meredith

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​Early Learning Exhibits and Programs Take Center Stage

Children’s Museum of NH sponsors bring new life to popular programs and spaces

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CEO of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Greg Walker and Children’s Museum of New Hampshire President Jane Bard, along with some young guests, enjoy the newly spruced Primary Place of which Wentworth-Douglass Hospital is the sustaining sponsor.

Favorite fall programming for the younger set has begun at the Children’s Museum of NH. Wee Ones Wednesdays, which has a huge following with CMNH families, is now proudly sponsored by the Bank of New Hampshire. This drop-in class for walkers and talkers ages 2-4 is described by museum educators as “PRE-preschool.”

“This class is so popular that we offer two sessions, one right after the other in order to accommodate more kids,” says Education Coordinator Xanthi Gray. Beth Pagliuca, who has been bringing her children to Wee Ones since her daughter was a week old, said

“I loved Wee Ones as a first school style experience for my children. They learned to sing songs with their peers, do a craft and sit quietly eating a snack while listening to a story. All while still having the comfort of a parent or caretaker right there in the room with them. I think it helped prepare both my children for preschool because they both started preschool with big smiles and no concerns.”

After families take part in this or other Early Learning Programs such as Shake, Rattle and Read baby storytime or Junior Science Explorers, they can make their way to the second floor of the museum where the Primary Place, an Early Learning Landscape has gotten a major refresh from the exhibit’s Sustaining Sponsor, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. This exhibit is designed specifically for the museum’s youngest visitors and the wear and tear on the beloved baby butterfly garden, animal puppets, giant box and train table are evidence of the over 700,000 kids that have enjoyed this space since 2008. “We are thrilled to support the exhibit,” says Dawn Fernald, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.

“The Children’s Museum is a treasure in our community and provides wonderful experiences for families centering on education, history and culture with fun and interactive displays. The wow factor is huge!”

The Children’s Museum’s recent Toddlerfest celebration, which highlights all these programs, exhibits and more designed specifically for their youngest guests, culminated on Sunday, October 4 with Train Day from noon to 2pm. The trains, which are also featured in the second floor Primary Place, are a favorite exhibit and this program allows families to not only play in the museum, but also take a trolley to the Dover Rail Yard where they can climb on and explore a real locomotive.

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Makers Gonna Make

by Sarah Terry

First things first...

Hi there!

As this is my first blog post for the museum, I thought I'd start with a quick introduction! My name is Sarah, and I'm an educator at CMNH. I've been working here for about three years, and I've done everything from putting on a production of “The Little Red Echidna” (an adaptation of “The Little Red Hen,” of course!) to talking everyone's ears off (children, parents, and staff alike) about NASA's New Horizons mission on Pluto Day! I'm a poet, sci-fi nerd, enthusiastic baker, and can bust out soprano arias in four different languages if asked (I have never been asked...).

I'm also a maker.

But... what exactly is a maker? The museum hosts the Dover Mini Maker Faire, there are makerspaces popping up all around - it's a maker revolution! But what does it mean? Even when I first started hearing that word thrown around, it was obvious that it was about more than just people making stuff (although people making stuff is super cool all by itself!). The Maker movement has taken on its own philosophy – it's about learning, creativity, DIY, technology, curiosity... Want to know how a computer works? Take it apart and look! Want to create a beautiful piece of jewelry? Grab some wire and beads and experiment! But I think perhaps the most important part of the maker movement is this: All these cool things you want to try...you don't have to do them in a vacuum.

The maker movement emphasizes learning through doing, but it also encourages social interaction.

It encourages getting together and figuring something out with your friends, and finding a makerspace where you can learn from experts, or passionate amateurs, or somebody who tried the same thing last week! It's about sharing knowledge, and sparking curiosity – nurturing our innate and insatiable desire for the how and why behind everything.

It's with that philosophy in mind that I started working on CMNH's newest traveling program – our MAKER CLUB! Beginning this fall, we're bringing 4-week sets of after-school activities to schools in the area that focus on all different kinds of creations and the science behind making them. I've been having such an awesome time creating the curriculum that I wanted to share some of the projects we're going to be working on!

Session One of Maker Club is all about electricity!

We'll be playing with circuits and lights and fans and motors, and learning about how electricity moves through them all. We'll also be creating these nifty guys:

This is an ArtBot! It only takes a few simple parts to make one – there are even kits available online that have everything included. But if you want the option to customize all your parts and experiment with different techniques, you might want to buy the pieces separately.



Here's everything I used to make the ArtBot pictured here:

ArtBot-supplies.jpg?mtime=20151016162611

Materials:

Now, I went through an extra step before I got started and soldered lead wires onto the motor itself, but you can also just get wires with clips and clip them right onto the motor. But I really wanted to learn how to solder! It's neat!

Get the complete step-by-step instructions here in a handy dandy printable PDF.

Wow! Look at that ArtBot go!

Now how can you change the movement of your ArtBot? The ArtBot moves because the spinning cork puts it slightly off-balance and starts to shake it around. You can see in some of the video that I added aluminum foil to the cork to change the balance. How else can you change the balance? Could you add more markers? Move the battery or the motor? Check it out for yourself!

Bonus pictures of soldering!

Soldering is the process of joining together two or more metal items by melting and flowing a filler metal (called solder) between them! It involves high temperatures and molten metal, but it is actually pretty easy to do (at least to do poorly – my joints work but aren't exactly pretty!). Consider buying a soldering iron, and trying it out for yourself. There are a ton of instructions online, or you could check out a local maker group like Port City Makerspace in Portsmouth, NH, and see what resources they have available!

Want to learn a little more about electricity? Check out this information sheet from our Maker Club!

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Meet the CMNH Staff: Paula Rais

Name: Paula Rais

Title: Vice President of Development and Community Engagement

How Long She Has Been at CMNH: Almost 14 years (since September 2002)

What is the most fun part of your job?

The most fun part of my job is watching the families enjoy the museum and getting to know them. I love to hear stories of how the Museum has impacted people’s lives.

What is something that people might not know about you?

I make my own cards for my family but I am a really bad artist so they are hysterical. I mostly just draw stick figures and my family gets a kick out of them!

What is your favorite exhibit at CMNH and why?

My favorite exhibit is Cocheco Industry because I really like the historical part of it.

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Meet the CMNH Staff: Jane Bard

Name: Jane Bard

Title: President and Education Director

How Long She Has Been at CMNH: 20 years!

What is the most fun part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is to come up with creative solutions and work with a team of people to come up with new experiences for families and children.

What is something that people may not know about you?

I guess people wouldn’t know that I used to be a teacher before I came to work at the Children’s Museum. I taught in a multi-grade 3rd and 4th grade classroom for two years. For something fun, a hobby of mine is that I love helping people plan their vacations and travel plans.

What is your favorite exhibit at CMNH and why?

My favorite exhibit is Primary Place because I love seeing new parents or first-time visitor’s excitement and joy in interacting with their children in that space.

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