The Museum Blog

Category: CMNH Staff

Farewell to Mark Cuddy

Markcuddy Web

Sadly, Exhibits Director Mark Cuddy is leaving the museum after 5 years of designing and building amazing exhibits at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire We are all very sad to see him go as he has always been a solid contributor to CMNH. I sat down with Mark and asked him to reminisce a bit on his time here at the Children’s Museum.

How long were you at the museum?
Just about 5 years.

What made you want to work at CMNH?
I was working part time at the Children's Museum in Easton and was looking for full time work at a children's museum. I saw the job opportunity here in NH, came for an interview, and really liked the museum, the exhibits and the workshop space downstairs so I applied and was lucky enough to get the job.

What are some of your typical duties as Exhibits Director?
I oversee everything that has to do with the exhibits, so it varies day to day. Some days it might be maintenance on something that broke the day before, it may be trying to re-design an exhibit component so it functions better, or it may be planning, designing or building a new exhibit.

What are you going to miss the most about your job?
I like the workshop, and I like working on the whole design process from initial ideas and concepts all the way through fabricating and installing the exhibit.

Any cool stories about building exhibits? Setting them up? Challenges?
I've learned a lot and had to figure a lot of things out along the way. We set up 2 temporary exhibits with K'nex called Colossal Construction, so I got to build all sorts of cool roller coasters and ball ramps. Some of them worked better than others, but it was a fun process. The roller coaster by Primary Place was supposed to be a temporary installation but it has been so popular that we have kept it for years.

Any crazy exhibit ideas that you wish you could have done but never happened?
Not really, I tried to keep our concepts and ideas to what I thought we could actually accomplish. I didn't want to suggest something super cool, but crazy, and not be able to follow through on the idea.

Is there an exhibit you created you are most proud of?
I'm not sure if I can pick just one. I like the Cave Explorers exhibit because that is a different, dark environment that provides a different experience for children and families. That was a whole exhibit that I designed and built. I also like the updates we made to the green screen exhibit, now called Adventures in Travel, because we used existing technology that we had, but were able to update and enhance the experience.

Where are you off to now?
I'm going to Garrison City Beerworks to work full time there, being a jack of all trades and assisting in the entire process of brewing, from cleaning and sanitizing, to brewing, to canning the beer, and any maintenance tasks to keep things running smoothly.

Anything you’d like to say to your co-workers or the families who visit?
To the co-workers, I know you will miss me.

We will miss you too Mark! On behalf of all the employees and guests at the children’s museum we thank you for your hard work over the last 5 years and wish you well on your exciting new opportunity at the brewery!

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Reflecting on my Summer Internship at CMNH

It's time to start thinking about summer internships. Read on to hear what this former intern had to say about her internship at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire.

By: Amanda Girard

I remember visiting the Children’s Museum in Portsmouth when I was younger. I remember playing in the Yellow Submarine and the fishing boat and creating works of art in what is now known as the Muse Studio. I had a lot of really great memories there.

That younger version of myself could’ve never imagined that one day I would return here as an intern and spend a summer here. Yet, here I am on both the last day of my internship and my 20th birthday!

I have really enjoyed my time at CMNH and I have successfully completed so many projects that I am proud of. I am going to college for a degree in Professional Writing with a minor in Marketing and I really have combined the two in this internship with the Marketing department.

I had a few projects that spanned the length of my entire internship (From Mid-May to the beginning of August). I wrote biographies for all of the over 50 Makers who will be part of the 2015Dover Mini Maker Faire. I had never even heard of Maker Faire until I started to work here and I think it’s just an amazing idea that will only grow as time goes on. As I was writing the biographies, I would always get excited and wound up wishing that I could be around when it happens, as I will be studying abroad in Dublin at the time. Nevertheless, I am proud that I could be a part of getting people excited for Maker Faire this year!

I also worked for a majority of the summer interviewing office staff, museum educators, and volunteers for “Meet the Staff” blog posts for this blog. I enjoyed this project a lot because I got to meet many of the wonderful staff at the Children’s Museum. Everyone here is so kind and friendly and just a lot of fun! I got to experience what it is like to work in an office setting and I saw first-hand how a group of people with many different talents can come together for a common goal: in this case, to provide an amazing experience for children and their families.

Speaking of children and their families, I got to read what they thought of CMNH firsthand with another one of my ongoing projects. One of the first things that I did in the mornings when I arrived for work was check to see if there were any new visitor surveys. I gathered almost 40 surveys over the course of the summer and compiled them. Some outcomes of this were a tally of visitor’s favorite exhibits (with the Yellow Submarine at the top of the list!) and two blog posts about what the Museum offers to older kids and how our exhibits help toddlers learn through repetition.

Other things that I accomplished during my time here include writing tweets and Facebook posts (some things that I had never really tried before!), covering events like Group Visits and the Teddy Bear Clinic and Picnic, crafting emails, tracking visitor zip codes and writing press releases for Museum events and classes.

So what have I learned from doing all of this? Well, I’ve learned another way that I can use my writing in the future and I’ve learned the basics of marketing and social media outreach. I’ve learned about the amount of research that goes into marketing a company and a brand and I’ve learned that I actually really love doing that research! I have also learned what it’s like to work in an office and how to coordinate and work together to accomplish a goal.

But the biggest thing I think I’ve learned, that I already sort of knew, was that I really like working with children and seeing their reactions of joy and excitement when they see the finished product of something we have all worked so hard to create for them. I think that that is an interest that I would really like to pursue further and I’m not sure where that will lead me. But interning at CMNH this summer solidified that the interest is there and who knows where that will lead me in the future!

I am extremely thankful for the opportunity and experience that I have had at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire this summer and for every amazing person that I have gotten the chance to meet in the process!

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Meet the CMNH Staff: Mark Cuddy

Name: Mark Cuddy

Title: Director of Exhibits

How long have you been at CMNH? 4 years, since 2011

What is the most fun part of your job? The most fun part of my job is seeing children and families play with the exhibits I have designed and built.

What is something people might not know about you? I helped my Dad build our own Clubhouse when I was a kid. That may not be that surprising, but he could never understand why I spent more time climbing on the roof than I did playing inside of it.

What is your favorite exhibit at CMNH and why? My favorite exhibit is Pattern Palace. I think it is a really fun exhibit and it does a great job of teaching people about geometry and Math without them realizing it. It is certainly not a 'boring math exhibit.'

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Meet the CMNH Staff: Meredith Lamothe

Name: Meredith Lamothe

Title: Lead Educator

How Long at Museum? 3.5 years! I started in May of 2012.

What is the most fun part of your job? I love teaching. I look forward to Thursdays because I get to teach both Junior and Homeschool science classes. I also absolutely love doing Baby Storytime—nothing is a better start to the day than seeing and reading to a bunch of smiling, giggling babies!

What is something that people might not know about you? My bachelors degree is in Theatre Performance. I really enjoy performing and try to be in a couple plays a year.

What is your favorite exhibit at CMNH and why? I like the post office. I love the number of different ways that visitors can experience the exhibit and that it facilitates exploration of the rest of the museum.

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​The Wacky Scientist Reflects on his Career

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By Doug Tilton

I have had the honor of being the “Wacky Scientist” for the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire for about 14 years now and I spend all year preparing for and looking forward to the October Not-So-Spooky Spectacular! I’m actually the second “Wacky Scientist” to hold this position. The first Wacky Scientist was a former employee named Bill Stroup. He and Jane, our current President, came up with the slightly misleading moniker of “Wacky Scientist.” I’ve never thought of myself as particularly “wacky” (but I suppose I have my moments). In my pre-wacky days I actually did a lot of theatre and directing, which I think has served me well when trying to keep my young audience attentive and entertained.

I had presented science concepts to children’s audiences for years and directed others to do it, but still, the first time I did it as the Wacky Scientist was still a new experience. I relied on my fellow educators to help develop the science experiments that have become a signature highlight of our Halloween celebrations. Then as time went on, I started creating my own experiments and made sure that each show was different and unique!

A few of my favorite experiments over the years have included anti-gravity in a jar, “sink or float,” giant gyroscope, Coke and Mentos explosion and screaming balloons! Of course there are always unexpected surprises. Sometimes those surprises come in the form of costumed kids who want to talk to their friends through my experiments, or perhaps think they already know all about what I’m doing. THEY are the ones I make into my first assistants! Hey, every Wacky Scientist needs a Wacky Assistant. It’s in the bi-laws.

Of course, being a Wacky Scientist, or a Wacky Assistant, isn’t all fun and games. Occasionally it requires some serious dedication and risk taking. One year I was working the kinks out of a fantastic experiment where I used a bungee cord to drop a raw egg from the ceiling onto my assistant’s face! We carefully measured everything to make sure that the bungee would stop the egg from hitting his face at the very last second. Let’s just say, the Wacky Assistant’s dedication was tested that day, as were my Wacky nerves. But in the end, we measured correctly and didn’t end up with any egg on our face, literally or idiomatically.

Are you bringing your wacky kids to this year’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular?

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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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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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