The Museum Blog

Category: Events

A Message from the Queen of Hearts

Wonderland Tea Party Preview Web

Greetings, my dear ladies, lords, and all my precious citizens of Wonderland!

It is I, your Queen of Hearts, and I thought it high time to address you again! It has been an awfully long time since we last had a chat, hasn’t it? Why, I don’t believe I’ve spoken to many of you since our little party last February! Ah, what can I say? A queen’s work is never done! If I’m not policing those good-for-nothing cards in their rose painting, then I’m having my croquet game interrupted by some other impertinence! But I do remember our time together fondly. There were so many types of tea, lovely cookies, enchanting flowers, a plethora of hearts, of course, and I welcomed so many new lords and ladies into the Royal Court of Wonderland! Such allegiances truly do our fair land credit.

In fact, I rather feel like doing it again! Don’t you? Now, I’d never say that you must come – I’d never say that it was absolutely mandatory for all citizens of Wonderland that they come and enjoy tea and cookies and crafting with their ever-so-magnanimous Queen – I mean, really! Does that sound like something I’d say? But all the same, I do hope you’ll attend. Oh, and if any of you happen to see a rather mysterious blonde girl of apparently varying size, do tell me of her whereabouts. I can’t have just anyone traipsing through Wonderland! We shall see if she dares to show up!

Please do say you’ll come to my tea party! I’d be ever so thrilled to see you!

As always,

Your dear and faithful Queen

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Pizza - A Cautionary Tale

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by Marty Kelley

Pizza is dangerous.

I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t know here. We, as a people, have been warned since infancy about the myriad dangers of pizza. The warnings are a part of our collective knowledge. Don’t swim for an hour after eating. Don’t play with fire. Look both ways before you cross the street. Stay away from pizza. We know this.

And yet now, I find myself in the unenviable and dangerous position of being a judge at a pizza competition called Pizzafest. They might as well have called it DeathFest!

How can I be expected to survive an ordeal like this? We all know the dangers: hot cheese can jump off the top of a pizza and drop, like molten lava from a volcano, onto your lap. I will wear an asbestos apron, naturally, just like we all do when eating pizza.

What of the cheese that does not fall into your lap, but rather clings to the roof of your mouth searing and scalding your delicate palate until it seethes with angry blisters. I will make sure to dunk the pizza in ice water for at least 45 minutes, as we were all taught to do at our mother’s knee.

The toppings, though? What if a rogue pepperoni slides down my throat the wrong way? There are just so many things that could possibly go wrong. That’s why I’m judging this contest. I’m doing it for you. I’m doing it to protect you. If I judge this contest and eat this pizza, it will keep you safe.

And that’s what I want to do.

You’re welcome.


Marty Kelley, children's book author and illustrator, will be one of three judges at this year's PizzaFest Fundraiser and Online Auction. This is an all-you-can-eat (at your own risk) pizza-tasting fundraiser and all proceeds go to benefit the Children's 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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Maker Faire FAQs

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"What exactly is a 'Maker Faire'?"

We hear that question a lot when we are out and about, talking up our Dover Mini Maker Faire, coming up on Saturday, August 29. It's a deceptively hard question to answer! I usually say things like "It's a place where people who make things, engineer things, craft things, etc. can come together and show off their creativity."

"...So, there aren't any rides?"

Well, no. There aren't any rides. But we think it's just as fun. So to clear up some of the confusion about what visitors to a Maker Faire can expect, here's a handy list of frequently asked questions and our answers.

Q. What exactly is a Maker Faire?
A. Maker Faire is family-friendly festival of innovation, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new. Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and share what they have learned.

Q. How did Maker Faire get started?
A. The Maker movement sparked at the first Maker Faire back in 2006 in the Bay Area. Since then, sponsorship of Maker Faire events from corporations has helped propelled this grassroots movement eastward like wildfire. The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2012 celebrated its seventh annual show with some 800 makers and 110,000 people in attendance. World Maker Faire New York, the other flagship event, has grown in three years to 500+ makers and 55,000 attendees. Detroit, Kansas City, Newcastle (UK), and Tokyo are the home of “featured” Maker Faires (200+ makers).

Q. Why is it called Dover MINI Maker Faire?
A. Across the United States and the world, community-driven, independently organized Mini Maker Faires are now being produced. Dover Mini Maker Faire is independently organized and operated under license from Maker Media, Inc., and is the FIRST Mini Maker Faire in the state of New Hampshire.

Q. Are there rides?
A. No. There aren't any rides like you would see at a regular town fair. BUT, there are a ton of hands on activities and opportunities to explore new things. In addition to all the great Maker tables and demos, we'll be offering an opportunity to help us build a giant Jenga and there will be a grand finale involving coke and mentos "explosions!"

Q. So what exactly will I see at the Faire?
A. You will see lots of tables and booths outside in Henry Law Park with people displaying and demonstrating their creative talents. If you want to learn more about the individual vendors, we've compiled a great list of them over on our makerfairedover.com blog!

Q. How many people can I expect to see there?
A. The first year (2013) we had more than 1,200 people attend (300 of which were kids)!

Q. What does it cost?
A. If you buy tickets online before August 29, tickets cost $10 for anyone over 5 years of age. Kids ages 5 and younger get in for free. You can buy tickets at the door for $12.

Q. Is that all the money I'll spend while at the Faire?
A. If you are just looking around at all the great inventors and trying your hand at the different activities, then yes, that's all you'll spend. There are, however a few vendors who are selling their wares, and of course food will cost you extra. We will also have t-shirts for sale for a reasonable price. But your admission will get you into all areas of the Faire, including the Children's Museum.

Q. I'm a CMNH member. Do I get into the Faire for free?
A. Look for an email from us in early August with a Member discount code.

Q. Will there be food?
A. Yes! We have quite a few vendors who will be selling food.

Q. Can I bring my dog?
A. Yes, you may bring your dog to all outside locations (i.e. Henry Law Park), however with the exception of service animals, dogs are not permitted in the Museum or in One Washington Street Mill. However, for the safety and well being of our four-legged friends, we recommend you leave your pets at home. There will be loud noises, many moveable parts, and large crowds, all of which do not create a safe environment for pets.

Q. Where exactly is the Faire?
A. The Faire takes place in and around the Children's Museum, Henry Law Park, and One Washington Street Mill, which is directly behind the Museum.

Q. Is there parking?
A. Yes! Weekend parking is free throughout the city of Dover, but we suggest:

  • Henry Law Avenue in front of the museum
  • the River Street lot- Drive past the museum along Washington Street, veer onto Waters Street, then cross the bridge to River Street.
  • The Orchard Street lot near the Post Office (accessed via Central Avenue or Chestnut Street)
  • The Amtrak lot on Chestnut & Third Streets
  • The Third Street lot next to Holy Rosary Credit Union
  • The Portland Street lot
  • The Library lot on Locust Street (across from the Police Station)

Q. What about handicap parking?
A. There are a few handicap parking spots on Washington Street right next to the museum, as well as in the TD Bank lot across the street.

If you find yourself saying "I have a question and I don't see the answer here," then feel free to email us at questions@childrens-museum.org and we'll do our best to clear things up for you. We hope you can make it to Maker Faire this year!

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For Older Kids Too!

By Amanda Girard, Marketing Intern

Worried about bringing older kids to CMNH with their younger siblings? Afraid they might just stand there moaning, “I’m bored?” The Children’s Museum does offer exhibits and events that older kids can enjoy alongside their younger siblings so that the whole family can have some fun!

“The Muse Studio is a place that caters to all ages,” said Sarah Terry, one of the Museum’s educators. “We make a lot of the crafts open-ended, so you can make them as simple or as complex as you want.” Museum educators come up with new themes every week, like New England books or Super Heroes, and plan craft projects based around that theme.

The Thinkering Lab is another exhibit that encourages guests to create anything they want, no matter how simple or how complex. Here you can build things with LEGOS, design vehicles and tracks, and create ball mazes.

Finally, Mindball is a fun exhibit that many older kids and even adults enjoy! The game is simple: try to stay as relaxed as you can while an electronic headband monitors your brainwaves. See if you can beat your opponent and if you can stay more relaxed. (You could even switch up the game and see who can be the most un-relaxed!)

“A lot of our events are geared towards all ages too,” said Sarah Terry, “like Super Hero Week or our Mini Maker Faire.” If you’re an adult, you probably have great memories of discovering super heroes in comic books, and what better way to introduce your kids to those same super heroes than to take them to Super Hero Week here at the Children’s Museum. Maker Faire (coming up on August 29) is also an event that is for everyone. Some of our Makers this year are as young as 12 or 13 years old and older kids will get a chance to learn more about topics like robotics, engineering, music or art. Maker Faire has a lot to offer everyone.

So, if you are looking to bring the whole family (including older kids) to the Museum, a special program or some of our tried and true exhibits may be a good opportunity to get everyone engaged and involved!

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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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Pi Day 2015

Yesterday, March 14th, in addition to being Albert Einstein’s 136th birthday, was Pi Day. March 14th = 3.14 = Pi Day. Since Physicist Larry Shaw put together the first official Pi Day celebration in San Francisco back in 1988, the deliciously mathematical holiday has only grown exponentially in popularity.

Last year, we focused more on the delicious side of Pi Day festivities. This year? We got down to pi business. Because many of our visitors are still in elementary school, trying to explain pi exclusively with terms like “irrational number”, “mathematical constant” or “Madhava-Leibniz series” isn’t exactly the most fruitful plan of attack.

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So how can you make the math fun? Multiplication? No problem. Geometrical shapes? Sure. But the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter? That’s a bit bigger of a fraction to follow!

Enter Museum Educator Sarah Terry. I asked Sarah, who returned to CMNH at the end of 2014 after first joining our team in October of 2011, how she approached a subject that seems, on the surface, to be rather dry and difficult to build a day of fun around.

“I’ve always thought math was a lot of fun,” Sarah said. “There’s something so satisfying about working with problems and equations that can be solved. In the humanities, you don’t come across too many situations where there is a definitive right answer. It tends to be based on opinion. Well-reasoned and supported opinions, but still debatable. The rationality of mathematics always seemed comforting in comparison.”

But can Rational = Interesting? Can Rational = Fun? Sarah was confident it could be both.

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“When you come across something like pi, which is an infinite number with no apparent pattern or repetition, it’s pretty mind-blowing,” admits Sarah. “How can something as crazy and enormous of a number that’s been calculated out thus far to over 12 trillion digits also be considered a mathematical constant? Every circle that has been or ever will be created will find that its circumference divided by its diameter will be pi. It’s unwieldy and baffling and I looked forward to coming up with activities that could show our visitors that things as awesome as pi actually make math – yes, math – pretty cool!”

Using CMNH’s Colorful Classroom space as her home base, Sarah taught visitors young and old about pi. Some had never heard of it. Some had learned about it in school but had forgotten the specifics. Some were wearing Pi Day shirts. Using a variety of colorful craft activities coupled with the promise that if you located her over the course of Pi Day and recited a fact about Pi, Sarah would paint the pi symbol on your cheek, visitors left yesterday with a newfound appreciation – and hopefully, enthusiasm – for the wild, wacky, infinite constant that is pi!

We hope you and your family had a Happy Pi Day and look forward to you spending Pi Day 2016 with us here at CMNH!

IMG_3429Circles, circles, everywhere!

“Pi lets us show off the oddball side of math and lets us stretch our imaginations,” Sarah said.

IMG953428What’s a Pi Chain? Good question! Here’s the answer: 0-9 are each represented by a color. Following the order of numbers in pi, can you make an accurate chain that is correctly represented by the 10 colors? Can you make a longer Pi Day Pi Chain than your friends and family?

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IMG_3432Even the streamers never rested from the continual recitation of pi!

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Will You Be Our Valentine?

Valentine’s Day is a pretty big deal at a Children’s Museum and here at CMNH, it’s no different.

We’re in the middle of hosting our first ever Alice in Wonderland Tea Party and it’s a huge hit! Don’t worry: there’s no calling for “off with their heads”! Instead, we’re enjoying tea, juice, decorating our own cookies and flowers, and listening to the Queen of Hearts read from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 classic.

The Three of Hearts (Meghan) & The Queen of Hearts (Sarah) preside over the CMNH Alice in Wonderland Tea PartyThe Three of Hearts (Meghan) & The Queen of Hearts (Sarah) preside over the CMNH Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

While we celebrate this holiday full of love, friendship and fun, take a walk down memory lane with some of these special valentines from decades past. Do you remember any of them? Did you give or receive some of these when you were a child?

Dorothy & The Tin Man - The Wizard of Oz, 1930sDorothy & The Tin Man – The Wizard of Oz, 1930sSuperman, 1940sSuperman, 1940sSorcerer Mickey - Fantasia, 1950sSorcerer Mickey – Fantasia, 1950sLudwig Von Drake, 1950sLudwig Von Drake, 1950s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman, 1960sBatman, 1960sHuckleberry Hound, 1960sHuckleberry Hound, 1960s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ronald McDonald, McDonald's - 1970sRonald McDonald, McDonald’s – 1970sMiss Piggy & Animal - The Muppets, 1980sMiss Piggy & Animal – The Muppets, 1980sDonatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1980sDonatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1980s

 

Wicket & R2-D2 - Return of the Jedi, 1980sWicket & R2-D2 – Return of the Jedi, 1980sTails & Sonic - Sonic the Hedgehog, 1990sTails & Sonic – Sonic the Hedgehog, 1990sMichael Jordan - Chicago Bulls, 1990sMichael Jordan – Chicago Bulls, 1990sRaccoon Mario - Super Mario Brothers 3, 1990sRaccoon Mario – Super Mario Brothers 3, 1990s

 

Donkey - Shrek, 2000sDonkey – Shrek, 2000sWall-E, 2000sWall-E, 2000s

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot 2015-02-13 16.49.12CMNH Staff celebrating Valentine’s Day 2015

The picture above is of CMNH staff showing all the ways that your donation to the museum helps us achieve our mission and vision every day. If you want to be our Valentine this year, please take a look at our Start Strong Fund initiative and see how you can help today and every day in the lives of the children and families in our community.

Happy Valentine’s Day from your friends at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire!

 

 

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