Families with children on the autism spectrum are invited to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire for a free visit on the first Sunday of every month. Exploring Our Way provides opportunities for guests to enjoy family time at the museum in a safe, understanding environment, allows parents to network with one another and helps families discover new resources.
“Sunday mornings are very quiet,” said Paula Rais, CMNH Vice President of Development and Community Engagement. “The museum doesn’t open to the public until noon, so we invite these families in to experience the museum for a stress-free morning from 10am-noon. Siblings are always welcome, and the families can stay after we open the museum to the public if they feel comfortable. We hope their visit during Exploring Our Way will give them the confidence to come back and explore during regular hours.”
Often, a children’s museum can be a loud and overwhelming place, especially for children with sensory issues. “The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s mission is to actively engage families in hands-on discovery,” said CMNH President Jane Bard. “And that means, ALL families. We take that very seriously here and do everything we can to accommodate families facing these unique challenges.”
Exploring Our Way Autism Partnership Program takes place next on Sunday, October 2, 10am-noon and is sponsored by H.O.P.E. Behavioral Consulting. This program is free.
What an absolutely boring topic for a blog! Parking?! Directions!? Meh.
However, it seems to be a thing preventing many of you from coming to visit us! So let's address some of the misconceptions about parking at and navigating to the Children's Museum of NH.
Misconception #1: No free parking
All city parking is free on the weekends and after 7pm. As an amenity to our guests we sell the city of Dover's pre-packaged bags of 26 parking tokens for $5 at no mark-up. They are for sale at the front desk during normal business hours as available. That will give you about a 30% savings off the current rate. You can also purchase these tokens at Harvey's Bakery and the Dover Chamber of Commerce.
Misconception #2: Metered parking spots have a time limit
The metered spots along Henry Law Avenue, as well as the spots inside the Dover playground parking lot do not have a time limit. You can get a parking receipt for ANY length of time up to 7pm...at which point, parking is free! Metered spots cost $1/hour and accept change or credit cards.
Misconception #3: Not enough parking
We beg to differ! In addition to all the "pay and display" spots in the parking lot, on-street spots along Henry Law Ave, Central Ave, Washington Street and Main Street there are also metered spots in Dover's new 300+ space downtown parking garage at 45 Orchard Street, which is only a 5 minute walk to the museum! This new (opened in 2016) garage has a Pay by Space system and costs $0.75 an hour. You can actually download an app that will allow you to pay for more time remotely without having to return to the garage. Learn more about it here.
Misconception #4: Getting there is confusing!
Well, we'll admit to this one. Downtown Dover can be a bit confusing to navigate on your first trip. We've tried to make it easier with the handy map below. There are a couple of things to keep in mind. One, put in 10 Henry Law Ave into your GPS, not our mailing address, 6 Washington Street. This will put you on the right road to find the parking lot!
The second thing to keep in mind is that Washington Street, Main Street and Henry Law Ave are all one way. No matter which way you are coming from, North, South, East or West, if you get to downtown Dover and pass by the museum (in pink), you can just follow the yellow triangle around and try it again till you make it to the parking lot (orange).
Let's break it down by direction:
If you are coming up Central Ave (otherwise known as Rte. 9 or 108) and get to the Central Ave/Washington Street lights, take a hard right onto Henry Law Ave. (OR, avoid the light altogether and just past the bus stop across from City Hall, take a right onto Williams Street which will take you right onto Henry Law Ave. Your next left takes you into the parking lot behind the museum!)
If you are coming down Central Ave (otherwise known as Rte. 9 or 108), stay in the left hand lane but don't take a hard left. Take the soft left, across Washington Street onto Henry Law Ave.
If you are coming down Washington Street, stay in the right lane, but don't take a hard right onto Central Ave, take a soft right onto Henry Law Ave past the intersection.
If you are coming from Portland Ave, you have to take a right onto Main Street. Take your first left and swing around onto Central Ave (otherwise known as Rte. 9 or 108). Then stay in the left hand lane but don't take a hard left. Take the soft left, across Washington Street, onto Henry Law Ave.
Here's a closeup of the intersection that seems to give people the most trouble.
And of course if you get lost, just give us a call: 603-742-2002. We'll talk you through it!
Teddy Gets a Checkup at Our Teddy Bear Clinic
By: Amanda Girard, CMNH Intern
It's that time of year again! Our Teddy Bear Clinic is coming up on Friday, August 5 2016. This is one of our favorite events that we’ve been doing for over 25 years! At last year's clinic we talked to many families who have made it a tradition to come every summer. One family we talked to has actually cancelled hair appointments to go to our Clinic!
“It’s the cutest idea!” was something that I heard a lot during the last clinic as visitors checked in their patients. After getting an ID bracelet with their name on it (names ranging from "Stuffy" and "Bunny" to "Who Who" the owl and many, many others) and a short wait in the waiting room, each animal was ready to visit one of our volunteer doctors from Portsmouth Regional Hospital.
Stuffed animals were weighed and measured and some got stitches, Band-Aids and stickers too. Last year, we even had a patient named “Doggie” become a Mom to 4 puppies, a first for our clinic!
Even though it’s called a “Teddy Bear Clinic,” visitors brought more than just bears! Tigger, a giant frog,
colorful birds, Clifford the Big Red Dog, a cat mermaid, Pluto, horses, unicorns, and even Dr. Who were just some of the many unique patients!
“The variety is always something that gets me,” said Zach, a Museum staff member. “I mean, there are plenty of Teddy bears, but also snakes, cats, dogs and more. Dr. Who is a first though!”
The event also helped kids who may be a bit anxious about visiting the doctor. “It makes kids more comfortable with the idea of going to the doctor,” one of our volunteer nurses explained. “Seeing that a needle doesn’t hurt Teddy can help kids who may be afraid of needles.” If their stuffed friend can make it through a trip to the doctor, then they definitely can!
Afterwards, visitors played with their dogs, Teddy Bears, cats and bunnies throughout the Museum until our Teddy Bear Picnic where everyone enjoyed juice, fresh fruit and animal crackers on a beautiful day in Henry Law Park!
We hope you can join us for this year's Teddy Bear Clinic!
The Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Innovation Lab at the Children’s Museum of NH is now a permanent part of the museum and for the last few weeks has been hosting drop-in events every day. The Lab is designed to provide students, teachers and visiting families with enriching hands-on STEAM learning experiences.
“The response has been wonderful!” shared Jane Bard, President of the Children’s Museum of NH. “We’ve had schools, teachers, and kids of all ages use the STEAM Lab, and with each new interaction, we feel confident that we’ve created a useful and timely resource.” Programs in the STEAM Innovation Lab can be tailored to any group.
Learning Labs are for schools and organized groups and come with themes like “Keeping Current: Circuits” or “Mission to the Moon.” New spring and summer classes and camps for kids are being scheduled now and some of those themes include “Sci Fi Science” and “Learn to Code.” The Children’s Museum educators are gearing up to offer Professional Development opportunities for teachers with workshop themes like “NGSS Crosscutting Standards: What Are They and How Do I Incorporate Them?” The Museum is currently partnering with UNH Cooperative Extension to offer “Inquiry Teaching Methods: Grounding STEM Education Programs in Science Practices” to 17 classroom educators from throughout the region.
Debuting at the Museum’s Earth Day Celebration on April 22 will be a new “Eco Boys and Girls Science Bites” program. CMNH has partnered with Eco Boys and Girls to create a series of 12 hands-on science demonstrations and activities featuring five lovable animated characters, each designed to educate pre-K to third grade children about the Earth, sustainability and our interconnectedness. Ernie Earth preserves the natural world and its ecosystems; Lulu Love demonstrates the importance of loving herself, others and all living things; Patsy Peace resolves conflicts so that humans and other living things can exist in peaceful ways; Ray Recycle shows people ways to reuse, reduce and recycle, and Sammy Sun spreads the word about conservation and protecting natural resources. These programs will be drop-in and free with museum admission. The lessons will also be available on the Museum’s website for free use in classrooms, after school programs or by families at home.
The STEAM Innovation Lab doesn’t get much quiet time because every day the museum is open, there is a scheduled drop-in activity included with admission so that guests of all ages can experience this unique space. Some programs encourage kids and parents to work together to build a prototype of an invention. Other programs lead kids through an engineering challenge to build boats, bridges or towers. Much of the Lab’s focus is on problem-solving and coming up with creative solutions. Other days visitors will be engaged with the Lab’s technology like the 3D printer and the FLoid® Imaging System microscopes provided by Thermo Fisher Scientific, one of the Lab’s legacy sponsors. Check our daily calendar on the Museum’s website: www.childrens-museum.org
In addition to all the daily drop-in programs that are free with museum admission, there are also programs that may cost a little extra to attend, but are perfect opportunities for adults and kids to learn together. Storybook STEAM happens most Fridays 2-2:45pm and is perfect for ages 3.5-5. Kids hear STEAM-related stories, read by a Museum educator, and then work with their adults on a project inspired by the story. Storybook STEAM doesn’t require registration and is $10 per adult/child pair for Members and $12 for adult/child pair for Non-members. There are also adult and child workshops on one Saturday a month called “STEAM Saturday Workshops,” The latest one is this coming Saturday, April 16 from 10:30-11:30am. Kids and adults can create their own Shrinky Dinks Sculptures to take home! On Saturday, May 14 from 10:30-11:30am adults can learn how to code their own video games right along with their kids (ages 8-12)! The cost for workshops like these is $15 per adult/child pair for Members and $20 for Non-members. (Does not include Museum admission.)
To help facilitate these kinds of coding workshops, the Children’s Museum has partnered with local software developer, James Terry, to create the museum’s first app. The “CMNH Game Maker” app has been developed to be used on the STEAM Innovation Lab’s iPads and allows users to switch seamlessly between coding, creating art, debugging, and testing their own video games. “Our goal with CMNH Game Maker is to provide a single tool that lets students (and interested adults) have everything they need to create their first video game,” shared Museum Educator (and James’ daughter) Sarah Terry. The app is currently being Beta tested by enthusiastic museum students throughout the spring. “Sarah and I are learning a lot watching the kids use the App and it’s given us a lot of ideas for new features and ways to make it even more accessible for kids who want to turn their passion for playing video games into the skill to make them," said James.
For more details and a schedule of events in the STEAM Innovation Lab, please visit our website. Thank you to our STEAM Innovation Lab founding sponsors Thermo Fisher Scientific, The Roger R. and Theresa S. Thompson Endowment Fund, Granite State Development Corporation and the Horne Family Foundation.
Gallery 6, the space reserved for art inside the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, will have a new exhibition opening on March 5 and featuring art from many different cultures. MOSAIC: Exploring Our Multicultural Neighborhood will be paired with a special celebration of cultural exploration on Saturday, March 12, where guests can taste North African cooking, enjoy traditional Bhutan dancing and music, try their hand at Chinese brush painting and take part in a community art project.
The art on view in MOSAIC will include photographs of immigrants and refugees living in New Hampshire taken by Becky Field from her book Different Roots, Common Dreams, which came out in the Fall of 2015. Photographer David Hiley, who traveled to Haiti with a group of Seacoast, NH medical professional volunteers in coordination with the Haitian Health Foundation, will present his series of Haitian “selfies” of children and parents. “My eye was drawn to the tension I saw between wrenching poverty and the vibrancy and dignity of these children,” shared David. “Allowing the children to take selfies captured the curiosity and joy common to children everywhere.” Also on view will be photographs of children from China taken by retired pediatrician Skip Small and a glimpse into the life of a child from Japan curated by Sayaka and Seth Blewitt. Also on view will be selected dolls from the Museum’s collection of dolls from around the world.
The special celebration of MOSAIC promises to be just as diverse as the cultures represented in the art itself. The event will be from 11am-2pm on Saturday, March 12 at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover. Guests who come in traditional cultural costumes (super heroes and princess costumes do not apply) will receive half-off their individual admission. From 10:45am-Noon European classically trained chef Patrice Gerard will demonstrate North African cooking and guests can taste his vegetarian tagine with couscous. Becky Field will be on hand to talk about her photography project and her work documenting cultural, ethnic and religious diversity in NH. At 11:30am and 1pm dancers from Bhutan will demonstrate traditional dance and music in the Museum’s Muse Studio. David Hiley will be walking around the Museum taking “selfies” of guests who come dressed in their traditional costumes. Runjuan Huang will demonstrate Chinese brush painting and guests can try their hand at that or help create a community weaving project, which, when completed, will be installed on the exterior of the Children’s Museum. The opening celebration events are free with regular museum admission.
The MOSAIC exhibition will be on view through Tuesday, May 31 and is sponsored by Optima Bank and Trust, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the Fuller Foundation. In addition to the art on view and special celebration event, every two weeks the Museum educators will focus on the cultures of different countries and feature country themed crafts and activities in the Muse Studio. The countries, in order of appearance, will include Tanzania, Peru, Haiti, Iceland, Japan, Pakistan and Canada. At the end of May, art projects and facts about all seven countries will be displayed together in the Muse Studio.
As always, no admission fee is required to view the art in Gallery 6. Regular admission applies for families who wish to also explore the rest of the Museum.
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!
Your dear and faithful Queen
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.
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.
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?