The Museum Blog

Category: In the News

​Spooky Science and Fairy Fun at Annual Not-So-Spooky Spectacular

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Halloween is celebrated at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire with science experiments with the resident “Wacky Scientist,” Fairy Bubbles, fairy wand-making, scavenger hunts, a costume contest, pumpkin clay and bat hat creations. During the Not-So-Spooky Spectacular on Saturday, October 29, parents and children will be offered lots of spook-free activities, crafts and fun, all free with museum admission.

This annual family-oriented event mixes costumes with hands-on learning, trades in candy for crafts, and offers little ghosts and goblins a chance to discover something new with interactive science experiments. “And as a bonus,” adds Jane Bard, CMNH President, “No one will jump out and scare you!”

This year’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular is set for Saturday, October 29 from 10am–5pm inside the museum at 6 Washington Street in Dover.

The day’s activities for kids and families include:

  • Touring our exhibits in your costumes
  • Experiencing amazing science experiments with the museum's own Wacky Scientist at 11:30 am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm
  • Visiting ‘FairyLand’ where the fairies will guide you in making your own fairy wands
  • Trying your hand at a Fairy bubble experiment
  • Enjoying a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt around the museum and collecting stamps to receive an extra special prize
  • Competing in a costume contest at 3:15pm with your fellow ghouls
  • Creating crafts with pumpkin clay and crafting funky bat hats

All Not-So-Spooky Spectacular festivities are included in regular paid admission ($10 for adults and children, no charge for children under 12 months old) and free for Children's Museum of NH Members.

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​Museum Opens Doors to Children on Autism Spectrum


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.

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MUSE Studio gets Reinvented

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Thanks to D.F. Richard, one of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s busiest spaces, the MUSE Studio, is getting a makeover. For the past eight years, museum visitors of all ages have engaged in creative activities and challenges in the MUSE Studio. “Activities change every month here in the MUSE Studio,” shared Meredith Lamothe, CMNH Early Childhood and Literacy Coordinator, “the equipment and furniture needs to be versatile so we can use it in many different ways.”

The Studio now features a newly designed magnet table, inspiring artwork by local artist Sam Paolini, new technology for storytelling with a computer kiosk and an Elmo projector, a burlap-covered sewing table for collaborative art-making, and a pegboard table that can be taken on the road for the museum’s outreach programs. Renovations also include new tables and chairs, and of course, new art supplies.

Some other new features might not be as noticeable, but are equally important. The MUSE Studio also has a host of new picture books, open shelving for displaying artwork, and a curtain wall that will be utilized during special events like the popular Books Alive character appearance.

All MUSE Studio activities are free with museum admission. Muse Studio revitalization is supported through the generosity of D.F. Richard.

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​Dover Mini Maker Faire Showcases Local Innovation

Giant Jenga

With the end of summer comes New Hampshire’s only one-day Maker Faire. On Saturday, August 27, from 10am-4pm the Dover Mini Maker Faire will take over the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, and indeed, most of Dover.

“The ‘Mini’ only refers to the fact that it’s a one day event,” shared Jane Bard, President of CMNH. “There’s really nothing small about this Faire.” With 63 Maker presenters and 8 food vendors, this fourth annual Faire will be the largest one yet.

The Dover Mini Maker Faire is a hands-on festival that celebrates the creativity and innovation of NH’s creative “Makers.” “NH is well known for it’s artisan community, and that, combined with our booming tech industries and ‘Live free or die’ attitude results in some really amazing inventions,” shared Bard. Visitors of the Faire can not only expect to learn something new but to also try their hand at “Making.”

“People come to the Dover Mini Maker Faire to learn new things and to get inspired. I can’t think of any other Faire where you can see a short film, play with clay, and legos and circuits and electricity and then top it off with challenging a stormtrooper to a game of giant jenga!”

The Faire, which takes place from 10am-4pm at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, Henry Law Park and One Washington Mill in Dover, is always scheduled the last weekend of the summer. “We think it’s a great way to send kids back to school inspired,” shared Jane. Although, kids are not the only ones who will enjoy this Faire. “Over half the people who visit the Faire come without kids, which tells us there’s a lot of interest in the local maker movement from adults.”

Small sampling of some of the 2016 Makers:

Cider Hill Homestead Honey, York, ME

Ever wanted to learn about keeping bees? Heather Razin a beekeeper from York, Maine will be on hand at this year’s Faire, and while she’ll leave the bees at home, she’ll bring along her bee suits for Faire guests to try on, learn about the equipment and taste honey!

Form Lab, Hopkinton, NH

Form lab is an art studio run by Joe and Rachel Montroy. They use a variety of materials, primarily metal and clay to make sculptural and functional objects. Stop by their booth to play with some clay and watch them demonstrate a variety of techniques, such as throwing on the potter's wheel and bronze casting.

NAO Humanoid Robot, Portsmouth, NH

NAO Humanoid Robot is a robot that helps and inspires kids to learn in the classroom. NAO interacts with touch, voice or vision and is designed for educational interactions with children ages 5 and up. See NAO, the world's leading humanoid robot, perform live at this year’s Dover Mini Maker Faire!

The Cupcake Queen, Manchester, NH

12 year old Katie McQuaid has known since a young age what she wanted to do. She started mixing and making her own cupcakes about a year ago and has perfected 3 cupcakes that she now promotes and sells. Stop by to try a cupcake and learn more about an amazing young entrepreneur who is following her dreams.

Fishertechnik Robot, Newmarket, NH

Madison Kelly and Marie Hoehner, students at the Seacoast School of Technology will have a Fisherntechnik robot for guests to play and interact with. Fisherntechnik has robot kits that offer a variety of robotic products that can be combined however you want. These young Makers, in collaboration with their teacher Vaso Partinoudi, will have a computer running a program that controls their one-of-a-kind robot.

Sensor-bilitY, Northwood, NH

Sensor-bilitY, from Northwood, NH, makes affordable multi-sensory toys and tools for kids. They’ll have their products for sale as well as fun tables set up with all sorts of hands on play. The interactive sensory tables are designed by a 12 year old "creative director" who is on the autism spectrum.

The Northeast Bucaneers, Cape Neddick, ME

The Dover Mini Maker Faire will be taken over by these pirates, entertainers and merrimakers this year! Don’t be surprised if they challenge you to a sword fight, try to educate you on proper pirate etiquette or demand to take a selfie with you! Don’t worry, they’re friendlier than they look.

Delicious Science with Sub Zero Ice Cream, Nashua, NH

Sub Zero will show you how "cool" science can be! We provide a look at the states of matter, the relationship between volume, pressure and temperature and even the Leidenfrost effect. With visual experiments performed before your eyes YOU get to interactively participate by providing your hypotheses as to what the outcome of the experiments will be! Science is delicious!

Segway, Inc., Bedford, NH

Segway is making their first appearance at the Dover Mini Maker Faire! Discover their innovative and energy conscious products. Whether you’re developing a robotics app, taking on a new adventure, exploring the sights or focusing on improving employee productivity, it’s more fun to do so with style. Simplify your world and enjoy work and play that much more with Segway!

NEMO Equipment, Dover, NH

Dover based company NEMO Equipment returns to exhibit some of its cutting edge outdoor industry designs. Stop by and learn about the creative process, how the gear is made, the technologies used, and how NEMO equipment can help fuel your next adventure!

Maine State Library SLA Printer, Augusta, ME

The Maine State Library will be joining us at this year’s Faire and will be bringing some fun equipment! The Kudo 3D is an SLA (stereolithographic) 3D printer. It essentially works by projecting UV light to harden a special resin, layer by layer, to create a 3D object. It’s just one of the awesome tech devices available in their Makerspace.

Lights, camera, ACTION!, Chester, NH

The Narrow Street Films stunt team has been creating stage and film action pieces for close to ten years. Members have some impressive training including military training, weapons handling, guns, knives, swords and bo staff handling and much more. Members of the NSF Stunt team will be hosting a workshop on the ins and outs of making a cool, dynamic, and dangerous (looking) action scene!

Google Cardboard Virtual Tour Demonstration, Barrington, NH

Have you always wanted to see a tour of the statue of Liberty, but never had the chance? Want to visit the Children's Museum of New Hampshire when it's closed, in the comfort of your own home? Now is your chance! Make it Active, LLC, a Google Trusted Photography Street View Partner, will be at this year’s Faire with a Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Demonstration, along with simple instructions on how to build your own Google Cardboard at home!

Boogalow’s Island BBQ, Seabrook, NH

Check out Seabrook NH’s own Boogalow Island BBQ! Boogalow’s serves up delicious Jamaican BBQ including jerk spiced chicken, curry, short rib sandwiches and more. This food truck is a must for any BBQ lover and brings a slice of Jamaica right here to New Hampshire!

Tickets to the Dover Mini Maker Faire are on sale now for $10. Tickets will cost $12 at the door and kids ages 5 and under are free. Purchase tickets, learn more or sign up to volunteer at www.makerfairedover.com.

The Dover Mini Maker Faire is sponsored by the Unique College Savings Plan by Fidelity, VELCRO® Brand, Alexander Technology Group, Prime Buchholz, Beswick Engineering, The Rowley Agency, Construction Services of New Hampshire, Albany Engineered Composites, Chinburg Properties, Holy Rosary Credit Union, Garrison Women’s Health, Coed Sportswear, Inc. and Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, PA. Media sponsorships have been provided by iHeart Media, 95.3 The Bull, Z107, NH1 News on WBIN TV and New Hampshire Public Television.

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Dover Mini Maker Faire Showcases Local DIY

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On Saturday, August 27, 2016, “Makers” and fans of the “Do-It-Yourself” movement will descend upon Dover for the Dover Mini Maker Faire. The Faire is NH’s only licensed Maker Faire and will feature 63 Makers and 8 food vendors representing 37 different towns around New England!

This hands-on festival offers people who make things, whether its fly fishing ties, or 3D printed robots, a chance to show off what they are making and share what they are learning. “The Makers are the stars of this festival,” says Jane Bard, President of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, organizers of the Faire. “People come to the Dover Mini Maker Faire to learn new things and to get inspired. I can’t think of any other Faire where you can see a short film, play with clay, and legos and circuits and electricity and then top it off with challenging a stormtrooper to a game of giant jenga!”

The Faire, which takes place from 10am-4pm at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, Henry Law Park and One Washington Mill in Dover, is always scheduled the last weekend of the summer. “We think it’s a great way to send kids back to school inspired,” shared Jane. Although, kids are not the only ones who will enjoy this Faire. “Over half the people who visit the Faire come without kids, which tells us there’s a lot of interest in the local maker movement from adults.”

New this year will be the Faire’s first short “Short Film Festival” featuring two short films and an excerpt of a longer film, all created by local filmmakers.

Father-and-daughter filmmakers Alfred Thomas Catalfo and Gina Catalfo Nelson of Dover will present two of their award-winning short films.

"Signing" is an 11-minute film written, directed and edited by Gina Catalfo Nelson. It is a heartwarming, teenage love story about trust and accepting others for exactly who they are. "Rocketship" is a 15-minute film written and directed by Alfred Thomas Catalfo in which an unlikely bond is forged between a lonely boy and an elderly man claiming to be a former astronaut. Together, they transform a vintage vacuum cleaner into a rocketship for a surprising journey. The film is inspired by the rocketship sculptures of local artist David Random. This will be the first time Alfred and Gina have shown their films together.

The other film is an excerpt from “The Man Who Wasn’t Tex Magru” a 1940’s gangster comedy by Manchester-based filmmakers Narrow Street Films. Narrow Street Films’ stunt team will also be on hand at the Faire for a film stunt workshop. The films’ Directors will be on hand for a Q&A session after the viewing.

Volunteers are still needed to help with this year’s Dover Mini Maker Faire. Volunteers who sign up for at least one 3-hour shift will receive free admission to the Faire. All volunteers must be 16 years or older.

Tickets to the Dover Mini Maker Faire are on sale now for $10. Tickets will cost $12 at the door and kids ages 5 and under are free. Purchase tickets, learn more or sign up to volunteer at www.makerfairedover.com.

The Dover Mini Maker Faire is sponsored by the Unique College Savings Plan by Fidelity, VELCRO® Brand, Alexander Technology Group, Prime Buchholz, Beswick Engineering, The Rowley Agency, Construction Services of New Hampshire, Albany Engineered Composites, Chinburg Properties, Holy Rosary Credit Union, Garrison Women’s Health, Coed Sportswear, Inc. and Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, PA. Media sponsorships have been provided by iHeart Media, 95.3 The Bull, Z107, NH1 News on WBIN TV and New Hampshire Public Television.

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Parking and Directions

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.

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Here's a closeup of the intersection that seems to give people the most trouble.

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And of course if you get lost, just give us a call: 603-742-2002. We'll talk you through it!

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​NH’s only Maker Faire will be held in Dover

Maker Faire

The fourth annual Dover Mini Maker Faire, taking place on Saturday, August 27, 2016 and organized by the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, is New Hampshire’s only licensed Maker Faire. But, what exactly is a Maker Faire? “It’s a question we get asked a lot,” laughs Children’s Museum of New Hampshire President Jane Bard. “It’s a hands-on festival for all ages. Faire-goers get to see what the creative and innovative people and businesses (also known as Makers) in their communities are making and creating, and the Makers who choose to participate in the Faire get to show off their knowledge! And all of our Makers offers a unique activity or workshop for people to try out.”

The Dover Mini Maker Faire is designed to be forward-looking, showcasing makers who are exploring new forms and new technologies. But it doesn’t just highlight the technical fields. Maker Faires, in general, also feature innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft. So it’s not unlikely to see a young baker showcasing her cupcake recipes next to a high-tech personal transportation device from Segway at a Faire…both of which you can see at this year’s Dover Mini Maker Faire.

At the Dover Mini Maker Faire, which takes place inside the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, outside in Henry Law Park and across the river at One Washington Mills, people can make and launch a paper rocket, find out how to publish a book, learn about beekeeping, drive a robot, learn how to code, eat ice cream made using liquid nitrogen, take a selfie with a Stormtrooper, explore electricity and make a working circuit, try their hand at movie stunt fights, learn about the science of brewing and so much more. “People really are amazed at just how much there is to do at the Faire,” said Jane. “In fact, I think we figured out that to see everything at the Faire you’d have to spend only 6 minutes at each Maker booth!”

This year’s Faire has the most Makers signed up to participate, as well as the most food vendors, since it started four years ago. “We’re pretty excited about all the Makers of course,” said Jane “But I’m also looking forward to trying food from all our food trucks!” Newcomers to the Faire, Boogalows Island BBQ, Vagabond Coffee, Sub Zero Ice Cream and People’s Popcorn will join alumni Terra Cotta Pasta, Kona Ice and 7th Settlement Brewery’s “Juice Burger” truck. In the spirit of the Maker Movement, many of these food vendors are “Do-It-Yourselfers.” “Sub Zero Ice Cream will be doing an on stage science experiment with nitrogen, 7th Settlement Brewery will be giving tours of their micro brewery which is right across the street from the museum, and Vagabond Coffee made much of their setup at Port City Makerspace…who is also represented at this year’s Faire” said Jane.

2016 marks the 4th annual Dover Mini Maker Faire. The Faire is a licensed event through Maker Media. The first Maker Faire was hosted in the Bay Area of California in 2006 as a place for makers to show what they made and share what they learned. In 2013, 100 independently-produced Mini (one day events) and Featured (2 or more day events) occurred around the World. In fact, this year’s Dover Mini Maker Faire is scheduled on the weekend between Calgary, Canada and Berlin, Germany Faires.

Volunteers are still needed to help with this year’s Dover Mini Maker Faire. Volunteers who sign up for at least one 3-hour shift will receive free admission to the Faire. All volunteers must be 16 years or older.

Tickets to the Dover Mini Maker Faire are on sale now for $10. Tickets will cost $12 at the door and kids ages 5 and under are free. Purchase tickets, learn more or sign up to volunteer at www.makerfairedover.com.

The Dover Mini Maker Faire is sponsored by the Unique College Savings Plan by Fidelity, VELCRO® Brand, Alexander Technology Group, Prime Buchholz, Beswick Engineering, The Rowley Agency, Construction Services of New Hampshire, Albany Engineered Composites, Chinburg Properties, Holy Rosary Credit Union, Garrison Women’s Health, Coed Sportswear, Inc. and Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, PA. Media sponsorships have been provided by iHeart Media, 95.3 The Bull, Z107, NH1 News on WBIN TV and New Hampshire Public Television.

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Rocks Rock!

Now on view in the Naturalist Study

We have a great collection of rocks, minerals and fossils on display in our Naturalist Study exhibit, thanks to the Woodman Museum. This exhibition is a collaborative project that relates the collections and missions of Dover's two museums, bringing rocks and minerals from the Woodman Museums's permanent collection to the Children's Museum of New Hampshire. There are rocks, minerals, crystals and fossils of all shapes, ages, and origins in our display cases, as well as a variety of rocks that are out to be touched and examined under a large magnifying glass or our digital microscope.

You can learn about how rocks are formed and then changed over time (the Rock Cycle) while examining the rock specimens. Did you know that every rock on this planet, or even other planets, falls into one of 3 categories - Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary. Come and find out what makes these rocks different from each other. Since we are learning about rocks, of course we have to talk about volcanoes! Volcanoes are a big part of the Rock Cycle, and a very interesting natural phenomenon. We have some volcanic rocks on display that show how different rocks form during different types of eruptions. Did you know their used to be several volcanoes in New Hampshire? Geologists come from all over the world to study the remnants of the volcano that is now know as the Ossipee Mountain Range.

We rotate The Naturalist Study exhibits by season so there is always something new to see. Rocks will be on display through June, 2016. We'll then have a short exhibition on Sharks for Shark Week, my favorite. We'll end the summer with an exhibit all about local wildlife in the Gulf of Maine.

Thanks again to the Woodman Museum for lending us your awesome rock collection!

The Naturalist Study exhibit is sponsored by The Little Harbor Charitable Foundation.

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