By Paula Rais, CMNH Vice President of Development and Community Engagement
In 2011, the Children's Museum of New Hampshire launched the first Alzheimer's Cafe on America’s east coast. Alzheimer’s Cafés provide a safe, supportive and judgment-free setting for people living with dementia and their loved ones to enjoy an outing in the community, socialize, and make new friends. This program exemplifies the museum’s goal of working with communities to meet existing needs and demonstrates an innovative, concrete way to provide community based solutions to these problems. The Museum’s vibrant inter-generational environment proved to be an ideal setting and the Café became very popular. Dozens of similar programs sprouted up in communities around New England modeled after the Museum’s program.
At the Café each month, we share stories and tell jokes, listen to musical performances and interesting presentations, or celebrate holidays and birthdays. Some attendees became friends and socialized outside the monthly Cafe gatherings. According to Dr. Lokvig, the founder of the first Alzheimer’s Café in the USA, “In spite of the name ‘Alzheimer’s Café’, we leave the disease at the door and celebrate the person beyond dementia. The Café is a chance for everyone to step out of their daily roles and share a positive experience in a supportive environment.”
Since Covid-19 struck in March 2020, our Café has not been able to meet. I know that our Café families are missing each other's companionship and support, and we miss seeing them at the Museum. When it is deemed safe for our staff and visitors, we will explore options for resuming this important program. Please contact me if you would like more information about the Alzheimer's Cafe or want to be on our email list to receive updates.
In the meantime, allow me to honor the occasion of the 9th anniversary of the Alzheimer's Cafe at the Children's Museum, the many families who shared their lives with us, and the generous volunteers, performers, and funders who helped make it all possible.
Happy summer Museum fans! We wanted to give you an update on the Children’s Museum and where we are at in terms of reopening. The short answer is, we are not opening yet. We have studied the latest guidelines for the reopening of Museums and are working diligently to adapt our facility, exhibits, cleaning and safety procedures to meet and exceed these guidelines. Our top priority is to keep our visitors and staff safe. We are taking your comments and suggestions from our recent survey under advisement and are confident that when we do reopen, it will be as safe as possible for all involved, and still feel like the museum you know and love.
In the meantime, we encourage you all to continue to support our mission of actively engaging families in hands-on discovery with a purchase of a “Stay and Play Summer Camp Kit.” We sold out our first round of kits and they are back on sale now to be be available for pick-up in July at the museum! The Discovery Camp kits are for ages 6-10 and the Wee Kits are for ages 3.5-5. And then we are continuing to offer our “Community Builder” option, where you can purchase either kit for yourself and donate one to a child in need - or donate both - whatever suits your situation. We connect with local partner organizations to identify families who may greatly benefit from an activity kit this summer. So far we’ve been able to donate kits to 15 families thanks to your generosity!
Another way to support our work is to purchase a Car or Cash Raffle ticket for $100! We’ve extended the sale through the end of August. Only 725 tickets will be sold and one lucky winner will be announced on August 29th and can choose between a black 2020 Nissan 370Z coupe (MSRP $35,215) or a metallic grey, 2020 Nissan Leaf S model 100% electric car (MSRP $34,610) or $20,000 cash!
And of course a Membership to the Museum makes a wonderful gift for any family! Please remember, all Children’s Museum of New Hampshire members will have their membership extended by the number of months we are closed.
Stay positive and healthy and we will see you soon.
By Leila McRae, Bookings & Membership Manager
When we closed our doors in March we had hoped that we would only be closed for a few weeks. Certainly, we did not anticipate being closed for months and not being able to welcome you to the museum for an extended period.
In light of our closure we will be extending all current memberships for however many months we are closed from their expiration date. All memberships will be updated in our database with the new expiration dates and members will be issued an updated expiration date sticker to add to their current membership card.
We cannot wait to welcome you back to the museum when it is sure to be a safe and fun visit for all of our guests and staff. We miss seeing you, hearing your laughs, learning with you and sharing stories and enjoying our days with you.
In the meantime, please visit our Online Learning & Fun page to stay connected with the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire through a number of virtual activities, and follow us on Facebook to stay in touch and learn about members-only opportunities when we reopen.
Dear CMNH Friends,
I’m sure by now you all know how these announcements go. “These are unprecedented times.” Indeed they are, as I’m writing to you from my kitchen table, and not from inside the Museum listening to the sounds of happy children. Two weeks ago we thought we would be welcoming you back with a refreshed facility and exhibits on April 1st. Pandemics, as it turns out, are hard to predict, and we now know we can’t reopen just yet. But we will be back when it is safe to do so!
In the meantime, we’re doing what we do best, which is encouraging families to actively engage in hands-on discovery, now from the safety of their own homes. We are creating videos of our popular programs and sharing resources to support your at-home learning. Our goal is to continue to #PlayTogether while also bringing a sense of normalcy to children who miss their Museum friends.
Temporarily closing the Museum has not only been sad, but also devastating to us financially. As a non-profit, we rely on income from ticket sales, memberships, classes, and special events to keep the Museum running. Like many of you, we are tightening our belts, using our creative thinking skills to find ways to sustain us through this time, and looking forward to the day we can see you face-to-face.
Since we are closing longer than anticipated, we will be extending our family memberships so you can join in the fun when we reopen.
If you are able, here’s how you can support the Museum during the closure:
- Renew an expired membership or purchase a gift membership for a friend or loved one so you can visit together when we reopen. Gift Memberships aren’t active until redeemed here at the Museum, so they can be purchased at any time and are valid a year from the month of redemption. All memberships will be mailed out one we have an opening date.
- Share our free online content with friends, and consider giving a $5 donation for programs you and your family enjoy.
- Participate in our Car or Cash Raffle fundraiser, and have the chance to win an electric car, sports car or $20,000 prize.
As we watch spring unfold, we’re all taking a collective deep breath and moving forward one day at a time. We will be sure to keep in touch when there is news to share. We are honored to be a valued part of this community for the past 36 years, and look forward to seeing you all soon.
Jane Bard, President
As 2019 draws to a close, it’s a great time to reflect on the growth and change the Museum has experienced over the past year, and look ahead with anticipation to what 2020 will bring. Even after 36 years of creating experiences to engage children in hands-on fun and learning, each year still brings new challenges and opportunities.
In the past twelve months we:
- piloted three new fundraising events – Cider Flights & Tasty Bites, UnWined Grown-Up Night and Mini Golf at the Museum. All three events will continue in 2020 thanks to their success!
- hosted our final 5K Road Race. Thanks to all the runners, sponsors and the Seacoast Road Race Series for supporting this event throughout the past 34 Years.
- transformed an existing classroom into the Lights! Shadow! Action! Interactive Classroom that now serves as an engaging exhibit with the flip of a switch.
- converted our lighting to LEDs, continuing our commitment to being earth-friendly and cost effective.
- raised nearly $200,000 for a new outdoor space, the Play Patio, slated to open in the summer of 2020!
- increased our operating hours by opening at 9am to better serve our visitors.
- served a record number of visitors and program participants – over 110,000, an 8% increase over the previous year.
- launched a new three-year strategic plan that focuses on providing outstanding guest experiences, engaging in best business practices, expanding marketing efforts and growing our audience in purposeful ways.
All of us at CMNH are lucky to be surrounded by families and caregivers who want the best for their children, helpful volunteers and generous donors who want to make a positive impact in children’s lives, passionate educators who strive to spark a love of learning in their students, and vibrant communities that welcome us with open arms.
Thank you for being part of our story and success!
Jane Bard, CMNH President
Over ten years ago, the Children’s Museum was preparing to relocate and create a museum in Dover. D.F. Richard didn’t hesitate to help, and they have been committed partners ever since. I had the pleasure of reminiscing with Rick Card, CEO and General Manager of D. F. Richard, about our 10-year relationship.
As head of the Dover Chamber of Commerce in 2008, Rick recognized the museum’s move as an opportunity for the city. “It was a bold move at the time, and in the end it worked out well for the children, the city of Dover, and its citizens.” Being in Dover has also worked out well for the Children’s Museum!
D.F. Richard has been a loyal and unstinting supporter of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s educational programs, fundraising events, and exhibit spaces.
“At D.F. Richard we try to give back to organizations that our 14,000 customers are passionate about," shared Rick. "Our investment in the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire was a small gift in relation to what it has meant to the community.”
Devoted to family – father of three sons who also work at D.F. Richard, and grandfather of five – Rick continues the tradition of giving back to the community that began 86 years ago when the Richard family founded the company. “Dover is a family-oriented city. It’s a great place to live and do business. Thanks to the Children’s Museum, other businesses have moved into the area. You can make a day of it between visiting the Museum, the playground, and downtown businesses.”
The long-standing generosity of D.F. Richard has made it possible for the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire to develop programs and exhibits that have ignited the imaginations of nearly 1 million visitors since moving to Dover in 2008.
According to Rick, “The Museum engages kids with hands-on activities that keep them away from screens and keyboards. My sons love bringing their kids here. I like that the Museum takes care of the people who can’t afford to come. Looking back, we have all benefitted from having the Museum here!”
Partnerships like this are essential to our success in fulfilling our mission to actively engage families in hands-on discovery. To learn more about D. F. Richard, visit www.dfrichard.com.
To learn more about museum sponsorship, click here.
by Jane Bard, CMNH President
What’s new at the Museum? is the most commonly asked question when myself and my Museum colleagues are out and about in the community.
Before looking ahead, 2017 saw growth and change to best serve the 93,000 plus individuals we served last year. New experiences for our visitors included a new Thinkering Lab exhibit in January, to a major refresh of the iconic Build It-Fly It exhibit in the Fall, three new Gallery 6 exhibitions throughout the year, and the opening of the new Dover Adventure Playground outside our doors in June.
To deepen our impact, we created new curriculum-based programs for schools, our first-ever Grown-Up Play Dates and the We All Belong program for immigrant families. One of our most ambitious projects took place behind the scenes, an investment in a point-of-sales and database system that is helping us become more effective and efficient.
So what is in store for 2018? We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary and 10th year since becoming the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire and expanding in Dover by continuing to offer the same great programming and exhibits you’ve come to expect from us, while continuing to refresh these experiences and listening to the needs of our audience. Our One World exhibits will be getting a new life, introducing visitors to new cultures representing local immigrant populations through arts, culture and food. New signs within our exhibits will highlight the ways children are learning as they explore. Favorite programs and events will continue, while plans are underway for a special anniversary events in the summer and fall, so stay tuned!
by Rebecca Scheinberg, CMNH Intern
We are officially in 2017. We made it to a brand new year filled with possibilities. The New Year provides an opportunity for reflection and resolutions. It is a blank slate. It is a chance for new discovery, innovation, and creativity.
At the end of 2016, we asked you to join us in sharing your wishes for the New Year. As part of our Family New Year’s Eve celebration, visitors created ‘wish blimps’ that they launched off our 30-foot vertical, hand-powered conveyor system known as 'Build It, Fly It.'
Your wishes ranged from getting a pet guinea pig to peace on earth, from being able to fly, to...pancakes. Someone wished for a baby sister or brother and someone else wished that their baby sister would stop crying so much. One visitor wished for nachos, and another wished for her frosty the snowman to come to life. Another friend wished for snow. We are nearly two weeks into the New Year and this one has already come true!
These are some of your wishes:
We had a wonderful time playing and exploring with you in 2016. This year, we already have a new exhibit and many exciting upcoming events. We hope you will visit us soon to play. May this year bring even more adventure, exploration, love and kindness to all.
We hope all your wishes come true.