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!
Do you visit the Children's Museum of New Hampshire a lot and don't want to deal with parking tokens or running out to feed the meter? The town of Dover has started to use the EasyPark System and it might be a great solution for many of our visitors. It has several advantages:
- No longer need to go to and from the parking meter. Just turn your EasyPark on for the zone you are in and enjoy your visit downtown.
- No longer have to predict how long you will be parked and paying for unused time. Just turn the device off when you are done.
- Pay "by the minute." No one hour minimum for credit cards or 20 minutes for coins/tokens.
- It can be turned on before the hours of meter operation and won't start charging until 9am.
- You don't have to come out to turn it off. The EasyPark will stop charging once meter hours end. Just remember to turn off before the next morning.
- It will remind you every 60 seconds with a tone in the event you drive away and don't turn it off.
- You can still take advantage of the "short visit exception" free parking in on-street spaces. Simply don't turn your device on. Parking officers will track your short visit like they do all cars. If you change your mind and want to park longer, just turn the device on.
- If used properly, virtually eliminates the chance of getting a parking ticket.
- Not only does the EasyPark system work in Dover, but also in Durham, Portsmouth and Manchester.
You will need internet access & a credit/debit card to use the EasyPark System.
- Each EasyPark cost $29.95 including $10 in parking fees.
- There is a $1.10/month membership fee per device or $11 a year when paying for the year in advance.
- Go to www.easyparkusa.com and set up your account or you can call 1-855-873-2797 and EasyPark will send you an email to walk you through the process.
- $3.25 fee for reloads up to $50; $3.70 for $75; and $4.25 for $100.
Your membership fee gets you:
- Free battery replacement every 12 months
- Online and phone account assistance
- Access to online reports of parking activity
Questions? Call (603) 516-6132
A unique, irreverent and fun event happened in Queens, NYC on Saturday, September 23 and it has a unique tie to New Hampshire. The Punk Rope Games IX has been held annually in New York City since 2009. A cross between the Olympics and Mardi Gras, the Games feature teams of 4 in costume, competing in 10 events with titles like the “Rubber Chicken Relay” and “Rope Skipping Barrel Race.”
This year, the majority of the registration fees from the Punk Rope Games, over $1,100, have been donated to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in honor of a recently departed museum volunteer, Vicky Haft. The Punk Rope Games are organized by her son, Tim Haft.
“My mom witnessed her first and only Punk Rope Games last year, less than two months before her untimely death,” shared Tim. “Watching the competition made her so happy as did volunteering at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. It seemed only fitting that this year’s Games be a tribute to both my mom and the great and important work being done at CMNH.”
Tim Haft created Punk Rope in 2004 to provide an edgy alternative to mainstream fitness classes. Their raucous classes for jumpers of all ages have taken place at gyms, community centers, bowling alleys, bars, breweries, city parks, art galleries, churches, playgrounds and even the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
“On the surface, the Punk Rope Games are an athletic competition, but what they are really about is expressing creativity in a youthful, playful manner,” said Tim. He adds “The costumes are clearly more important than the athletic feats!”
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is located along the Cocheco River in downtown Dover and offers two floors of interactive exhibits for kids ages birth to 12 years. The museum’s mission is to actively engage families in hands-on discovery and to inspire all to become the next generation of innovators and creative thinkers. “Something that Vicky believed in and certainly reflects our goals here at Punk Rope,” said Tim. “We hope the funds raised will, in some small part, help CMNH to more easily achieve its mission. Even if just one child is positively impacted, the ripple effect can be felt throughout the world.”
“We’re thrilled that Tim has chosen to throw the Games this year in honor of Vicky,” said Doug Tilton, CMNH Director of Visitor Services and Volunteer Coordinator. “She was one of my closest friends, and in the 9 years that we worked side-by-side at the museum, she transformed both the museum and me. I use Vicky as a guide star to help us keep the Museum as the kind, welcoming and nurturing place as it was when she was with us.”
Learn more about the Punk Rope Games at http://www.punkrope.com/about/punk-rope-games/.
Starting Tuesday, July 11, 2017, new meters installed and enforced by the city of Dover in the Henry Law Parking lot next to the new Dover Adventure Playground will go into effect. Here are the basics:
- Cost within the lot will be $1 per hour.
- There is a 4 hour limit (but you can reload it after that 4 hours, or park along Henry Law Avenue where there is no time limit on the meters for 75 cents/hour).
- It's a "Pay and Display" system.
- You can pay with change, tokens or credit cards.
- Meter parking is in effect 9am-5pm Monday through Friday. Weekends and holidays are FREE.
If you are a regular visitor to the museum and are looking for a way to save money on parking:
As an amenity to our guests we'll be selling the city of Dover's pre-packaged bags of 26 parking tokens for $5 at no mark-up. They will be for sale here 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.
Vicky Haft was a longtime volunteer of the Children's Museum of New Hampshire. She recently passed away in 2016 and we miss her dearly. Museum staff took some time to reflect on Vicky's legacy as a dedicated volunteer and a wonderful person. The museum was lucky to have her as part of its history.
Jane Bard, CMNH President
"I remember Vicky calling me 'honey,' in fact, I think Vicky called many people she encountered 'honey.' Young, old, male, female, she had a way of making you feel like you are precious, that you are family. The Museum can be a hectic and energetic place, and I always remember Vicky being a calm presence, someone who no matter what was happening around her, she was able to focus on whatever child needed her help in our project area in Portsmouth. She was a friend to all and was part grandmother/part mentor to the young staff and volunteers."
Xanthi Gray, Education Director
"There are many fond memories of Vicky as she was an important part of the museum's volunteer program for so many years (in Portsmouth & in Dover). Vicky had a way of greeting all visitors with a warm & sparkling smile, making them feel important and welcome. She enjoyed chatting with children & adults alike and getting to know their stories. She was open & warm which made everyone feel comfortable in her presence, visitors and staff!
I always remember that Vicky loved projects. Whether it meant cutting out 50 paper bear masks for Teddy Bear Clinic or making sewing repairs on a soft sculpture fish head, she was eager to help and enjoyed the work as she conversed with visitors. Having never driven, once the museum moved to Dover, it was no longer possible for Vicky to walk to the museum from her home. She was still eager to volunteer, so staff members took turns giving Vicky rides to and from the museum each week so she could continue her volunteer work. On many occasions, I had the opportunity to drive her. I so enjoyed getting to hear the stories of her family members, who she loved dearly and lit up when she spoke of them. And, in typical Vicky fashion, she never forgot to ask about my family and seemed to also enjoy hearing about them.
Each year Vicky would leave us for a winter break in Florida. She would always return with a treat for the staff. But truly the best treat for us was having the opportunity to be in Vicky's presence and enjoy her friendship. She touched so many of us and we will never forget her!"
Paula Rais, VP of Development & Community Engagement
"I met Vicky when the museum was still in Portsmouth. She was a fellow New Yorker, though she lived in the city and I was from Long Island. We talked a lot about New York, art, families, and pets. Vicky and her husband Bob had King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, and my parents also had that breed of dog and grew up in NY, so that really bonded us! Vicky was soft spoken, called everyone 'Honey,' but she also had sass and a NY toughness. Despite being a very petite woman, you wouldn’t want to mess with her!"
Doug Tilton, Director of Visitor Services
"Vicky Haft was my friend. I want to be clear about that because everything I say will be biased. She was one of the closest and dearest friends I’ve ever had, and that’s because it was pretty much impossible to be Vicky’s friend and not see and feel about her that way. We worked together all of our Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for nine years and then for at least four hours a week off and on for another couple of years after we moved from Portsmouth. Seeing Vicky walk through the front door was quite literally the highlight of our workweek, no exaggeration. It is no overstatement to say she transformed the project area each day with her presence. Anyone who worked with Vicky will tell you she had that special ability to meet the child (or their moms, dads, grandparents or caregivers) on his or her level and then gently guide them through their experience. I’ve never met anyone who used her 'people skills' so effectively. Vicky was an exemplary volunteer and teacher of children and she gave of herself unconditionally all the time. I don’t think the Children’s Museum has ever had any better emissary, myself included. I use Vicky as a guide star to help us keep the Museum as the kind, welcoming and nurturing a place as it was when she was with us.
When the museum was located in Portsmouth, volunteers earned a gift membership for every fifty hours they served. We had only a couple of volunteers who earned them at the rate Vicky did and some of them would turn their gift back to us to donate them to families in need through our funded membership program. Vicky always took hers and enjoyed finding and identifying those families she thought could benefit from the Museum. She was a native New Yorker and didn’t drive so she walked everywhere. Because of that Vicky met people all the time. She took a genuine interest in everyone and took the time to learn their stories so she had no trouble finding people to give her earned memberships to, or even to just invite to check out the Museum for an initial visit. I was frequently being introduced to some young mom or dad with a toddler Vicky had introduced to the Museum.
She had an amazing memory for detail and always remembered the names of the visitors, not to mention details of their lives and she always added an invaluable personal touch to the Museum. Vicky took a great interest in the Museum staff's children’s birthdays and would always remember us at birthday or holiday time. One time I came home to find a beautifully wrapped package at my back door with a note. It was more than a month from my birthday but she was going to be away and wanted to make sure I got my birthday gift on time, a thoughtfully chosen book on a subject I had once mentioned in passing.
There were a few issues that kept Vicky from continuing to volunteer with us on a regular basis once we left Portsmouth. In Portsmouth, she lived only a few thousand feet from the Children’s Museum. But, like I mentioned, she didn't drive, so it was a bit complicated to get her here to Dover. But she did help out here when she could. Vicky was one of only two people to twice receive our annual Florence Coughlin Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. If we hadn’t created the award in Florence’s name there is no question we would have named it for Vicky because she was so deserving of the honor. She was intelligent, sensitive, deeply committed and without a doubt one of the kindest and gentlest persons I’ve ever known. She was also a very positive and forward thinking person with a great sense of humor. Nothing I write can do Vicky’s memory justice, but her person and her actions and what they meant to us does live on."
Lee Landford and her husband Frank have been volunteers here at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire since we moved to Dover in 2008. Lee recently passed away in early 2017 and we miss her dearly. Frank continues to be a dedicated volunteer and dear friend. Museum staff took some time to reflect on happy memories with Lee and Frank.
Jane Bard, CMNH President
"Whenever I needed a pick-me-up on Tuesdays, I always knew who to seek out. Lee. No matter what she was doing, working with families with art projects in the Muse Studio, checking on the exhibits on the Museum floor, prepping endless materials for Wee Ones Wednesdays, school group visits, or any number of special events, she was always smiling, always had a positive word to say. A story about the latest outing with her grandchildren whom she adored, a playful jab at her beloved husband (and co-Museum volunteer) Frank, a funny observation about what she witnessed on the Museum floor – Lee was always someone you could count on to spread joy."
Tess Feltes, Gallery 6 Curator
"Lee was the most generous and kind soul, a lovely woman. Whenever I was installing an exhibition, she took the time to REALLY look at the artwork and appreciate the efforts of the artists and the theme of the exhibition. We also chatted about her family and her heritage…both of which she was very proud.
She was always interested in other people and seemed to cheerfully enjoy helping in the MUSE studio. Without a doubt, Lee was one of the sincerely nicest people I met at CMNH…and that’s in a setting of consummately nice and generous people.
I will REALLY miss her."
Xanthi Gray, Education Director
"Lee was a familiar face every Tuesday in the Muse studio of the museum. As a staff, we would look forward to catching up with Lee, & her husband Frank, who still volunteers for us. I always knew that the studio space in the museum, with all of its activities, would run smoothly when Lee was in charge. I have a preschool program that runs on Wednesdays and Lee was the person I would go to when I need materials prepped for class the next day. After years of helping out, I actually didn't even have to ask her...Lee just knew what I needed and made it happen. She always had a smile on her face, especially when she spoke of her grandchildren (who sometimes would join her and who became a part of our museum family as well) and was always eager to help. We relied on her and Frank during several events, including PizzaFest, Books Alive, the Teddy Bear Clinic and many others. The last event that Lee assisted with was the Jingle Bell Express. She & Frank were Santa & Mrs. Claus. One of our visitors even said that they were the best they had ever seen! Tuesdays have been tough at the museum these days as we feel a true friend is missing from our 'Museum Family,' but we will always remember that smiling face when we think of her!"
By Neva Cole, Communications Director at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
We all know that kids have boundless energy. Keeping up with them can be exhausting and sometimes, impossible. My daughter hasn’t stopped wiggling since I gave birth to her. We here at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire are constantly surrounded by that energy. We’ve been open for over 32 years and in that time, millions of kids have come running, hopping, jumping, skipping, or bouncing through our doors. And when it’s time to go home, despite all the excitement they’ve experienced inside, the parents are still the ones trying to keep up with their exhilarated kids.
All that movement and chaos was one of the hardest things for me to get used to as a parent. My daughter, five years of age, still sometimes just falls over while standing, because she never stops wiggling. I’ll see her out of the corner of my eye, just falling over, and then of course, bouncing back up again. But now, having worked here at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire for almost 2 years, I can see, that I am not alone. And parents, let me tell you, kids are the new renewable energy source. And it’s a beautiful thing.
Instead of telling her to be careful with that paintbrush as she windmills around the living room, I’ll make sure the paint is washable.
Instead of yelling at her to sit still while she watches a movie, I will let her flail around like an octopus.
Instead of getting irritated because she’s incapable of sitting on her bum while eating a meal for any length of time, I will let her graze as she roams throughout the kitchen.
Because I know that the day will come when she won’t have this energy. It escapes us all at some age, perhaps recycling back down to fuel the next generation. And when my grown-up self is exhausted from trying to keep up, I will lean on places that embrace the energy, like the Children’s Museum, like our local playgrounds, and if I can borrow them for a day, another child!
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.