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.
2016 was full of...
We met some new friends
We tried new things
And we looked to the stars
We learned new skills
And we got a bit nostalgic
We watched in awe
And cheered on artistic exploration
We were here to teach you
And you inspired us all.
Thank you for another wonderful year!
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!
CMNH recently celebrated the four-year anniversary of our monthly Alzheimer's Cafe. This lovely program flies a bit under the radar - and may not seem a typical program for a children's museum, but it holds an important place of honor in our mission to be a family resource.
The Café is designed for families caring for a loved one at home with dementia or Alzheimer's. It's a place to spend a couple of hours out together where the focus is not on the disease. We wanted to provide a lively, safe place for people to gather in the company of others who are on a similar journey. It's a place where you can make new friends and leave your troubles at the door: more afternoon tea than therapy session.
After four years, we decided to conduct a study of the benefits of coming to the Café from the prospective of the families who attend. Care partners and people with dementia agreed to fill out surveys, be interviewed and observed at the Café. The head of Nursing at Keene State College and a recent graduate from UNH nursing school helped design the study and collect data. On Monday, November 16 we will sharing our findings at a symposium at Wentworth- Douglass Hospital Conference Center. All are welcome to attend this free event from 1-4pm to hear what we learned.
So if you see McGee, a friendly Golden Retriever, walking around on the 3rd Thursday of the month, or hear the sounds of laughing, singing or instrumental music coming from the Museum's Deep Sea classroom, pop in and visit the Alzheimer's Cafe!
A New Exhibit Opens at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
Children Shape the Landscape with an Augmented Reality Sand Table
A new exhibit has opened at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire and it combines all the fun of a sand table, with some interactive and responsive high tech imagery. Guests to the Museum can help shape the landscape with a new augmented reality sand table, installed in the ever-popular Dino Detective area.
The technology behind this new exhibit was developed by the UC Davis W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences (keckCAVES), as part of an informal science education project funded by the National Science Foundation. This hands-on exhibit allows guests to create topography models by shaping real sand, which is then augmented in real time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines and simulated water, rain and even snow. The system was created to teach geographic, geologic and hydrologic concepts, but the exhibit takes on a different significance when placed in the Museum’s Dino Detective area.
“The sand table relates to the Dino exhibit well,” says Exhibits Director Mark Cuddy. “Geology looks at changes to Earth’s landscape over time, which helps paleontologists determine where to find fossils and, sometimes more importantly, where NOT to look for fossils.” In the rest of the Dino Detective exhibit, guests can dig for fossils, donning the protective eye gear and using the specialized tools that paleontologists would use to unearth these remains. “This entire exhibit is about exploration and questioning what we think we know. Why are the dinosaurs extinct? What can we learn from their bones? How does the water flow around the sand? What happens when I build a dam and then break the dam? Where does the water go?” These kinds of questions are answered, not through labels on a wall, but by the constantly shifting interactivity between the augmented reality component, the sand and the children.
“The best part about this exhibit is that it appeals to everyone. Young, old, new or repeat visitors: Everyone loves to play with the sand!” says Mark. “I’ve heard some great things while watching guests at the table. Things like ‘Woah! Look I made it rain!’ or ‘Let’s all push the sand into a big mountain in the middle of a lake.’ It keeps our guests constantly engaged and learning.”
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has been awarded an $8,000 grant from the Lincoln Financial Foundation to support three educational opportunities for New Hampshire’s struggling schools and underserved students. This grant will allow the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire to offer free school trips to the Museum (Museum InReach or MIR), more Focused Group Visits (FGV) as well as Traveling Focused Group Visits (TFGV) all of which were designed to respond to educators’ requests for more in-depth curriculum-based experiences.
“We recognize that schools and educators are struggling to access curriculum-based experiences for their students,” explained Paula Rais, Vice President of Development and Community Engagement at the Children’s Museum of NH. “We’ve developed these programs to not only help bring the students here to the Museum where they can experience our unique educational exhibits and programs, but also to help bring our knowledge into their classrooms.”
FGV and TFGV are flexible and portable learning experiences for pre-K through 5th grade students that explore art, science, history, ecology and world cultures, all of which align with state and national educational standards. These programs are based in STEAM education, an expansion of STEM learning concepts that integrate the arts into technology, math, engineering and science.
One hundred 1st grade students from McDonough School in Manchester, NH visited the Children’s Museum of NH recently as part of the Museum InReach program. “Thank you for letting us go on a field trip for free,” said Zachary. “My favorite part was the mind ball, kitchen and submarine.” The response from teachers has been equally positive. “As teachers, we really appreciate when students are involved and engaged,” said one teacher after her students participated in a Focused Group Visit. “The Physics of Flight program ties in beautifully with our curriculum.”
As the Children’s Museum of NH approached its 30th birthday, board and staff members were completing a long-range plan process and it was clear that the museum was ripe for an image update. Our previous logo, graphics and website had served us well as we transitioned from our Portsmouth location to Dover, but now we were looking ahead to the next decade and wanted to reflect our plans for transformation.
Our new branding was developed in partnership with Haigh & Martino (HAM), a Portsmouth-based “design think tank” that helped us identify our strengths, hone our message and think outside the box. We wanted our branding to represent the creative, forward-thinking nature of our business, the connections we create with children, families and schools, and the infinite possibilities of young minds.
HAM came to us with several creative concepts and our team immediately honed in on this one: vibrant hinged letters that spelled out our name but also could morph into an endless array of objects and shapes. We loved the flexibility this solution offered, allowing our identity to grow and change with us, while maintaining a distinctive look and feel.
Using the straight and curved pieces of our new custom alphabet letters, HAM set about creating a set of icons for us to be used in our communications. Some, like the gundalow, represented exhibits and objects found in the museum. Others could be used to illustrate posters for our programs and events. And a number of the icons could even be combined to create images like this design of the State of New Hampshire, used on a banner in Henry Law Park.
Last summer, we began unveiling our new branding, starting with signage on the front of our building. On a beautiful morning, we gathered with museum members and supporters to reveal our new exterior signage and celebrate with colorful games and crafts like tie-dying t-shirts using our new brand colors.
Next, we rolled out new stationery and collateral materials – from brochures and nametags to stickers and a new look for our quarterly newsletter. All that remained now was to redesign the museum’s website with a new look and updated functionality.
Working with Haigh & Martino, we reviewed different design concepts that incorporated our new branding, and chose the bold design you see today. The new site is based on the Craft CMS platform and is completely mobile friendly, something we know our members will appreciate. With large graphic buttons and a complete yet succinct menu, the site is easy to navigate and features tons of photos that really give prospective visitors a great idea of what they can see and do here.
We also built a custom calendar that allows users to filter events and programs by age or by type. You can quickly see what’s coming up just for babies and toddlers, tweens, and other age groups in between. Calendar events also link directly with related webpages for more information.
We hope you’ll take a few minutes to explore the new site and see what a great browsing experience it provides, whether you are looking at it on your phone, tablet or laptop. We are pleased to have this final piece of our rebranding project go public, and we look forward keeping it updated with great content for families, teachers, supporters, and partner organizations.
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 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, 1930sSuperman, 1940sSorcerer Mickey – Fantasia, 1950sLudwig Von Drake, 1950s
Batman, 1960sHuckleberry Hound, 1960s
Ronald McDonald, McDonald’s – 1970sMiss Piggy & Animal – The Muppets, 1980sDonatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1980s
Wicket & R2-D2 – Return of the Jedi, 1980sTails & Sonic – Sonic the Hedgehog, 1990sMichael Jordan – Chicago Bulls, 1990sRaccoon Mario – Super Mario Brothers 3, 1990s
Donkey – Shrek, 2000sWall-E, 2000s
CMNH 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!