Symposium on popular Alzheimer’s Café
Children’s Museum of NH collaborates to share lessons learned
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has hosted a free monthly Alzheimer’s Café program for the past four years for families who have a loved one with dementia. With generous support from AARP, the Museum was able to conduct a research project to determine the benefits of attending the Café. The findings will be shared at a free symposium at the Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Conference Center (789 Central Ave) in Dover, NH on Monday, November 16 from 1- 4pm.
A report highlighting the results of the study, done in collaboration with Keene State College’s nursing program, will be available to anyone attending the symposium. “We conducted interviews, observed, and surveyed our Alzheimer Café participants,” says Paula Rais, Vice President of Development and Community Engagement. “All of the data was compiled and revealed the benefits of the Café from the perspective of those who attend. We also learned what improvements we can make to help us plan for the future. It’s been an invaluable process and we’re excited to share the results with the community.”
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire launched the first Alzheimer’s Café in the Eastern United States in October 2011. It has since attracted widespread attention from families affected by dementia as well as healthcare professionals. In 2012, the Museum’s Alzheimer’s Café program received the Leaders In Innovation award from the New England Museum Association. Held the third Thursday of each month from 2-4pm, people living with Alzheimer’s disease are welcomed, along with their family members and caregivers, to gather in a supportive, non-clinical setting to relax, enjoy refreshments and socialize.
The public and press are welcome to attend the symposium and are asked to RSVP to Paula Rais at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 603-742-2002.
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!
Children’s Museum of NH sponsors bring new life to popular programs and spaces
Favorite fall programming for the younger set has begun at the Children’s Museum of NH. Wee Ones Wednesdays, which has a huge following with CMNH families, is now proudly sponsored by the Bank of New Hampshire. This drop-in class for walkers and talkers ages 2-4 is described by museum educators as “PRE-preschool.”
“This class is so popular that we offer two sessions, one right after the other in order to accommodate more kids,” says Education Coordinator Xanthi Gray. Beth Pagliuca, who has been bringing her children to Wee Ones since her daughter was a week old, said
“I loved Wee Ones as a first school style experience for my children. They learned to sing songs with their peers, do a craft and sit quietly eating a snack while listening to a story. All while still having the comfort of a parent or caretaker right there in the room with them. I think it helped prepare both my children for preschool because they both started preschool with big smiles and no concerns.”
After families take part in this or other Early Learning Programs such as Shake, Rattle and Read baby storytime or Junior Science Explorers, they can make their way to the second floor of the museum where the Primary Place, an Early Learning Landscape has gotten a major refresh from the exhibit’s Sustaining Sponsor, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. This exhibit is designed specifically for the museum’s youngest visitors and the wear and tear on the beloved baby butterfly garden, animal puppets, giant box and train table are evidence of the over 700,000 kids that have enjoyed this space since 2008. “We are thrilled to support the exhibit,” says Dawn Fernald, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.
“The Children’s Museum is a treasure in our community and provides wonderful experiences for families centering on education, history and culture with fun and interactive displays. The wow factor is huge!”
The Children’s Museum’s recent Toddlerfest celebration, which highlights all these programs, exhibits and more designed specifically for their youngest guests, culminated on Sunday, October 4 with Train Day from noon to 2pm. The trains, which are also featured in the second floor Primary Place, are a favorite exhibit and this program allows families to not only play in the museum, but also take a trolley to the Dover Rail Yard where they can climb on and explore a real locomotive.
By Amanda Girard, Marketing Intern
“I thought it would be a fun thing for their age,” said Mrs. Weilbrenner, their teacher.
The students definitely thought so. Many of them had visited the Museum before. One girl told me she had been here “like, 40 times!” But for other students, this was their first time experiencing the Children’s Museum. They marveled at the new exhibit outside of the building, Ascent or Descent, laughed as they tried on silly costumes in front of the green screen and launched objects into flight with “Build It, Fly It.”
One thing’s for sure, no one was bored on this field trip.
But focused group visits to the CMNH are not just about exploring the exhibits, though there is plenty of time for that. Part of the group’s time is dedicated to an educational workshop led by Museum educators. The group can pick from fourteen different topics ahead of time to learn about, everything from mask-making to recycling to deep-sea creatures.
Smyth Road Elementary School decided to learn about nocturnal animals from educators Meredith Lamothe and Sarah Terry. The lesson took place in the Deep Sea Classroom, where all sorts of painted sea creatures can be spotted on the walls.
Activities in the lesson included listening to animal sounds and matching them with pictures of nocturnal creatures, learning about animals sense of hearing by concentrating on the sounds around them, and dissecting owl pellets.
The students were especially excited about the owl pellets. Exclaimations of “I got a skull!” and “It’s a hip!” were heard around the room during the activity. They were also given a chart so they could identify the animal bones they had found.
“The kids are always excited because it’s something new and special to them,” Museum educator Meredith Lamothe explained. “Being in school, they are used to having the same teacher and learning setting every day. It’s nice to be able to offer a new and enriching experience that gets students excited about learning.”
In the end, Smyth Road Elementary School left the Museum after a day of learning and a lot of fun!
If you are interested in the Museum’s focused group visits and would like to learn more, please visit this page. To book a visit, please contact Caitlynne Soule at email@example.com or call 603-742-2002.
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!
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s Alzheimer’s Café was recently featured on New Hampshire Public Television’s new series, Changing Aging in the Granite State. The episode premiered on Thursday, January 15, 2015 and featured Judy and Woody Sponaugle of Rye, NH who attend the museum’s free, monthly Café.
The Alzheimer’s Café at the museum started in 2011 and meets on the third Thursday of each month from 2–4pm. The Café is a supportive and welcoming place for people living with dementia and their care partners to spend an afternoon of conversation and socializing. Refreshments are provided and reservations are not required.
In 2012, the Children’s Museum of NH received the Leaders in Innovation award from the New England Museum Association for the Alzheimer’s Café program. The Museum is partnering with the Keene State College Nursing Department to research the benefits of attending an Alzheimer’s Café for caregivers and people living with dementia. We will be sharing more details on this as research continues.
The Changing Aging in the Granite State Alzheimer’s Café episode can be streamed online at http://www.nhptv.org/aging/Paula with Alzheimer’s Cafe attendees at a recent Alzheimer’s Walk
Museum Educator Jenaya has some news for all of you. The rumors are true! Make It or Break It Club, the weekly maker focused after school program at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, has moved to Tuesday afternoon.
Make It or Break It Club is geared toward children in 1st-7th Grade with different levels of projects available to create, deconstruct and explore each week.
Take it away, Jenaya!
Promoting Literacy in Alternative Educational Environments
by Meredith LaMothe
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has been committed to promoting literacy with children for over thirty years. We share numerous goals with libraries that foster a love of reading, including exploring and learning in a fun and safe environment, making our services available to all people through library membership programs, promoting activities that pull in a wide range of audiences and bringing those activities to different locations through our outreach program. The Children’s Museum offers a variety of programs from our Summer Library Outreach program and Books Alive events to our weekly Storytime Sundays and our Library Membership Program that offers museum discounts through libraries. All of these programs aim to promote literacy and strengthen relationships between the museum and our neighboring libraries.
We are entering the third year of offering our fantastic annual library outreach program that relates to the ALA summer reading theme. The summer 2014 theme of “Fizz…Boom…Think!” will focus on recycling, saving the earth and learning about the human footprint through hands-on projects, demonstrations and fun! Programs in the past have been “Up All Night in New Hampshire!” and “Dig Into the Deep Sea: Fish Aren’t Afraid of the Dark.”One of the participants shares his homemade underwater creature with Meredith
We travel to libraries all over New Hampshire, Maine, and northeast Massachusetts to present an hour long program. We’ve received much positive feedback from host libraries and cannot wait to begin another summer of bringing the museum to you!
Since 2006, our Books Alive program brings beloved costumed storybook characters to the museum three times each year. Recently we’ve had visits from Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat, Clifford and Emily Elizabeth, The Lorax and Corduroy! These events are very popular.
Stories about these characters are read, activities that related to the books are available and – of course – children can meet these storybook friends and have their pictures taken with them or just give a quiet high five. These events bring books to life as children step into the story and meet characters that are their friends. We also use this program to promote libraries as a resource and place where families can find the books we read and have on display for each Books Alive.
We also host a weekly program called, “Storytime with Meredith & Stu”. Our storytime is hosted by me – CMNH Educator Meredith Lamothe – and local musician Stu Dias.
I read several stories on a theme – sometimes incorporating puppets or felt boards and Stu sings a few songs and sometimes joins in reading the stories. He will usually write a song specifically to suit the theme and is recording an album of these songs later this year!
Storytime is a great opportunity for families to get together and relax while enjoying books and music. We find Sundays to be a convenient time for families that might not be able to get to a weekday storytime at their local library.
We hope to meet many of you through our outreach program this summer or during your visit to CMNH. If your library doesn’t currently participate in our membership program, we’re always happy to explain the different levels of participation available for those communities that are interested in their libraries working with the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.
We feel strongly that libraries and children’s museums walk hand in hand in their goals to foster a love of reading and promote literacy with visitors of all ages.