"Again!"

by Amanda Girard, Marketing Intern

We often hear that children, toddlers in particular, learn best through repetition. An article from Parents MagazineParents Magazine highlights that “while adults crave variety, a toddler needs repeated confirmation that things stay the same.” This may very well explain why your child delights in watching the same movie over and over again or asks for the same story every night at bedtime. And have you ever noticed how repetitive songs like “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and “B-I-N-G-O” are hits with young children? The early love of repetition explains it all.

So what may seem to us as boring or predictable is not only helping toddlers learn, it’s a lot of fun for them too. Knowing what’s going to happen next in the story or song is comforting.

So what does any of this have to do with the Children’s Museum? Many of our exhibits encourage this sort of repetitive learning. Pattern Palace gives kids an opportunity to discover different patterns and predict what colors and shapes come next. Our Pinscreen exhibit allows visitors to see imprints of their hands, faces, etc. over and over again.

Another important element of repetitive learning and the ways younger children learn is the need for variation. The same article from Parents Magazine uses the example that kids may start by simply banging a wooden block on a table and observing the sound it makes. Then, they may hit it harder and see what that does. They could also pick up a plastic hammer and hit the block that way to hear the difference. Though it may seem repetitive to us, to a child it is a new and exciting discovery.

CMNH supports this need for variation with our exhibits as well. The activities in our Muse Studio change every week to fit a new theme chosen by our museum educators. Build It, Fly It also promotes this kind of learning, where visitors can see how the way that they construct and launch different foam creations affects how their inventions fly. Kids get to tinker with their building methods to see what works best.

The Museum as a whole supports both repetitive and variation learning with its programs and exhibits. In general, kids and families can expect the museum to look similar to their last visit, with most of the same exhibits to interact with, providing a sense of comfort and memory for kids. But we work very hard to create an environment where they feel encouraged to explore and experiment in new ways.

So whether your child is in need of the comfort of repetition or the new world of variation, the Children’s Museum has something to offer everyone!

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For Older Kids Too!

By Amanda Girard, Marketing Intern

Worried about bringing older kids to CMNH with their younger siblings? Afraid they might just stand there moaning, “I’m bored?” The Children’s Museum does offer exhibits and events that older kids can enjoy alongside their younger siblings so that the whole family can have some fun!

“The Muse Studio is a place that caters to all ages,” said Sarah Terry, one of the Museum’s educators. “We make a lot of the crafts open-ended, so you can make them as simple or as complex as you want.” Museum educators come up with new themes every week, like New England books or Super Heroes, and plan craft projects based around that theme.

The Thinkering Lab is another exhibit that encourages guests to create anything they want, no matter how simple or how complex. Here you can build things with LEGOS, design vehicles and tracks, and create ball mazes.

Finally, Mindball is a fun exhibit that many older kids and even adults enjoy! The game is simple: try to stay as relaxed as you can while an electronic headband monitors your brainwaves. See if you can beat your opponent and if you can stay more relaxed. (You could even switch up the game and see who can be the most un-relaxed!)

“A lot of our events are geared towards all ages too,” said Sarah Terry, “like Super Hero Week or our Mini Maker Faire.” If you’re an adult, you probably have great memories of discovering super heroes in comic books, and what better way to introduce your kids to those same super heroes than to take them to Super Hero Week here at the Children’s Museum. Maker Faire (coming up on August 29) is also an event that is for everyone. Some of our Makers this year are as young as 12 or 13 years old and older kids will get a chance to learn more about topics like robotics, engineering, music or art. Maker Faire has a lot to offer everyone.

So, if you are looking to bring the whole family (including older kids) to the Museum, a special program or some of our tried and true exhibits may be a good opportunity to get everyone engaged and involved!

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Meet the CMNH Staff: Jess

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Name: Jess Michaud

Title: Volunteer

How Long She Has Been at CMNH: 1.5 years (New Year's Eve 2013)

What is the most fun part of your job?

I really enjoy interacting with the kids at the museum. Every age has different interests and it's exciting to help children learn about new things and explore the exhibits. I also really love the staff that I work with. They're all so awesome when I come in to volunteer and make it so much fun.

You were recently named the "CMNH Volunteer of the Year". How does it feel?

I was honestly shocked! I enjoy volunteering because it's a reprieve compared to my other jobs. It was very nice to be recognized by CMNH, but I definitely had no idea and was not expecting it.

What is something that people may not know about you?

Whenever I would get asked this kind of question growing up my answer would always be that my mother is an alien. Which is true because she's from Canada!

What is your favorite exhibit at CMNH and why?

I really like the Muse Studio because there's always something new and different going on there.

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Welcome new Communications Director

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is proud to welcome Neva Cole as the museum’s Communications Director. Neva will guide the communications plan of the museum and continue the positive community outreach that has been the standard at the museum.

She joins the CMNH team from the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH. The Currier is New Hampshire’s largest, and most prominent art museum, with works of art by Picasso, O’Keeffe and Calder and offers a wide variety of adult and family programming. It was there that Neva served as Graphic Designer and Communications Specialist as part of the Public Relations and Marketing Team. During her decade at the Currier, she became the first staff Graphic Designer, creating designs and content for everything from exhibition catalogues, to Annual Reports, to Art Center class brochures, to Member Magazines. Neva was instrumental in reformatting the content and design of the Currier’s infocus Member Magazine. It now celebrates New Hampshire’s entire community of art lovers and regularly features articles and opinions not only from Currier staff and volunteers, but also from members, historians, curators, politicians, artists and entrepreneurs. In addition, Neva was responsible for all community outreach through the museum’s many social media channels. During her tenure at the Currier she also worked as a freelance artist and taught art classes and workshops to all ages.

Neva also comes to the Children’s Museum with a unique educational background, well suited for her work at the museum. “I attended Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY where I studied illustration, and then went on to get my Masters of Fine Arts at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University where I primarily focused on children’s book illustration.”

“I am thrilled to be a part of the dedicated and passionate team here at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. Most of my career has been spent working in the wonderfully rewarding world of non-profits, and I am looking forward to learning how I can use my talents to best contribute to another one of New Hampshire’s unique treasures.”

Jane Bard, President of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, states “We are very excited to welcome Neva to our team. She brings an obvious love of communication and design and an innate understanding of our mission to ignite children’s creative potential through enriching experiences.”

Neva, who grew up in New Hampshire and has fond memories of visiting the Children’s Museum and playing in the Post Office and Yellow Submarine, now resides in Raymond, New Hampshire with her husband and young daughter.

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Meet the CMNH Staff: Meghan

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Name: Meghan Bullis

Title: Experience Guide Educator

How Long She Has Been at CMNH: 2 years (July 2013)

What is the most fun part of your job?

Schools visit CMNH either as Group Visits (GV) or Focused Group Visits (FGV). I enjoy both, but I really love when the FGVs arrive and I get to teach them in a classroom setting. I love the variety of the FGVs because there are lots of different themes and lessons that we offer. My favorite of those is definitely World Celebrations because I love that we encourage children to learn about and be accepting of other cultures. I also love that I get to work closely with the kids and experience them learning about some subject matter for the first time.

What is something that people may not know about you?

How about three things?! (laughs)

I accidentally marched with soldiers in China once. I was in college and I was sightseeing when I looked up and saw them walking down the sidewalk. Before I knew it, I ended up in the middle of them and I started to panic. I think they knew that I was a tourist because they started laughing at me.

I have a never-ending quest for the perfect Roger Rabbit costume.

I wanted to be a cryptozoologist when I was a kid.

What is your favorite exhibit at CMNH and why?

My favorite exhibit is Adventures in Travel, a.k.a. - the Green Screen, because you can travel all over the world without ever leaving Dover, New Hampshire!

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Meet the CMNH Staff: Anne

Name: Anne Fetters

Title: Volunteer

How Long She Has Been at CMNH: 4 years (Spring 2011)

What is the most fun part of your job?

Most of my time at the museum is spent working with Xanthi and the Wee Ones Wednesdays preschool program. Getting to know each "wee one" 1-on-1 over the course of the school year and their different personalities is easily the most fun part of my job here. The children and their parents are such a fun bunch that it makes every Wednesday morning a totally new - but exciting - experience!

What is something that people may not know about you?

I was a competitive swimmer while I attended Lafayette College.

What is your favorite exhibit at CMNH and why?

I just love the Yellow Submarine. It's obviously one of our biggest and most popular exhibits, but I really like that it serves such a wide age range. It's an exhibit that truly offers something for the entire family.

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Meet the CMNH Staff: Taylore

Name: Taylore Kelly

Title: Marketing and Developing Assistant

How Long She Has Been at CMNH: 10 months (October 2014)

What is the most fun part of your job?

The lightness of everything, since it’s a Children’s Museum. The people I work with too. I like that there’s a very childlike atmosphere, even though we are all professionals. I mean, what kind of job can you go to when you can say, "I have a leopard shark!"? (Taylore immediately picks up a leopard shark puppet from elsewhere in the office and poses with it!)

What is something that people may not know about you?

I play chess. I have since I was five! My dad taught me because my mother wouldn’t play with him and he needed someone to beat.

What is your favorite exhibit at CMNH and why?

Part of the section of the CochecoSystem exhibit known as the Naturalist Study. I love animals and nature so this exhibit really speaks to me!

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Ascent or Descent

A Public Art Collaboration

Have you been by the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire recently? There seems to be a group of characters climbing . . . sitting . . . jumping . . . flying? Are they climbing up . . . sideways . . . down? Are they friendly or not so nice? Where did they come from and what are they doing on the front of CMNH?

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Ascent or Descent is a collaborative public art project designed by the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire with six Seacoast area artists and craftspeople. This project is designed to make you curious and wonder what it is, exactly, that's happening with these figures upon our facade and what the different stories may be behind each one. We purposefully kept our description of a 'humanoid sculpture' request very broad when potential contributors were contacted. We wanted to show a diverse group of 'people' created in a variety of styles using a multitude of materials.

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David Masse is a local blacksmith living on the southeastern coast of Maine who used this opportunity to design and construct something different than he would typically.

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Masse decided to create a superhero and shaped it by using forged steel. He then added a fabric cape that blows in the wind. What do you think this superhero's codename is? What are his powers and how did he get them? What if he (or she!) isn't a hero . . . but a villain?!

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You can check out more of David Masse's work on his website.


Rick Burns, a sculptor working based in Berwick, ME, describes his work as "creating Industrial Symbolic Abstractions using metal, wood, clay and mixed media".

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If you look closely at his sculpture, you can discover some hidden objects! Do you see the wrenches that make up the arms between the elbow and the wrist?

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What about the gears inside the chest? Do the gears help this character move? Does he have to be wound up like a toy? And, of course, you can't possibly miss the incredibly cool medieval helmet with pieces of chain mail. This "humanoid sculpture" is ready for anything!

You can find more creative works of art from Rick Burns at his website.


Adam Pearson is a New Hampshire based sculptor and craftsman. His child-sized figure is jumping . . . or is he flying . . . off the roof of the Children's Museum! Is this the first time he's opened up his wings and flown? Is he looking for food . . . or is he playing a game? Is he headed towards the park . . . or higher into the trees?

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This sculpture, the highest piece in the installation, was created by Pearson cutting, bending and welding the metal and steel of the green body and the large red tail and swooping wingspan.

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More of Adam Pearson's work can be found on his website.


Chris Wright is a local artist and Director at the Port City Makerspace. For Ascent or Descent, Wright designed and created a piece that is fashioned almost entirely from aluminum. This includes the frame, bones, ribs, head, and extremities!

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Wright fabricated every piece of the sculpture, including all the individual vertebrae in the articulated spine.

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There was a time not too long ago that Nate Walker's Giant Blue Crab sculpture was one of the only pieces of public art in the city of Dover. Now, Wright's piece joins five other pieces of public art looking down at art in several places in Henry Law Park!


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Like Chris Wright, Jeff Gunn is also a Director at the Port City Makerspace and a local craftsman. Gunn began with aluminum to create the general form of the body for this robot . . . or is it astronaut . . . or is it robot astronaut?

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He then heated and bent PVC boards to create the white outer shell around the aluminum. To design and produce the hands and other smaller parts for this piece, Gunn used some newer technology: a 3D printer!

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One of the coolest features of this piece is one that can't be seen from the ground - but its effect can! On the top of right shoulder, Gunn installed a solar panel. The panel is connected to the "eye" bulb of the robot figure. So after a long day of bright sunshine, a cyclopean beam of light emerges as dusk falls. Is he guarding the museum . . . or is he guarding the park? Is he taking a picture with his eye . . . or shooting lasers?


Kali Ann Rocheleau is an artist who enjoys exploring many different mediums, including charcoal, watercolor, sculpture, and cartooning. She lives in Portsmouth with her fiancée and loves to create art whenever she can.

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Rocheleau chose to make sculpture with a more whimsical, pencil-sketch like quality. She created this sculpture using bent and twisted pieces wire. One of the coolest part's of this central piece of the installation is that depending on where you're viewing it from, it seems to change shape. From one angle it appears to be a woman, but from another - a man. From the outside you can see its hands and fingers in great detail, while the feet and toes are better viewed from inside. This piece also blends in with the building almost perfectly. Is it because the figure has the ability to turn invisible? Is she made up of water . . . or is it air?

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More of Kali Ann Rocheleau's art can be found on her Facebook page.


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The amazing . . . or is it magical . . . or is it scientific . . . or is it fantastical figures that make up Ascent or Descent will be visiting the museum and Henry Law Park from June to the end of October 2015. For those interested in previous public art projects by the Children's Museum of New Hampshire, check out our look at Bryan Rutland's abstract art piece that adorned our building through this last winter and spring or at the journey of how artist Nate Walker and the Dover Middle School Art Club designed, created and installed the Octopus Bike Rack in front of CMNH.

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