35 Years of Discovery

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire Celebrates A Big Year

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is marking its 35th birthday in 2018-19 with a year of events celebrating the past and looking ahead to a future dedicated to creating experiences that engage and inspire the next generation of innovators and creative thinkers. With exhibit overhauls and expansions, a Free Family Fun Day, Art Raffle and more, the museum is celebrating in style all year long.

Portsmouth Trolley
Portsmouth Opening July30 1983

Origins

When the museum first opened on Saturday, July 30th, 1983 as the Children’s Museum of Portsmouth in the old South Meeting House on Marcy Street, you could see the inspiration of its co-founders everywhere. Ona Barnet and Denise Doleac were both educators as well as fans of children’s powerful curiosity. “It’s no surprise that we would talk for hours about Maria Montessori, and self-directed learning. Over coffee we talked about what an outside-of-school environment designed to encourage a child’s natural love of investigation might look like,” shared Denise Doleac. After much conversation and thought, they decided it just might be possible to create such an engaging and fun exploration center for families right there in Portsmouth. “There were very few Children’s Museums back in 1981 and those few were in large cities. So creating the Children’s Museum in a city of 24,000 people would be an interesting adventure indeed.”

After two years of planning, permits, fundraising and educating people about what a Children’s Museum was all about, the museum welcomed 400 children and their grown-ups to its grand opening. Anna Goldsmith, who was 9 at the time and quoted in a Foster’s Daily Democrat article written by Peyton Fleming, said “I think this is really neat because there is already enough stuff for adults. Grown-ups already have bars and discos. But finally they’re creating something for the kids and I think that’s good.”

Rachel Janowitz, another 9 year old, was also quoted in the same article as saying “We will be able to experience a lot of things we couldn’t experience before, because the museum wasn’t here." 

That first year, the museum welcomed 27,000 visitors. The original exhibits included the Yellow Submarine, built by Architect Christopher Clews, three Commodore 64 computers, a hospital room with equipment provided by the Portsmouth Regional Hospital, a factory assembly line where children could create leather bookmarks, a video room, and a small radio station dubbed WFUN.

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Dover Building

A New City

Over the next 25 years, exhibits changed, membership grew, and a constant stream of innovative programming attracted larger and larger crowds to the tiny South Meeting House. “Around 1995, Museum Trustees and our founding Director Denny Doleac began considering the idea of expansion,” shared Jane Bard, current CMNH President. “Although we loved the charm, history and location of our home in Portsmouth’s South Meeting House, we simply didn’t have enough space for exhibits, classrooms, visitor amenities or parking. Our staff worked off-site in a separate rented space and there were often long waiting lines to enter the Museum when we reached the building’s capacity.”

After a decade-long search in Portsmouth and subsequent meetings with city officials in Dover who recognized the benefit of locating the Museum in a soon-to-be-empty Butterfield Gym in downtown Dover, it was decided that the Children’s Museum of Portsmouth would move to Dover and become the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. After raising funds to completely renovate the new location, and design and create new exhibits for a space four times the size of its former location through a $3.2 million Capitol Campaign, a grand reopening ribbon cutting ceremony, mirroring one that happened 25 years prior, happened on July 26, 2008. The former Butterfield Gym was converted into two floors of accessible, interactive, hands-on exhibits that not only reflected the exhibits that had become childhood favorites, but also expanded to embrace the new museum’s natural and historical environment as well.

The Yellow Submarine, a favorite exhibit that became the unofficial symbol of the Children’s Museum of Portsmouth, still greets visitors as they enter the museum. However, the Yellow Sub has been redesigned to mimic a research submarine with a sonar gun, a listening station, working periscope, and control room where kids can navigate the sub through the waters beneath the Gulf of Maine. A new favorite, the Cochecosystem exhibit overlooking the Cocheco River explores the interchange between the natural and industrial environment of the Cocheco River and specifically examines how “engineers,” both human and animal, use the river.

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Dover Baby Storytime

A Community of Collaboration 

One thing that hasn’t changed since moving to Dover is the importance of collaboration between the community and the museum. “When we founded the museum, we really relied on local businesses who donated countless products, exhibit materials, and labor to help us get the museum going,” said Denise Doleac. “It was a true grassroots effort.” After a decade in Dover, current CMNH President Jane Bard agrees. “The success that we have had here in Dover has been in large part due to the community. We have been so welcomed and have had so many wonderful partnerships and it has made all the difference in what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

In 2017 alone, the Museum served nearly 93,000 visitors from 194 different New Hampshire cities and towns, all New England states and welcomed travelers from 42 states, two U.S. territories and eight countries.

The city of Dover has felt the positive impact of the museum’s presence as well. Gail Moore of Dover spoke of her hopes for Dover back in 2007 during a Dover City Council meeting. “Dover is turning into a better place to live. When I tell friends in other places that the Children’s Museum is coming to town, they are surprised and a little envious. The museum is part of Dover becoming a vibrant, active community for these times.” Fast forward to Brian Gottlob, a consulting economist, who analyzed the annual impact of the museum on the City of Dover in 2018. His brief, and unsolicited analysis suggests “the museum results in between $1.8 and $2.3 million in additional expenditures in the local economy (not including ticket sales or other expenditures at the Museum itself).”

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Celebrating & Looking Ahead

After 35 years of innovative programming, artistically designed exhibits, and engaging with literally millions of visitors, the Museum is looking ahead to what will come next. Some things will remain the same, like the museum’s commitment to early learning to build healthy brain architecture, S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), access for all children and families, and its founding principle that kids thrive when given the space to explore and discover.

New adventures are being crafted right now hidden away in the museum’s basement workshop. The One World exhibit, a group of three spaces that explore different cultures from around the world, will be updated this Fall to include a World Market complete with spices, clothing, masks and musical instruments from Indonesia, India, and Mexico - cultures represented in local New Hampshire communities. Children can “purchase” items in the market and bring them next door to prepare and serve food in the World Café or participate in a festival celebration. 

Over the next five years, the Museum will be investing in creating and updating its visitors’ experiences through the Play Expansion Project. In the next year alone, the Museum will be developing an outdoor Play Patio that will provide a space for messy play with bubbles, water, paint as well as sensory exploration and a picnic area. The Museum will also be updating an existing classroom into a new Interactive Classroom that can easily convert to an exhibit space with a flick of the switch featuring interactive light, color and shadow activities when the room is not needed for school programs. Both projects were made possible thanks in part to the $100,000 tax credits the museum recently received from the NH Community Development Finance Authority and grants from the Abbie F. Moseley Charitable Trust and the McIninch Foundation.

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35 Years of Art and Creativity 

Since its inception, the Children’s Museum has always featured art and art making, and even has its own in-house Art Gallery filled with exhibitions by local professional artists. Many of the walls of the museum itself are painted with beautiful murals donated by local artists, and several pieces of the museum’s “permanent collection” are exhibited proudly. With so many years of art gracing its walls, the Museum was thrilled by the outpouring of support from the 35 artists featured in the current Gallery 6 art exhibition “35 Friends: 35 Years of Art and Creativity.”

The art on view this summer ranges from a collage by Sarah Haskell who presented art workshops in both Portsmouth and Dover, to an abstract watercolor by Rebecca LeCain who is not only a CMNH Experience Guide, but also helps with creating the exhibits, including the mural currently hanging on the façade of the museum. Subject matters include dinosaurs, colorful butterflies, robots, landscapes, and of course, kids. 

Most of the art in this exhibition is part of a summer-long raffle. A sheet of 20 raffle tickets can be purchased at the front desk of the museum for only $5. Participants can then choose their favorites and take a chance to win them. The winning tickets will be pulled on Sunday, September 30th at 2pm.

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A Quacky Good Time 

Also happening in September 22nd is the first ever Free Family Fun Day at the Children’s Museum, featuring a Dover Ducky Derby. The museum will throw open its doors and invite everyone to play for free all day from 10am-5pm. Visitors can participate in a variety of favorite activities from the last 35 years and enjoy performances and special guests. The Dover Ducky Derby will start at 1pm when a huge flock of adopted yellow rubber ducks will be launched from the Washington Street Bridge and race down the Cochecho River, which flows behind the museum. The first five ducks to cross the finish line will score prizes. Ducks can be adopted all summer long at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire or online: $5 for one duck, $50 for a gaggle of 12 ducks, or $100 for a flock of 50 ducks. The Dover Ducky Derby is a joint fundraiser in collaboration with SEED (Seacoast Educational Endowment of Dover).

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In Conclusion

A lot has changed in 35 years. Commodore 64 computers are obsolete. Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. They changed math. And Children’s Museums are universally understood with over 400 children’s museums in the country compared to about 80 thirty-five years ago. “I don’t have to explain what a Children’s Museum is when people ask me where I work,” said Neva Cole, CMNH Communications Director.

“Back in 1983 it was a challenge to convey the concept of this very different type of museum, and convince people that it would be a viable, meaningful resource for area families, schools and the community,” said Denise Doleac, CMNH co-founder. 

“Thanks to Denise and Ona, and all the board members, volunteers, staff, artists, performers, businesses, foundations, individual supporters, and community organizations, we will be able to continue our mission of actively engaging families in hands-on discovery for many more years to come,” shared Jane Bard.

“We invite everyone to join us as we celebrate 35 years and counting!

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Family Literacy Month 2018

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Using “Seacoast: The Seasons of New Hampshire” Photographs by Bob McGrath - with children!

November is Family Literacy Month here at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire and we were very fortunate to get a large donation of a stunning photography book this fall, given to us by local artist (and the book’s author!) Bob McGrath. His beautiful book “Seacoast: The Seasons of New Hampshire” is a fabulous tool to use for facilitating conversations while reading with children.

Here are some ideas of how to use this lovely book with your little one:

1. This book focuses on the seasons of the year. As you flip through each season--chat about them!

  • Which season is your favorite? Why?
  • What is your favorite thing to do outside in (Autumn/Winter/Spring/Summer)?
  • Which one of these places would you like to visit? Why?
  • What items in these photographs are familiar to you? Are there any items that are new and unknown to you? Let’s chat about them!

2. Find picture books at your local library that match each of the seasons shown in this book.

  • Look for scenes that are similar in the picture book and the photo book.
  • Compare and contrast these images.

3.  Get artsy!

  • Pick a favorite photo in the book and paint/draw/color your own masterpiece inspired by the scenery or item in the photo. When you have finished, chat about how the images are alike or different.

4.  Plan a road trip!

  • Find a spot in the book that is close to where you live--or a little further away!
  • Go on a road trip and find the scene in the photo shown. Take your own photos of the special spot!

More than anything else, simply looking through the book (or any other book!), chatting and spending time together reading as a family is the most beneficial thing you can do during Family Literacy Month and throughout the year.

Have a wonderful Family Literacy Month this November and enjoy this gorgeous photo book by Bob McGrath. We are so thankful for his generous donation and know it will become a beloved keepsake full of happy memories for museum families.  

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What Can I Buy at Maker Fest?

While it's true that the 6th annual NH Maker & Food Fest is all about sharing knowledge and skills and getting inspiration, it's also a chance to support local makers by purchasing their creations! On Saturday, August 25th from 10am-4pm, stop by downtown Dover for inspired shopping! Mark your calendars, get your tickets early, or at the door, and bring your holiday gift list!


Andre’s Anvil

Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift? Andre’s Anvil might have what you are looking for! These makers use a mix of discarded metal, silverware and other materials to create unique items for the home and garden. Browse their booth and you might find nature-inspired items like ladyslippers, long-stemmed flowers, dragonflies and more.


Awesome Robot Science Fiction Action Comix

Awesome Robot Comix

Painter, Michael Mongue, and his sons Diego & Garcia have embarked on a whimsical homespun comic book journey crafting the misadventures of anthropomorphic robot named Dennis. The story and renderings marry the fantasy riddled musings of two boys and the satirical commentaries on pop culture and commercialism of their outsider artist father.


​Henna By Squirrel Cat Designs

Squirrelcatdesigns Henna

Denice Kelly from Squirrel Cat Designs is back and offering all natural henna for $5 and up. Come learn about how henna is used in different cultures, shop henna-inspired items, or let the kids pick out a temporary glitter tattoo.


Luna Canvas by Nicole Knowlton

Nicole is a young art educator from Franconia, NH who will be showing off her fluid and beautiful conceptual art. Her art is created using house/acrylic paint on canvas, wood, boxes, magnets and a variety of found objects. Stop by Nicole’s booth to get inspired and maybe purchase a painting to bring home.


Peggy Thrasher: ​Triaxial Weave Baskets

Peggythrasher Basket

Peggy is back promoting the art of basket weaving and selling her baskets made from colorful ribbons that are woven in three directions with each ribbon at a 60 degree angle. This produces a basket with vibrant colors that often have the 3D “Tumbling Blocks” pattern on the side of the basket. Stop by her tables and try weaving a pine needle basket and learn about available classes at the Northeast Basketmakers Guild.


​AMITY Publications

Amity Publishing

Have a great book idea and always wanted to publish it? Meet Author/Publisher Layne Case, AMITY Publications, to learn the steps needed to make it happen! In addition to selling her books, Layne will also be giving a workshop at 11am titled “So You Want to Be an Author” and two of her published authors will help give another workshop at 1:30pm titled “Storytelling with Young Authors Jadyn Steven & Grant Currie.”


Doggie Investigation Gang

Doggie Investigation Gang

The Doggie Investigation Gang, DIG, is a children’s beginner chapter book series that promotes acceptance and teamwork while engaging the child in mysteries that a canine team solves. All proceeds from sales are donated to PAWS New England, All Breed Dog Rescue.


Pretty Aud Face Paint

Pretty Aud Face Paint

Young maker Audrey Ammann is back for the third year in a row with more of her fantastic face paint designs (available for a small fee). Her original face paint designs use hypoallergenic and FDA-certified paints and can incorporate glitter, stencil work, and even rhinestones!


Geekasaurus with Kali Moulton

Geekasaurus

Geekasaurus is a weekly webcomic that highlights the adventures and antics of Kali Moulton’s nerdtastic family. Featured on GeekMom, this weekly comic is fun for all ages and highlights the ups and downs of life and parenting, one dinosaur comic at a time.


Hills Home Market

This local home food delivery service will be talking about and signing people up to receive their services and products and also giving away sirloin steak samples that they cook right in front of you.


​SEED (Seacoast Education Endowment of Dover)

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Stop by to learn about this local non-profit, and adopt a yellow rubber duck to participate in the September 22nd Dover Ducky Derby!


​Wheel Spun Pottery & Pinch Pot Making with Kealey Gray

Kealey s a young maker who has been crafting wheel spun pottery for the last three years and will have some unique items for sale. Stop by and play with clay as you learn to make a mini pinch pot out of air drying clay to take home.


Usborne Books

Usbourne Books

Usborne Books and More is an award-winning children’s book publisher with unique and interactive books and activities for all ages - from infant, to young adult. Join in a book-based activity and browse the books for sale.


Thank you to all our 2018 NH Maker & Food Fest sponsors: The Unique College Investing Plan managed by Fidelity Investments, Prime Buchholz, Alexander Technology Group, Dover Emergency Room (a Campus of Portsmouth Regional Hospital), Great Bay Community College, Albany Engineered Composites, Beswick Engineering, The Rowley Agency Inc., Chinburg Properties, Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, LLC, Martel Plumbing & Heating, Inc., STEM From the Start, iheartMedia, 95.3 The Bull and Z107.

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Meet the 2018 Maker Fest Food Vendors

The 6th annual NH Maker & Food Fest is fast approaching and our mouths are watering just looking at all the different food vendors we have lined up to join us on Saturday, August 25th from 10am-4pm! Not only is this day long festival (formerly the Dover Mini Maker Faire) a giant showcase of local maker talent, but also a great chance to try local food and sweet treats by our awesome food vendors! Mark your calendars, get your tickets early, or at the door, and bring your appetite!

Bloom’n Cow Ice Cream and Gelato – Ice cream with tons of flavors and toppings. Non-dairy Sorbetto offered as well. Accepts cash or credit.

Boogalows Island BBQ - In the mood for some Jamaican food? How does Jerk Dinner, Jerk-a-Rito, Mango BBQ Chicken Skewers, Pork on a Bun, or a Jamaican Beef Patty sound? Stop by Boogalows Island BBQ Food Truck for tons of mouth watering BBQ from the island of Jamaica! Accepts cash or credit.

Brother’s Concessions - Fresh squeezed lemonade. Accepts cash only.

Clyde’s Cupcakes - Offering cupcakes, cookies and ice cream sandwiches. Accepts cash or credit.

Curb Appeal Meals - Speciality sandwiches and American comfort food. Accepts cash or credit and they will have kid's menu options.

The Fuse Box Kitchen - Offering new American food and Spanish/Mexican favorites. Accepts cash or credit and they will have kid's menu items like hot dogs, hamburgers, grille cheese, fries and chicken tenders.

Kona Ice – Flavored shaved ice. Accepts cash or credit.

New England Biscuit Company - Traditional Scottish shortbread in a variety of flavors. Accepts cash or credit.

The People’s Popcorn – Tons of different flavored kettle popped corn. Accepts cash, credit or checks.

Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream  - ice cream made on the spot with liquid nitrogen. Accepts cash only.


Thank you to all our 2018 NH Maker & Food Fest sponsors: The Unique College Investing Plan managed by Fidelity Investments, Prime Buchholz, Alexander Technology Group, Dover Emergency Room (a Campus of Portsmouth Regional Hospital), Great Bay Community College, Albany Engineered Composites, Beswick Engineering, The Rowley Agency Inc., Chinburg Properties, Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, LLC, Martel Plumbing & Heating, Inc., STEM From the Start, iheartMedia, 95.3 The Bull and Z107.

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Meet the 2018 Young Makers

We're so excited for our 6th annual NH Maker & Food Fest happening this year on Saturday, August 25th from 10am-4pm! This day long festival (formerly the Dover Mini Maker Faire) is a giant showcase of local talent. We have over 50 participants this year, including performers, food vendors, science geeks, and the young makers featured here in this blog post! Mark your calendars, get your tickets early, or at the door, and get ready to be inspired! 

Caleb Weinstein - Lichtenberg Figures

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This 8th grade Maker is new to the NH Maker & Food Fest this year, but we're all pretty excited to see him in action! He'll be showing off how he uses high voltage electricity to create unique patterns in wood, called Lichtenberg Figures.

"To make a figure, you must take wood, briase it with water that is mixed with an electrolyte (I use baking soda), and then put high voltage electricity through it. I use a 12,000 kV 35 milliamp neon sign transformer."

His unique furniture will also be for sale!


Nicole Knowlton - Abstract Artist

Luna Canvasby Nicole Knowlton

Nicole Knowlton is a young art educator from Franconia, NH who will be showing off her fluid and beautiful conceptual art. Her art is created using house/acrylic paint on canvas, wood, boxes, magnets and a variety of found objects. Stop by Nicole's booth to get inspired and maybe purchase a painting to bring home.


Mixtape A Cappella - Performance

Accapella Mixtape

This group of young professionals from NH's Seacoast will mix it up on stage for a 30 minute a cappella performance! Stop by their booth and learn how to warm up your voices, try your hand at a cappella trivia and play the "Wheel of Songs!"


Audrey Ammann - Pretty Aud Face Paint

Pretty Aud Face Paint

Audrey is back for the third year in a row with more of her fantastic face paint designs (available for a small fee). Her original face paint designs use hypoallergenic and FDA-certified paints and can incorporate glitter, stencil work, and even rhinestones! 


Beckett Lutton - Word Clock, An Arduino Powered Clock

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Stop by and say hello to young 12 year old Maker, Beckett Lutton who helped build an arduino powered clock that tells time in English, with the help of his father and neighbor. Adjust the time on the clock and see how different times are expressed!


Kealey Gray - Wheel Spun Pottery

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Kealey Gray is a young maker who has been crafting wheel spun pottery for the last three years and will have some unique items for sale. Stop by and play with clay as you learn to make a mini pinch pot out of air drying clay to take home.


Thank you to all our 2018 NH Maker & Food Fest sponsors: The Unique College Investing Plan managed by Fidelity Investments, Prime Buchholz, Alexander Technology Group, Dover Emergency Room (a Campus of Portsmouth Regional Hospital), Great Bay Community College, Albany Engineered Composites, Beswick Engineering, The Rowley Agency Inc., Chinburg Properties, Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, LLC, Martel Plumbing & Heating, Inc., STEM From the Start, iheartMedia, 95.3 The Bull and Z107.

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Our Partners at D.F. Richard

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D.F. Richard is the legacy sponsor of the Muse Studio exhibit space inside the Children's Museum of New Hampshire.

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.

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D.F. Richard has also been an enthusiastic supporter of the Museum's Earth Day programming, even doing special projects to highlight their technology.

“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.

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D.F. Richard has supported the Museum's Annual family friendly PizzaFest for many years as well!

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.

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Art Celebrating Diversity

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Every spring, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover creates a special art exhibition for our Gallery 6 space that aims to promote appreciation and inclusion of other cultures through the arts. This year’s “MOSAIC: Exploring Our Multicultural Neighborhood” art exhibition, on view through May 27, 2018 focuses on the stories, background and aspects of the cultures of recent immigrants and individuals from the community whose ancestors immigrated to this country in the past.

The exhibition, entitled “Immigrant Alphabet” uses the letters of the alphabet as a frame of reference for the museum’s young visitors. The art focuses on the unique contributions these families have made to the community and the richness derived from having a diverse population.

Each work of art in this exhibition was created by the students and faculty of the Dover Adult Learning Center, area artists, as well as friends and staff of the Children’s Museum of NH.

“M is for Mexico” features the smiling faces of Monica Ramirez and her three children. “My dream is that children around the world would be happy, healthy and smart,” says Ramirez in a statement next to her art. “We need to make a better place and help one another, no matter the difference.”

“G is for Greece” highlights the family history of CMNH Education Director, Xanthi Gray, going back to her Great, Great Grandparents, Zaxo and Vasilios Manias.

“P is for Perseverance” is a collage of photographs intermixed with small hand written notes telling the story of great grandparents from Kiev who “had to come to America to escape persecution. They arrived via Ellis Island and settled in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York. Their families spoke four languages: Hebrew, Russian, Yiddish, and later, English.” This piece ends with this loving observation: “I am named after my great-grandparents, but I can only hope that at least an ounce of their chutzpah runs in my veins. 

The exhibition’s introduction text says “Here are stories of love, family, courage, perseverance and determination as well as a celebration of the vast beauty of other lands. Together, they make up a fascinating MOSAIC. Perhaps this exhibition will inspire you to investigate more about your own Immigrant Experience.”

The public is invited to an opening reception on Friday, May 4 from 5-7pm. The opening reception coincides with the Dover Art Walk. Visiting any art exhibition in Gallery 6 does not require museum admission. 

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire would like to give a special thanks to Lien Harris, Deana Strand, Dalia Ahmed, Gracia Watkins, Jing Xiong, Nattawan Murphy, Sandra Cordoba, Sara Kazemiha, Monica Ramirez Echeverria, Laura Frincu, Marianne Torino, Bhuvanans Siddalingachar, Anu Onkari, Rani Sip, Xanthi Gray, Eric Erwin, Taylore Kelly, Julia Kirchmer, Susan McClure, Rebecca La Cain, Jane Niles, Nancy Hotchkiss, Ana Garnica and Kimberly and Kasey Tarr for helping to make this exhibition a success. This exhibition is sponsored by the generosity of The Jack & Dorothy Byrne Family Foundation, The Fuller Foundation, The Georgia-Pacific Foundation, Abbie F. Moseley Trust, Newburyport Five Cents Charitable Foundation, and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. The museum’s MOSAIC program is supported by the Eastern Bank Foundation.

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Exploring Our Way turns 8!

If you were visiting the Museum on Sunday morning March 4th, you might have been surprised to see half a dozen golden Labradors Retrievers strolling around. These dogs, mostly 10-11 month old puppies, are in training to become skilled canine companion dogs. ‘Puppy raisers’ and their charges visited Exploring Our Way to share information with families about the Canine Companions for Independence Program, which provides trained dogs to work with an adult or child with a disability, including Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s Autism Partnership Program, Exploring Our Way, debuted in March 2010 after many months of planning with a dedicated committee of advisors. Since then, the museum has opened its doors one Sunday per month exclusively for families raising a child on the autism spectrum. Exploring Our Way offers a quieter, less crowded environment in which to explore museum exhibits with the goal of providing the best opportunity for a successful museum visit. Siblings are invited too, so the entire family can enjoy a fun outing together. 

In the safe and welcoming surroundings of the Children’s Museum children with Autism Spectrum Disorder explore at their own pace, become familiar with the museum’s exhibits, and may feel comfortable enough to increase the length of time of their visit.  We invite families to consider visiting during public hours, if their child is comfortable enough, and give them free admission passes in case they want to make the transition.

We also introduce families to new resources and services, like Canine Companions for Independence, by inviting representatives to come to Exploring Our Way and share information with parents. Check the Exploring Our Way page on our website and Facebook to learn more about upcoming special guests.

Exploring Our Way will not happen on April 1st as the Museum will be closed for Easter Sunday. We look forward to seeing you on May 6th!

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