Susan Mariano, CMNH Intern
Q. Barbara, I really like the way that you have added dimension to your painting by affixing the smaller canvases of the two children on top of your hillside background canvas. The way the string of the balloon appears in the foreground and balloon itself in the background, makes it seem as though the balloon belongs to the children, yet has a separate existence of its own outside of their play.
What feeling or message are you hoping to
invoke with the viewers of “The Red Balloon”?
A. Children often struggle with sharing. My painting of two kids with a red balloon, tells a story about making choices. Look closely at the boy on the left. Does the way he is standing suggest that he wants to hold the balloon, too? You can feel the boy wanting to hold the string while the girl on the right seems unwilling to share her prize. Do you think the girl on the right will let him? Will he convince her to let it go? Will the balloon escape at first opportunity? If it was your balloon would you share it?
Q. Yong, the detailed facial expressions in your paintings are very moving and being able to watch you actually paint a portrait during the artists’ reception was incredible! The watercolor paintings that you have chosen for this exhibition truly capture the emotional element of childhood play when there is not a care in the world but the moment that you are living in, and the sense of security found in spending unhurried, quality time with treasured parents.
What is it that
catches your eye and creates the desire within you to paint a particular
A. Whenever I see happy children under the sun, I want to put them in my paintings, because I would feel the genuine, unselfish love from the parents. I hope that my paintings will inspire my viewers to spend more quality time with their children.
My core belief that guides my parenting is that children are happier when they're outside, in the sunshine, playing, enjoying, exploring and learning about the wonderful world they live in. I'm experiencing the same struggle as most parents do of how to balance life and work in the modern technologically obsessed environment around us. For many working parents, it is very difficult to consistently make their children the priority. In each of my watercolor paintings in this series, there is one story to tell, and behind it a very happy child. We should see the love, caring and sacrifice from the parents. As an illustrator, I am trying to use my paintings to connect the parents with their own happy childhood memories, when in those times there was not much technology, and share my thought with them that they should make time to bring their children outside and play.
Q. Taylore, the golden circular shapes in the center of all of your mixed media artwork convey a sense of warmth and security, as they surround the delicate creatures within.
What statement are you making with the vintage printed backgrounds that you have chosen for each of your pieces?
A. I like to up-cycle the vintage pages from damaged antique books that would have otherwise found their demise and give them a new life by creating on them.
Q. Would you share your thoughts on your unique title choices?
A. Then All the Sky Which Only, the hummingbird, has the specific background because I saw the sentence, “Nature of Matter and Mind” within it and I turned it into my belief system of nature being grace, and that I do not understand, nor do I need to understand the mystery of grace. The title is simply a sing song way to say “Look what the sky holds! Hummingbirds!” Words have melody when we look and search.
By All and Deep by Deep, the whale, has a mathematical equation background because when I squinted my eyes the equations looked like music notes. Well let’s be honest I am far sighted and thought, indeed they were music notes. I love the songs whales sing. The title is because whales seem to live very deeply on all levels, figuratively, literally, musically, richly.
Whatever a Sun will Always Sing is You, the fox in the eclipse, is on a page about insanity, but the page is reversed. Tarot Cards meanings at times will be the complete opposite if inverted. Actually a lot of symbols mean the opposite when inverted. A subliminal message of how rabies seem to get these lovely creatures quite often, but not this one. She is sleeping in a soft eclipse of her own music.
Open You the Biggest and All, the deer, is in a sun nest. She is open and feels one with the Universe and what is bigger than that? I can not think of anything. She is on upside down equations as well because I thought they were music notes. Sometimes these things happen and I just flow with them!
Q. Gina, I really love the way that your colorful illustrations have captured the whimsy of a child’s imagination, the details that you put into your work, and how each person and creature is sharing time with others, yet in their own little world.
What made you decide to become an illustrator?
A. My short answer is usually that a very big part of me is STILL a child, and I'm making pictures that make that part of me happy! But here is the long answer, as well. Books were a huge part of my childhood. They allowed me to see into other worlds that as a child I couldn't travel to on my own. I also loved art from a young age but never thought of illustration as a career path until I was in art school. Even then, I studied computer animation - and I think what most attracted me to that profession was the visual storytelling. Once I was working in animation, I understood how little personal vision I could put into a project and that I wasn't working with the audience I loved the most - children. I didn't put the pieces together until I was taking a children's illustration class - suddenly I knew exactly what I wanted to do! It really felt like a light deep inside me finally clicked on. I love learning, so I soaked up everything that would help me reach my goal. Over the years I took lots of classes, joined critique groups, attended conferences, read mountains of picture books, and worked incredibly hard to find a place in children's book illustration.
Q. Do the authors set “rules” for you limiting you to their vision or do you get to express what you see within your own imagination?
A. Most projects allow me to set lots of rules - from how the characters look to the size of the book itself and where the text breaks up throughout the book. Other projects come with more guidelines, usually from an editor or art director, but there is always room for my own approach and vision. Finding ideas and characters that the author didn't originally state, but that add to the story, is one of the most exciting parts of my job!
Q. What medium to you use to craft your illustrations?
A. I use a mix of gouache (opaque watercolor), soft pencils and Photoshop.
Q. Michal, you are known for drawing incredibly detailed black and white penciled portraits and illustrations. In this exhibition you have traveled in a totally different artistic direction, leading you to the creation of fascinating 3-dimensional, illuminated worlds inside of cigar boxes. In conversation you eluded to a future endeavor using yet another medium.
Please share what it is that truly inspires you to boldly go where you have not gone before.
A. On a visit to our favorite Maine 'Dowling Walsh' Gallery, located in Rockland, we came across artwork the likes I had never seen before. I was immediately fascinated by the medium, craftsmanship and story. The artist is Anne Emmanuelle Marpeau from Brittany France. The works were of dioramas of the coast, sailing and sea. I was so taken with them I got to thinking about creating something similar on a smaller scale, and so after much experimentation and development my boxes were born.
Less exacting than my pencil portraits and entirely different, I
loved the change in medium and the unending and imaginative ideas you
I am always coming up with new ideas and creative projects, adding
them to my repertoire of artworks. The part I quite enjoy is figuring
out (engineering) how these 3 dimensional projects can work, and yes, I
have yet another idea in my mind… here we
go again. It's so much fun!
In the world of hi-tech, the hand-crafted creative is both rewarding and therapeutic.
Q. Debra, I like that you selected photographs of children from France, Mexico and Italy for this exhibition as your photos serve as a reminder that the essence of being a child has no international borders. Your statement that “Photography is so much about ‘seeing’ and not just taking snapshots,“ rings so true with your photographs. As the viewer continues to gaze at one of your photos, it seems that there is more going on than just a quick glance can reveal.
Do you see these nuances as you are taking the photo or discover afterwards that they were what compelled you to capture the image?
you for saying that my photographs are not snapshots, but more about
seeing. That is what I strive for. As for whether capturing the
essence of being a child was intent or a lucky result of my shooting
(which I admit can absolutely happen!) on those days in Mexico, Paris
and Tuscany, I think I can fairly say that with these particular photos I
was excited to see what was happening in the world around me and sought
to capture the moment. The child in Mexico was playing with some of
the jewelry that her parents crafted and sold and I could see that she
was just so beautiful. In Tuscany, I shot many images of those boys
playing soccer but was happy that I stuck around to photograph
their camaraderie afterwards. And in Paris, I was very excited to
see that little girl on her scooter in front of the carousel. It was an
image I would never be able to capture close to home. It was so
Parisian. She reminded me of the little girl in the Madeline books!
Sadly, Exhibits Director Mark Cuddy is leaving the museum after 5 years of designing and building amazing exhibits at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire We are all very sad to see him go as he has always been a solid contributor to CMNH. I sat down with Mark and asked him to reminisce a bit on his time here at the Children’s Museum.
How long were you at the museum?
Just about 5 years.
What made you want to work at CMNH?
I was working part time at the Children's Museum in Easton and was looking for full time work at a children's museum. I saw the job opportunity here in NH, came for an interview, and really liked the museum, the exhibits and the workshop space downstairs so I applied and was lucky enough to get the job.
What are some of your typical duties as Exhibits Director?
I oversee everything that has to do with the exhibits, so it varies day to day. Some days it might be maintenance on something that broke the day before, it may be trying to re-design an exhibit component so it functions better, or it may be planning, designing or building a new exhibit.
What are you going to miss the most about your job?
I like the workshop, and I like working on the whole design process from initial ideas and concepts all the way through fabricating and installing the exhibit.
Any cool stories about building exhibits? Setting them up? Challenges?
I've learned a lot and had to figure a lot of things out along the way. We set up 2 temporary exhibits with K'nex called Colossal Construction, so I got to build all sorts of cool roller coasters and ball ramps. Some of them worked better than others, but it was a fun process. The roller coaster by Primary Place was supposed to be a temporary installation but it has been so popular that we have kept it for years.
Any crazy exhibit ideas that you wish you could have done but never happened?
Not really, I tried to keep our concepts and ideas to what I thought we could actually accomplish. I didn't want to suggest something super cool, but crazy, and not be able to follow through on the idea.
Is there an exhibit you created you are most proud of?
I'm not sure if I can pick just one. I like the Cave Explorers exhibit because that is a different, dark environment that provides a different experience for children and families. That was a whole exhibit that I designed and built. I also like the updates we made to the green screen exhibit, now called Adventures in Travel, because we used existing technology that we had, but were able to update and enhance the experience.
Where are you off to now?
I'm going to Garrison City Beerworks to work full time there, being a jack of all trades and assisting in the entire process of brewing, from cleaning and sanitizing, to brewing, to canning the beer, and any maintenance tasks to keep things running smoothly.
Anything you’d like to say to your co-workers or the families who visit?
To the co-workers, I know you will miss me.
We will miss you too Mark! On behalf of all the employees and guests at the children’s museum we thank you for your hard work over the last 5 years and wish you well on your exciting new opportunity at the brewery!
The Caldecott Medal in the 1970's
Welcome to Four & Twenty Blackbirds, CMNH's blog series on the history of the Caldecott Medal and the children's book illustrations that have been fortunate enough to be honored and awarded by the Caldecott committee.
We're now entering one of the most enigmatic decades of the 20th Century. The tumultuous events of the previous decade spiral into the beginning of the 1970's and form cultural rivulets leading to political and economic upheaval, a renaissance in American film and the ascendancy of disco, punk and progressive rock music. The bright eye-popping color palette of the previous decade falls away to the earthier tones of what became known as the "Me Decade." The 70's earned the "Me Decade" nickname due to the overwhelming impression that the younger generation, unlike the one before them, was more interested in their own lives than the world at large.
A quick glance at the Caldecott Honorees and Medal Winners from the decade couldn't paint a more different picture. Of the ten books whose illustrators won the Caldecott Medal for elevating the work to the status of, "most distinguished American picture book for children," seven of them directly dealt with other cultures, religions and ways of life far removed from the average American child that was the likely target audience for these stories when they were published. African folktales - with an extra emphasis on the Ashanti and Swahili cultures - popped up repeatedly among the honorees and winners throughout the decade, as did Jewish legends, Pueblo mythology, the Quaker movement, Japanese fairy tales and Native American life.
Let us now look at some books from the grand, misunderstood decade that was the 1970's. A book about amphibian friendship. A book about a donkey. And a book about a witch.
Who: Arnold Lobel (born in Los Angeles, CA, 1933)
Book: Frog and Toad are Friends / Harper & Row / 1970
Plot: This beloved children's book was Lobel's tenth published work and the first of the "Frog & Toad" books - the series that made Arnold Lobel a household name. Broken up into five short stories - "Spring", "The Story", "A Lost Button", "The Swim," and "The Letter" - take a look at the simple every day lives of the more adventurous Frog and his reserved, but stalwart, friend, Toad. Many children and parents used Frog and Toad are Friends as a jumping off point to talk further about subjects as diverse as forgetfulness ("The Lost Button"), sadness and happiness ("The Letter"), body image/changes and shyness ("The Swim"), restlessness ("Spring") and, expectedly, friendship ("The Story").
Misc: Frog and Toad are Friends was named as a runner-up for the Caldecott Medal when the honored list of books was announced in 1971. But Lobel had good company as Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen and Blair Lent's The Angry Moon were his fellow runners-up. Gail E. Haley's A Story a Story was named the Caldecott Medal winner for the 1970 class of nominees. Lobel would again be named as a Caldecott runner-up the following year for 1971's Hildilid's Night and would finally win the prestigious award ten years after his first nomination for 1980's Fables. Lobel went on to write and illustrate three more Frog & Toad books: Frog and Toad Together, Frog and Toad All Year and Days with Frog and Toad. Years after Lobel's untimely death (he passed in 1987), his daughter Adrianne colored three uncolored manuscripts of his that were found in an estate sale and were released in 2009 as The Frogs and Toads All Sang and Odd Owls and Stout Pigs: A Book of Nonsense.
Many children who became acquainted with Frog and Toad in the 1970's and 80's may recall a series made by Churchill Films that adapted the first Frog and Toad books into 20 minute claymation shorts. The series was narrated by Lobel. A Year with Frog and Toad, a musical, premiered on Broadway in 2003. Commissioned by Adrianne - who also designed the set - the stage production was adapted by her husband, actor Mark Linn-Baker, who also went on to play Toad in the original cast. In 2012, the School Library Journal listed it at #15 on their list of the, "Top 100 Picture Books".
Availability: Frog and Toad are Friends, as well as the entire Frog and Toad series, is available in paperback, hardcover and digital formats as well as larger collected editions of the complete series.
Who: William Steig (born in Brooklyn, NY, 1907)
Book: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble / Windmilll Books / 1969
Plot: Sylvester is a donkey. Sylvester lives in the town of Oatsdale. One of Sylvester's favorite hobbies is collecting rocks, stones and pebbles. The more unusual and strange the rock, the more Sylvester wants it for his collection. One day, Sylvester comes across the strangest piece of sediment he's ever seen: a magic pebble! This pebble grants wishes and Sylvester can't wait to try it out. Unfortunately, a frightening lion crosses Sylvester's path before he can get to his wishes and in his scared state, Sylvester quickly wishes he was a rock in order to hide from the lion. *POOF* Sylvester's wish is granted. But in becoming a rock, Sylvester loses contact with the pebble. Without physically touching the pebble, he can't wish himself back to his donkey form. Will Sylvester be trapped as a rock forever? Will Sylvester's mom and dad ever find their son? And what will happen to the magic pebble?
Misc: You already know Steig even if you've never read Sylvester, which, in addition to winning the Caldecott Medal in 1970 was also a finalist for the National Book Award. And maybe you've never read The Amazing Bone, his Caldecott Honor book from 1976 or Doctor De Soto, a 1983 National Book Award winner (an award shared with multiple Caldecott winner Barbara Cooney for Miss Rumphius). His biggest contribution to the pop culture landscape, and what made him a household name eleven years after it was written, was a small book from 1990 titled Shrek!. Perhaps you've heard of it? And the four film franchise it spawned? Going on to win the inaugural Academy Award for Best Animated Feature? But while Shrek!, both the book and the films, have been generally well loved by the populace, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble ran across some controversy not long after it was published. Despite eventually being named as one of the "100 Best Books of the Century" by the National Education Association, upon its release Sylvester saw many school districts and organizations challenge the book due to the fact that police officers in the town of Oatsdale were portrayed as pigs. The popular defense of the book pointed out that several different professions in Oatsdale were represented by pig employees, but that still caused Sylvester to be seen as subversive for its time. Younger children (pre-K) may have some issues with the possibility that Sylvester and his parents may never reunite and the twist of magic gone wrong (the staple of oh-so-many fables) might cause anxiety in those that aren't used to this fairy tale trope. Regardless, a William Steig picture book is a necessity in any family library. Luckily, he wrote nearly three dozen books just for children - the majority of which are still in print.Availability: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is available in hardcover, paperback and on CD (as well as audio cassette, if you rock the old school style).
Who: Tomie dePaola (born in Meriden, CT, 1934)
Book: Stegra Nona / Simon & Schuster / 1975
Plot: Strega Nona takes place in Calabria, in the southern region of Italy. Stega Nona (translated from Italian as "Witch Grandmother") is well known and well liked in her small village. Her special remedies are used by the villagers for everything from love connections to wart removal. Realizing she's not getting any younger, Strega Nona hires an assistant named Big Anthony to help her with household tasks. However, due to Big Anthony's inability to "pay attention" he incorrectly performs a spell while she is out of town. His attempt to provide pasta to the villagers works a little too well and soon the entire town is overrun with a plethora of pasta with no signs of stopping. Will Strega Nona return to the village in time to save everyone? Will the the magic pasta pot ever stop producing pasta? Will Anthony be punished? Will he learn his lesson? Respect, listening, consequences and kindness are all lessons learned through dePaola's recognizable and humorous illustrations and dialogue.
Misc: Only two books published in 1974 were honored in 1975. The winner, Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott and the sole runner up Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book by Tom Feelings. The 1976 list, which honored the crop of books published in '75 only increased the list to three. Strega Nona was named the runner-up along with Peter Parnall's The Desert is Theirs. The winners were husband and wife team Leo & Diane Dillon for Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears, a book that translated several African legends. The Dillons would also be awarded the Caldecott in 1977 for their more in-depth look at those legends in Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions. dePaola, who taught art at several institutes of higher learning including New England College and Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire before devoting himself full-time to children's books, has published over 120 works - 11 of which are Strega Nona stories (including Strega Nona Meets Her Match, Strega Nona Takes a Vacation and Strega Nona's Magic Lessons.) Though "Strega Nona" and the characters are wholly original characters created by dePaola, the general plot is an update of the Germanic fairytale, The Magic Porridge Pot. dePaola, who still resides in New London, NH, was honored by being named the U.S. nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen award and was named the recipient of the Laura Ingalls Wilder award in 2011.
Availability: Strega Nona is available in hardcover, paperback, board book, digital and audio formats.
by Sarah Terry, Museum Educator
Could it finally be summer in New Hampshire? This winter child is a little sad (and hauling up the air conditioners from my basement…), but it’s hard to feel too badly when all the trees and flowers are in bloom!
I’ve been watching our museum garden start to grow out back – we have a ton of different herbs, all kinds of vegetables poking their stems up – and contemplating my unfortunate black thumb. I’ve never really been able get anything to grow except aloe plants (which apparently thrive on neglect), so I’ve been thinking a lot about the science behind growing things, the way plants and animals fit into their environments, and the effects, both positive and negative, that human beings can have on those environments.
It’s with those thoughts in mind that I’ve decided it’s high time to dirty up our fancy new STEAM Lab a bit! For the month of June, all of our lab activities are going to be focused on ecology.
I chose ecology in particular because it focuses on how all the elements of our environment work together. Ecologists look at plants, animals, soil, people – all the pieces of the puzzle. That’s what I’m hoping kids and parents will get a taste of in the lab this month.
And taste may be literal! I’m planning on growing some oyster mushrooms in the lab for kids to inspect, as well as planting some pea plants. We’ll be looking at strawberry DNA, making seed bombs, learning about beavers, making biomes in a bag, and even raising some butterflies!
We’ll be posting our STEAM Lab schedule weekly, so make sure to check our Facebook page and calendar for updates!
And who knows – maybe I’ll even get to upgrade my black thumb to something a little greener! Wish me luck!
4th Annual Dover Mini Maker Faire Seeks Participants
The Dover Mini Maker Faire, New Hampshire’s only licensed Maker Faire, takes place in downtown Dover every year at the end of August and is hosted and organized by the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. Saturday, August 27 is a day-long festival where people of all ages show what they are making, and share what they are learning. But it’s not your typical New England fair. More than 1,600 people attended last year to interact with robots, play with rockets, try their hands at science experiments, geek-out with innovative technology, create arts and crafts and so much more.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is seeking Makers to participate in this year’s Faire.
“We get asked all the time, what exactly is a ‘Maker,’ and the answer is really very simple. Anyone who loves to create things with their own hands is a Maker!”
“Makers are everywhere once you start looking for them,” said Neva Cole CMNH Communications Director. “Many people might not ever even consider calling themselves makers until I point it out to them. I have friends who have normal jobs, but on the weekend they make their own soap, or build portable pizza ovens that they take to the beach! Some are stay-at-home moms who are incredible artists, or stay-at-home dads who build go-carts in their garage!” All ages are welcome to apply as Makers at the Dover Mini Maker Faire. Applications are online at www.makerfairedover.com. The deadline for Makers to apply is Friday, August 5.
The Dover Mini Maker Faire is not your typical “Ferris wheel and cotton candy” fair, although there will be incredible local food from Terra Cotta Pasta, 7th Settlement Brewery, Boogalows BBQ, Kona Ice and Clyde’s Cupcakes. This is a hands-on festival for all ages, and in the tradition of Maker Faires, celebrates the thriving resourcefulness, innovation, creativity and forward-thinking technology that can be found in New Hampshire today.
“We continue to be so impressed by the region’s creativity, and feel honored to be able to provide these makers, whether they are young or young at heart, with a venue to showcase their talents,” said Jane Bard, President of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.
The Dover Mini Maker Faire will take over downtown Dover, with four locations: upper and lower Henry Law Park, The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, and One Washington Mill.
Advance tickets will be on sale July 1-31 for $10 and tickets at the gate will be $12. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased online at www.makerfairedover.com.
For more information on the Dover Mini Maker Faire, please call 603-742-2002 or visit www.makerfairedover.com.
By Susan Mariano, CMNH Intern
Q. Your photographs capture the optimistic joy of childhood and the strong desire to embrace and rejoice in the freedom to express, celebrate and share one’s colorful cultural heritage. While the immigrants and refugees from Africa and Southeast Asia may outwardly look and dress differently than those born here in the United States, they share many of the same family values as their fellow American-born neighbors and should be respected and appreciated for their differences.
Many of the people you have immortalized on film have come to New Hampshire seeking safety and a better life for their children. However, it was a shameful local act of hate that inspired you to begin your photographic journey. What signs have you seen that the tides of understanding and embracing cultural diversity are changing here in New Hampshire?
A. The act of hate that inspired me to do this photographic project was immediately countered by a large community response that started the "Love Your Neighbor" Coalition. The hate was from one person, the response was from a whole community. Since then, my photography has been shown in many exhibits and talks that I have given in several New Hampshire communities. I have seen in the response to those events that feature the lives of our immigrant and refugee neighbors, and in the out-pouring of interest in by book, Different Roots, Common Dreams, that there is a growing interest and desire to welcome for people of different cultures who resettle in our communities. Through these photographs, the broader public has come to know our immigrant neighbors, and that knowing has planted the seeds of understanding and compassion.
Q. The photographs you have taken of Chinese children living their everyday lives, hanging out with friends, riding on a bicycle and playing outside in the dirt illustrate that the simple things that bring one joy during the days childhood are pretty much universal.
As a retired pediatrician who accompanies groups of prospective parents on the journey to meet their adoptive children for the first time, what would you like to say to couples who are considering becoming parents to children from other cultures?
A. My advice to people thinking of adopting children from a different culture would be no different than I would give to any potential parents. Raising children is a demanding challenge whether they are naturally yours, adopted from your culture, or adopted from a different one. If you are afraid of challenges, don’t have kids. If you embrace challenges, go for it!
SAYAKA and SETH BLEWITT
Q. The images and objects that you have curated, providing a glimpse into the life of a child from Japan, were uniquely enlightening. Finally, I understand the significance of the Japanese cherry blossoms! The celebrations of Hina Matsuri and Tango no Sekku show how truly important and respected children are in the lives of the Japanese.
What message are you hoping the people who view your collection will take away with them?
A. I'm glad that the exhibit had that effect of providing some insight into Japan through a child's eyes. Think of the first moment when you saw the topics posted on the wall of the
exhibit. Perhaps you had never seen a lunch box decorated to look like Mario...or you've not yet had the chance to sit underneath cherry blossoms and enjoy the company of others while the petals fall around you. If any of the topics were new to you, what did you feel when it was something you'd never seen before? This feeling is what I want people viewing the collection to take away with them. And this is the feeling that kids have all the time as they are growing up and encountering something for the first time.
Curiosity, wonder, bemusement, and excitement for something new are a little harder to come by when you're older, unless you look for it. In exploring another culture, adults can feel like a kid again because they encounter a barrage of new experiences. So hopefully in the short term visitors, adults and children alike, have found these wondrous emotions. And in the long term I hope that this exhibit has motivated adults to seek out new experiences for themselves and to share with others.
Now on view in the Naturalist Study
We have a great collection of rocks, minerals and fossils on display in our Naturalist Study exhibit, thanks to the Woodman Museum. This exhibition is a collaborative project that relates the collections and missions of Dover's two museums, bringing rocks and minerals from the Woodman Museums's permanent collection to the Children's Museum of New Hampshire. There are rocks, minerals, crystals and fossils of all shapes, ages, and origins in our display cases, as well as a variety of rocks that are out to be touched and examined under a large magnifying glass or our digital microscope.
You can learn about how rocks are formed and then changed over time (the Rock Cycle) while examining the rock specimens. Did you know that every rock on this planet, or even other planets, falls into one of 3 categories - Igneous, Metamorphic and Sedimentary. Come and find out what makes these rocks different from each other. Since we are learning about rocks, of course we have to talk about volcanoes! Volcanoes are a big part of the Rock Cycle, and a very interesting natural phenomenon. We have some volcanic rocks on display that show how different rocks form during different types of eruptions. Did you know their used to be several volcanoes in New Hampshire? Geologists come from all over the world to study the remnants of the volcano that is now know as the Ossipee Mountain Range.
We rotate The Naturalist Study exhibits by season so there is always something new to see. Rocks will be on display through June, 2016. We'll then have a short exhibition on Sharks for Shark Week, my favorite. We'll end the summer with an exhibit all about local wildlife in the Gulf of Maine.
Thanks again to the Woodman Museum for lending us your awesome rock collection!
The Naturalist Study exhibit is sponsored by The Little Harbor Charitable Foundation.
The Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Innovation Lab at the Children’s Museum of NH is now a permanent part of the museum and for the last few weeks has been hosting drop-in events every day. The Lab is designed to provide students, teachers and visiting families with enriching hands-on STEAM learning experiences.
“The response has been wonderful!” shared Jane Bard, President of the Children’s Museum of NH. “We’ve had schools, teachers, and kids of all ages use the STEAM Lab, and with each new interaction, we feel confident that we’ve created a useful and timely resource.” Programs in the STEAM Innovation Lab can be tailored to any group.
Learning Labs are for schools and organized groups and come with themes like “Keeping Current: Circuits” or “Mission to the Moon.” New spring and summer classes and camps for kids are being scheduled now and some of those themes include “Sci Fi Science” and “Learn to Code.” The Children’s Museum educators are gearing up to offer Professional Development opportunities for teachers with workshop themes like “NGSS Crosscutting Standards: What Are They and How Do I Incorporate Them?” The Museum is currently partnering with UNH Cooperative Extension to offer “Inquiry Teaching Methods: Grounding STEM Education Programs in Science Practices” to 17 classroom educators from throughout the region.
Debuting at the Museum’s Earth Day Celebration on April 22 will be a new “Eco Boys and Girls Science Bites” program. CMNH has partnered with Eco Boys and Girls to create a series of 12 hands-on science demonstrations and activities featuring five lovable animated characters, each designed to educate pre-K to third grade children about the Earth, sustainability and our interconnectedness. Ernie Earth preserves the natural world and its ecosystems; Lulu Love demonstrates the importance of loving herself, others and all living things; Patsy Peace resolves conflicts so that humans and other living things can exist in peaceful ways; Ray Recycle shows people ways to reuse, reduce and recycle, and Sammy Sun spreads the word about conservation and protecting natural resources. These programs will be drop-in and free with museum admission. The lessons will also be available on the Museum’s website for free use in classrooms, after school programs or by families at home.
The STEAM Innovation Lab doesn’t get much quiet time because every day the museum is open, there is a scheduled drop-in activity included with admission so that guests of all ages can experience this unique space. Some programs encourage kids and parents to work together to build a prototype of an invention. Other programs lead kids through an engineering challenge to build boats, bridges or towers. Much of the Lab’s focus is on problem-solving and coming up with creative solutions. Other days visitors will be engaged with the Lab’s technology like the 3D printer and the FLoid® Imaging System microscopes provided by Thermo Fisher Scientific, one of the Lab’s legacy sponsors. Check our daily calendar on the Museum’s website: www.childrens-museum.org
In addition to all the daily drop-in programs that are free with museum admission, there are also programs that may cost a little extra to attend, but are perfect opportunities for adults and kids to learn together. Storybook STEAM happens most Fridays 2-2:45pm and is perfect for ages 3.5-5. Kids hear STEAM-related stories, read by a Museum educator, and then work with their adults on a project inspired by the story. Storybook STEAM doesn’t require registration and is $10 per adult/child pair for Members and $12 for adult/child pair for Non-members. There are also adult and child workshops on one Saturday a month called “STEAM Saturday Workshops,” The latest one is this coming Saturday, April 16 from 10:30-11:30am. Kids and adults can create their own Shrinky Dinks Sculptures to take home! On Saturday, May 14 from 10:30-11:30am adults can learn how to code their own video games right along with their kids (ages 8-12)! The cost for workshops like these is $15 per adult/child pair for Members and $20 for Non-members. (Does not include Museum admission.)
To help facilitate these kinds of coding workshops, the Children’s Museum has partnered with local software developer, James Terry, to create the museum’s first app. The “CMNH Game Maker” app has been developed to be used on the STEAM Innovation Lab’s iPads and allows users to switch seamlessly between coding, creating art, debugging, and testing their own video games. “Our goal with CMNH Game Maker is to provide a single tool that lets students (and interested adults) have everything they need to create their first video game,” shared Museum Educator (and James’ daughter) Sarah Terry. The app is currently being Beta tested by enthusiastic museum students throughout the spring. “Sarah and I are learning a lot watching the kids use the App and it’s given us a lot of ideas for new features and ways to make it even more accessible for kids who want to turn their passion for playing video games into the skill to make them," said James.
For more details and a schedule of events in the STEAM Innovation Lab, please visit our website. Thank you to our STEAM Innovation Lab founding sponsors Thermo Fisher Scientific, The Roger R. and Theresa S. Thompson Endowment Fund, Granite State Development Corporation and the Horne Family Foundation.