NH Maker & Food Fest SNEAK PEAK!

The NH Maker & Food Fest has a new date - Saturday, June 29th, 2019, and we are still accepting Maker & Food Vendor applications through June 7th. A couple of cool new things about this year's Fest:

NO FEE to enjoy the FOOD TRUCKS!
You heard right, you don't have to pay the Maker Fest ticket fee to enjoy the food trucks (of which we have about 11 so far). BUT, of course we hope you'll come in and check out all the Makers anyway.

Dover Ducky Derby
We're bringing back the Dover Ducky Derby as a collaboration with SEED (Seacoast Educational Endowment) during the Fest at 1pm. Adopt a duck and you can watch it drop off the Washington Street Bridge into the Cocheco River. The first few ducks to cross the finish line will win some great prizes! You don't have to pay a Maker Fest ticket fee to see the Derby either. Just gather by the food trucks along the river!

Recycled River Regatta
Right after the Dover Ducky Derby is the Recycled River Regatta! Basically, we're inviting anyone and everyone to craft a small boat out of recycled materials and we'll launch them off the Washington Street Bridge at 1:15pm to see if they can not only float, but survive that 20-foot drop into the water! Anyone can participate (it's FREE), and we're just asking that if you want to be considered for an award, just fill out a quick form when you drop off your boat in the lower park. You also do not have to pay a Maker Fest ticket fee to watch or participate in the Recycled River Regatta. Psst... EDUCATORS! This would make an awesome end of year project for your kids!

Museum and Park
This year we're not exhibiting any Makers across the river at One Washington. Everyone will either be located inside the Children's Museum, on the Rotary Pavilion stage, or outside in the upper park, with the food vendors down in the parking lot next to the Dover Adventure Playground. 

TICKETS & DISCOUNTS

As usual, it pays to get your Maker Fest tickets early! They're only $10 per person (ages 6 - adult) when you buy them online through Friday, June 28th. BUT, you might want to check out all the awesome discounts we have for EBT Cardholders, Active Military, Seniors, etc before you buy them online. We want EVERYONE to enjoy this day of discovery!

And now for a SNEAK PEEK at just a handful of participating Makers and Food Vendors:

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.

Dover Public Library
Did you know your local library is a great resource for makers learning to expand their skills? Stop by the Dover Public Library booth to learn more about their maker space and all the support they offer to makers. Try out making a fun rainbow bubble snake while you’re there!

Sub-Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream
Not only will you be able to taste this incredible ice cream in the Food area of Maker Fest, but they’ll also be showing off the science behind their “cool” treats on the stage using liquid nitrogen! 

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. One or more of the dogs from the books might be available for a meet-and-greet!

Snap Circuits with UNH InterOperability Lab 
Join members of the UNH InterOperability Lab, a testing lab right here in NH, to learn about electricity and STEM fields. Play with Snap Circuits and see if you can make lights turn on or spinners spin! 

AMITY Publications
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! Layne will be giving two workshops, one entitled “So you Want to Be an Author” which will talk about how to become a published author, and the other entitled “See My (Dis)Abilities” which will feature a book that addresses four disabilities as they are defined, however, through the use of photography, “redefines” them by focusing on their abilities.

Local Artist Nicole Ellis
Nicole is a local artist who “dabbles” in crafts and will be showing off and selling her paintings of quiet New England moments, as well as her upcycled, hand-sewn crafts and ornaments, wood block printed notecards, and more.

LetGo Your Mind STEM Programs
This is a team of teachers and engineers who have a passion for helping kids discover creativity through science. They use LEGO builds to help teach the basics of design and engineering! Stop by their booth to create your own magnetic levitation LEGO car that will travel down a ten-foot ramp! 

Henna & Body Art By Squirrel Cat Designs
Denice Kelly from Squirrel Cat Designs is back and offering all natural henna and jaguar designs! Come learn about how henna is used in different cultures, shop henna-inspired items, or let the kids pick out a temporary glitter tattoo.

FIRST LEGO League
This is a group of 3rd -8th graders who are part of the FIRST Lego League Robotics Team, who use cooperation and gracious professionalism while coding and building autonomous robots. Learn more about how they work together to find innovative solutions to contemporary issues and then try your hand at coding a LEGO robot! 

NASA Ambassadors
NASA Ambassadors can tell you all about NASA’s latest space missions! Stop by their booth, space out with them, and pick up some NASA swag and freebies!

Persistence of Vision with NHPBS
Come learn about animation with one of the festival’s media sponsors, NHPBS! Discover what “persistence of vision” means – hint – it’s why we see TV and movies as moving images and not a series of still shots. 

Slime Buffet with Main Street Art
SLIME IS BACK! This Newfields community art center will be talking about all their fall art classes suitable for children and families, while also inviting everyone to play in their popular slime buffet!

Clay: Awakening an Earth Resource
Let Vicky Anderson teach you how to recognize, simple-test, and awaken natural clay to craft into a small item to take home. 

Thread Painting
Local artist Melanie Lovering will show us how she creates her unique nature photography/fabric paintings that are enhanced with thread!

Crea8ive Curves
Let Thulasi Makireddy create a traditional henna design on you with freshly mixed natural henna that can last up to a week! 

oneTesla Musical Tesla Coil Kits
These awesome DIY Tesla coil kits shoot lightning, play music, and teach electronics! Started at an MIT hakerspace and funded by Kickstarter, oneTesla has been sparking interest in physics worldwide since 2012. 

Homeslice Puppetry
Eric Weiss is a professional puppet builder who teaches people how to build their own puppets. Stop by, meet his puppet friends, and build your own foam carved puppet using pool noodles and common craft supplies!

Puzzle Making with New England Tutors
These local group of tutors work to inspire, challenge, and advocate for students of all ages and all abilities. Stop by their booth to learn more about them, and to design and color a puzzle to take home!

McDonough-Grimes Irish Dance School
Dover’s own traditional irish dance school, led by former “Riverdance” cast member John Grimes, will not only be performing on stage today, but will have a booth where you can stop by and learn more about the different dance steps or maybe even join in a group dance! 

One Story Houses
Erin Mawn brings her favorite books, movies and stories to life in miniature through her unique dollhouses which she crafts using mostly upcycled and thrifted materials!

Triaxial Weave Baskets
Peggy Thrasher will be 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.

A Moose with a Uke
Join local author and illustrator Aaron Risi as he demonstrates how he draws Monty the Moose from his inspirational children’s book “A Moose with a Uke.” And if you ask nicely he might just play the Monty the Moose theme song on his ukulele!

Kno-Bu
Check out what Yvonne Martin, a Rye NH inventor has created to help jazz up your cupboards or your closet! The Kno-Bu is a fabric accessory that stretches and holds tightly to existing knobs or buttons. Play at being a fashion stylist and try it out yourself on one of their mannequin’s coats!

Sages Entertainment – Balloon Art
Kali and Wayne Moulton are an enthusiastic husband-and-wife duo providing balloon twisting and décor along with magic and balloon workshops! Watch as they create some amazing balloon sculptures to display. You may even be able to take one home if you are visiting at the right time!

Granite State Ghostbusters & N.E.G.A.T.E.
These volunteer Ghostbuster groups love showing off their cosplay gear and will be roaming the Fest again this year! Be sure to stop and say “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!”

WITH MORE TO COME!

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Who Will Win?!

2019 Nissan 370 Z Coupe 08

Car or Cash Raffle Winner Chosen Soon

In less than two weeks, one lucky person will be randomly chosen as the winner of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s Car or Cash Raffle. The winner will get to choose between a 2019 metallic gray Nissan 370Z Coupe (MSRP $32,995) or $20,000 cash.

The winner will be chosen at a free event at Port City Nissan in Portsmouth on Tuesday, May 21 from 5:30-6:30pm. Everyone who has purchased a raffle ticket is invited to the event, and there is good reason to come. “If you come to the winner reveal event on Tuesday, we’ll automatically enter you into a last minute drawing to win an extra Car or Cash raffle ticket,” shared CMNH President Jane Bard. “Who knows, that last minute ticket might be the one that wins!”

Odds of winning in the raffle are very good. According to the museum, as of this release they have only sold less than 400 tickets out of the total 725 they have available. “Those odds are fantastic, and definitely better than the Powerball,” said Bard.

The Car or Cash Raffle is one of the non-profit’s museum’s fundraisers. “We rely on the proceeds of this raffle as it allows us to continue offering subsidized museum visits for schools and families in challenging circumstances,” said Bard.

Tickets can be purchased online via the Museum’s website: www.childrens-museum.org now until 2pm on Tuesday, May 21st. After that, tickets can still be purchased in person at the Port City Nissan event until 6pm.

Purchasers of car or cash raffle tickets must be 18 years or older, possess a valid driver’s license and provide proof of insurance. The winner is responsible for registration, title and all applicable federal, state and local taxes resulting from the award of this prize. A maximum of 725 will be sold (50 less than last year). Raffle tickets are not tax deductible. The museum would like to thank its media partners Z107, Rock 101 and 96.7 News Radio as well as Port City Nissan for being a wonderful supporter of this fundraiser. 

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It's Been a Good Run!

Children’s Museum of NH’s Final 5K Road Race in 2019

The Children’s Museum of NH’s 5K Road Race had a good 34 year run, but is now coming to the finish line. Saturday, May 4th, 2019 will be the last road race organized and hosted by the museum, which is the first race in the Seacoast Road Race series.

“When we first started this race in 1985, it was one of our very first fundraisers, and it happened to be at the beginning of the road race movement,” shared CMNH President Jane Bard. “At that time, and in the many years that followed, it served as a wonderful community resource, and we are so grateful to all our participants, sponsors, and Seacoast Road Race Series partners for making it such a fun and festive event over the years.”

However, with the increased number of road races available to runners in the area “it no longer seems like it is the best use of our time and efforts,” shared Bard. “With our mission being focused on actively engaging families in hands-on discovery, we feel our other numerous events and programs better serve that function.”

“It was not an easy decision,” said Bard. “This year, our 35th anniversary year, we spent a lot of time looking back over our history, but also reflecting on the paths we want to blaze in the next 35 years. Change is tough, but it’s necessary!”

Those new future paths may include an event that reflects the popular Kid-venture Course that was developed as a silly obstacle course for kids ages 1-10 and happens the same morning as the 5k. “Our participation in the Kid-venture Course continues to increase each year, so that tells us a lot,” said Bard. “We’re also planning to repeat some popular new fundraising events that we debuted this year like Cider Flights & Tasty Bites and Mini Golf in the Museum.” 

For those runners or walkers of all ages hoping to enjoy our race one final time as we say goodbye to this signature event, discounted $22 online registrations are being accepted through Friday, May 3rd, or you can register at the race itself on Saturday, May 4th for $25. The certified 5k course through downtown Dover starts at 9am at the intersection of Central Avenue, Washington Street and Henry Law Avenue. The Kid-venture Course, which has a superheroes theme this year, will take place in lower Henry Law Park at 9:50am, and discounted online registration costs $8 in advance or $10 on race day. The morning features a festive atmosphere full of awards and prizes, activities with some of our sponsors, and great food including La Festa Brick oven pizza, Panera baked goods, Terra Cotta Pasta pasta salad, RiverBend sandwiches, a top-your-own yogurt bar, water and granola bars sponsored by Hannaford, fresh fruit and more!

To learn more or to register, visit www.childrens-museum.org/things-to-do/events/5k-road-race-fun-run. The museum thanks it’s 2019 5K Road Race premiere sponsor Sprague, as well as Event Sponsors Relyco, Weathervane, Willem Verweij Physical Therapy, La Festa Brick & Brew Pizzeria, Seacoast Spine & Sports Injuries Clinic and Berwick Academy, and Supporting Sponsors Bob’s Discount Furniture, Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A., Calling All Cargo Moving & Storage, Dover Honda, FORMAX, Hannaford, RiverBend Pizza and Subs, Runner’s Alley, Terra Cotta Pasta, and Wing-Itz.

2018 5K Start

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Six Books to Celebrate Women

Six Children’s Books To Celebrate International Women’s Day 2019

Friday March 8th marks International Women’s Day 2019. In celebration we’ve compiled together a list of six children’s books that honor and empower strong women.


Grace for President

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Written by Kelly DiPucchio, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Grade Level: 1, 2, 3

Genre: Fiction, Hybrid

New York Times Bestseller

2008

 

An introduction to the American electoral system, Grace for President tells the story of fourth grader Grace Campbell. Upon learning that America has never had a female president she decides to become the first, launching her political career by running in her school’s mock election.  


She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World

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Written by Chelsea Clinton, Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

Grade Level: PreK, K, 1, 2, 3

Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

New York Times Bestseller

2017

In She Persisted, Chelsea Clinton outlines 13 American women who have helped shape the country through hard work and persistence. Featured figures include Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, and Oprah Winfrey. The success of She Persisted as a New York Times Bestseller spurred the creation of a second book: She Persisted Around the World. This companion book details the stories of 13 additional history-changing women from around the globe.

 


Malala’s Magic Pencil

 

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Written by Malala Yousafzai, Illustrated by Kerascoet

Grade Level: PreK, K, 1, 2, 3

Genre: Nonfiction, Biography/Autobiography

2017

 

As a child in Pakistan, Malala would often wish for a magic pencil, one that would help her create happiness, clean her city, and sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as Malala grew up, she saw the ways a magic pencil could truly be used to make the world a better place.

 

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai details her story for a younger audience in her first picture book, Malala’s Magic Pencil. She hopes to inspire children to think globally, and through hard work and determination, change their world.


Girls Who Code, Learn to Code and Change the World

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Written by Reshma Saujani

Grade Level: 5, 6

Genre: Nonfiction, Science/Technology

New York Times Bestseller

2017

Written by the founder of the Girls Who Code organization, Reshma Saujani aims to inspire a new generation of female coders. This novel incorporates eye-catching artwork, understandable explanations of basic coding principles, and the inspiring real life stories of women working for corporations like NASA and Pixar. Girls Who Code aims to show women how coding can help them reach their dreams, whatever they may be.

 


I Dissent, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

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Written by Debbie Levy, Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley

Grade Level: PreK, K, 1, 2, 3

Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

2016 

In I Dissent author Debbie Levy demonstrates the power of saying no and standing up for what you believe in. This biographical picture book details the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ginsburg constantly says no, disagreeing when it matters the most. I Dissent outlines the stories of Ginsburg’s most famous dissents, and demonstrates to young readers “disagreeing doesn’t make you disagreeable”!

 

 


Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

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Written by Elena Favilli, Francesca Cavallo

Illustrated by 60 female artists from around the world

Grade Level: K, 1, 2, 3

Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

 2016

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls tells the stories of 100 historical female figures, both past and present, in an accessible fairytale style. Each figure is given a one-page biography accompanied with an original work of art. The book aims to inspire children across a range of fields including science, politics, history, sports, technology, and the arts. Featured women include Elizabeth I, Serena Williams and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls broke records by becoming the most crowd funded children’s book in history, raising over half a million dollars from over 13 thousand backers on Kickstarter. The book’s success has inspired two volumes, a journal and a 12 episode podcast, all of which can be found on the official book website: https://www.rebelgirls.co/   

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Learning About Symmetry

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s Monday science class offered a group of eleven 3-5 year olds a chance to learn and apply the concept of symmetry.

The museum’s Early Childhood and Literacy Coordinator, Meredith Brustlin led the Junior Science Explorers class, offered by the museum on Mondays from 1:30 to 2:15pm.

Meredith first gathered the group together and explained the concept of symmetry using images of butterflies, lions, and houses. Kids were challenged to identify which images displayed symmetry and which did not.

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Following the lesson, the group sat down to a hands-on symmetry activity, allowing them to apply what they had just learned. The kids were given the choice of painting one side of either a butterfly or a bee.

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They were then instructed to fold their papers in half, revealing a symmetrical work of art they were free to take home.

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A Colorful Array of Flying Birds

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Next time you are in our Muse Studio, take a look above you and enjoy the colorful array of flying “birds”. South Berwick resident and artist Peter Flynn Donovan donated a flock of his birds to be enjoyed by all our visitors. In the spring of 2018, Peter was in a group art exhibition at the Portsmouth Public Library, called “Of a Feather.” His contribution to the show was a sculptural installation entitled: “Tah Dah!”

This art installation consisted of a five-foot cartoonish green duck who held in his hand an orange magician’s hat, out of which170 of these birds flew. Unfortunately, the majority of these birds were destroyed since being displayed in Portsmouth. But  thankfully the surviving birds have found a new home here at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.

Peter is a folk artist whose work is a narrative of the personal and universal conversation of what it is to be alive. He is strongly influenced by mythology – personal, world & religious. He makes art because it is one skill he feels has contributed to the vast experience and existence of Humanity. He is inspired by other artists and creators. He is honored to participate in this challenging avocation, and to be part of an often-invisible royal lineage whom make the world a deeply richer place.

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Farewell to 2018!

As 2018 draws to a close, all of us at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire want to take a moment to thank you for choosing to spend your precious family time with us this year.  Life is busy and childhood is fleeting, making the time to connect with loved ones and create joyful memories more important than ever. 

Your children may not remember this year’s holiday gifts a year from now, but they will remember piloting the Museum’s Yellow Submarine with you as co-pilot, making you a meal in the Kids Cafe, meeting their favorite book character, and simply laughing, learning and being together with you.

In 2019, we will continue to fulfill our mission of engaging families in hands-on discovery through new programs and exhibits such as a Family Book Club and Mini Golf at the Museum, the Lights! Shadow! Action! interactive classroom, and the outdoor Play Patio. As a non-profit Museum, all of these initiatives are only possible thanks to the generous support from foundations, businesses and individuals.

Here’s to a new year of inspiring children and nurturing connections with family and friends!

Jane Bard, CMNH President

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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.

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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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