CMNH open ended building challenge

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (CMNH) is excited to share that they have been awarded a two-year grant totaling $80,000 from the Evelyn S. and K.E. Barrett Foundation to support a facility expansion project. This expansion will add two new exhibit spaces to the Museum’s second floor, allowing CMNH to meet the changing needs of children, families, and the community.  The Museum will launch this project in 2024, with the goal of opening the additional 1,000 square feet of engaging activities in late 2025. 

“We have been impressed with the work that the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has done for children and families in New Hampshire and are pleased to continue supporting their mission,” said Peter Barrett, Executive Director and Trustee at the Barrett Foundation.

The Barrett Foundation previously provided CMNH with support for their “Bolstering a Childcare System in Crisis” project through which large activity kits filled with play-based manipulatives were provided to 83 childcare centers, family resource centers, and libraries in New Hampshire. The project also supplied educators with resources such as activity guides, instructional workshops and informational videos, and ultimately impacted over 9,900 children in the state. 

“We’re thrilled to have this funding from the Barrett Foundation for our second floor expansion,” said Museum President Jane Bard. “The two new exhibits we have in the works include a New Hampshire farm exhibit designed for our youngest visitors, ages 0-5, similar to our popular Primary Place, and another designed to be a creative open space for changing exhibits and active play.”

The Museum is embracing new opportunities to grow and present new experiences to adapt to community needs. Current lack of childcare and preschool openings are bringing to light a demand for socialization and learning opportunities for children ages 0-5, as well as for their caregivers, hence the addition of a second area catering to this age. The new flexible space will allow CMNH to be responsive, not just through changing exhibits that will provide new and fresh experiences, but also as a space to expand our current drop-in programs and playgroups, community events, and school field trips.  Recent statewide data and feedback from Museum visitors also indicates an urgent need for resources to support child and family emotional wellbeing. Educational activities related to social/emotional learning will be integrated into the new exhibits and CMNH will evaluate existing exhibits in the Museum to determine additional changes that can support children and family emotional health in an approachable and age-appropriate way.