The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has begun construction on its outdoor Play Patio expansion. The new Play Patio is designed to be an extension of the Museum experience that children, families and educators have grown to love. This three-season outdoor space facing Henry Law Park will feature messy materials and activities such as an oversized paint wall, ramps and chutes for water exploration, sensory tables for mud and bubble fun, color shadows, clay play and more. Plans for the Play Patio were unveiled during the Museum’s 35th anniversary in 2018 and the project was funded before the museum temporarily closed due to COVID-19 in mid-March.
“We love open-ended exploration, but without an outdoor space, it’s difficult to offer it consistently,” shared Children’s Museum of New Hampshire President Jane Bard. “With this new Play Patio space, we’ll be able to incorporate messy play with our other more traditional hands-on exhibits, offering yet another level of discovery to our visitors. This project has been over two years in the making, and we’re excited that, despite the challenges of the pandemic, we’re creating a place to bring joy to children and families during a time that they need it the most,” said Bard. “People may have noticed the construction crews converging at the front of the museum and this is why. Construction so far has involved extending and creating drainage, cementing over open basement windows in the building, removing the existing asphalt and fence and starting to install a lightweight block material called Geofoam to fill-in the entire space. Many of the exhibit components have been built and we will be installing a playground surfacing material in September.
The museum’s Play Patio does not have an open date as of yet.
The Play Patio project is made possible thanks in part to the $100,000 tax credits the museum received from the NH Community Development Finance Authority. Businesses who purchased those tax credits include Highland Hardwoods, BankKW Staffing, LLC, Northway Bank, Newburyport Bank, First Seacoast Bank, DF Richard, Stinson Associates, Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, and Seacoast Endodontics. Other sponsors include Kennebunk Savings Bank, Newburyport Bank and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. Grants for the project have been provided by the Abbie F. Moseley Charitable Trust, the McIninch Foundation, the Samuel P. Hunt Foundation, the Roger R. & Theresa S. Thompson Endowment Fund, and the Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire will continue to share updates and photos of the Play Patio progress on its social media pages.
Happy summer Museum fans! We wanted to give you an update on the Children’s Museum and where we are at in terms of reopening. The short answer is, we are not opening yet. We have studied the latest guidelines for the reopening of Museums and are working diligently to adapt our facility, exhibits, cleaning and safety procedures to meet and exceed these guidelines. Our top priority is to keep our visitors and staff safe. We are taking your comments and suggestions from our recent survey under advisement and are confident that when we do reopen, it will be as safe as possible for all involved, and still feel like the museum you know and love.
In the meantime, we encourage you all to continue to support our mission of actively engaging families in hands-on discovery with a purchase of a “Stay and Play Summer Camp Kit.” We sold out our first round of kits and they are back on sale now to be be available for pick-up in July at the museum! The Discovery Camp kits are for ages 6-10 and the Wee Kits are for ages 3.5-5. And then we are continuing to offer our “Community Builder” option, where you can purchase either kit for yourself and donate one to a child in need - or donate both - whatever suits your situation. We connect with local partner organizations to identify families who may greatly benefit from an activity kit this summer. So far we’ve been able to donate kits to 15 families thanks to your generosity!
Another way to support our work is to purchase a Car or Cash Raffle ticket for $100! We’ve extended the sale through the end of August. Only 725 tickets will be sold and one lucky winner will be announced on August 29th and can choose between a black 2020 Nissan 370Z coupe (MSRP $35,215) or a metallic grey, 2020 Nissan Leaf S model 100% electric car (MSRP $34,610) or $20,000 cash!
And of course a Membership to the Museum makes a wonderful gift for any family! Please remember, all Children’s Museum of New Hampshire members will have their membership extended by the number of months we are closed.
Stay positive and healthy and we will see you soon.
By Leila McRae, Bookings & Membership Manager
When we closed our doors in March we had hoped that we would only be closed for a few weeks. Certainly, we did not anticipate being closed for months and not being able to welcome you to the museum for an extended period.
In light of our closure we will be extending all current memberships for however many months we are closed from their expiration date. All memberships will be updated in our database with the new expiration dates and members will be issued an updated expiration date sticker to add to their current membership card.
We cannot wait to welcome you back to the museum when it is sure to be a safe and fun visit for all of our guests and staff. We miss seeing you, hearing your laughs, learning with you and sharing stories and enjoying our days with you.
In the meantime, please visit our Online Learning & Fun page to stay connected with the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire through a number of virtual activities, and follow us on Facebook to stay in touch and learn about members-only opportunities when we reopen.
Children’s Museum Encourages Families to #PlayTogether
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, like every museum across the country, has closed its doors for the good of the community during this pandemic. “Luckily ‘PLAY’ can happen anywhere,” said CMNH Director Jane Bard. “Our mission is to actively engage families in hands-on discovery, and there is no reason we can’t continue to do that, even with our exhibits being temporarily closed.”
In order to continue to fulfill their mission, Museum staff and educators are working hard to create online videos, blogs, social media challenges and more. “We continue to offer our Wee Ones Wednesday program Wednesday mornings at 8am through a recorded video on all of our social media channels including YouTube,” shared Bard. “So, fans of that program can tune in and say hello to their friend ‘Octopus’, do an activity or craft, pause for snack time, dance around to some silly songs, and even enjoy a story. If you’ve never joined us for a Wee Ones program, now is a great time to test it out! It’s perfect for ages 2 - 4.”
Another popular program is “First Friends and Baby Storytime.” “Ms. Meredith, one of our educators, has been recording First Friends videos to share with families at 8am on Friday mornings,” said Bard. “First Friends is a great program for babies and toddlers to watch together with their caregivers, because it has silly rhymes and active songs perfect for that age group.” Ms. Meredith also shares Tinker Time Tuesday videos as well, which are designed for parents who are looking for creative ways to help their toddlers practice skills like sorting, building, cause and effect and more.
The museum’s outreach efforts don’t exclude the older kids. “Much of the content we share can be modified for a wide range of ages,” said Bard. “We give tips and tricks on how to do that either within the videos or on our blog.” Other video topics have included art activities, storytimes, STEAM challenges, and simple science experiments. “Everything we share can also be utilized by educators, and we certainly hope they take advantage of them."
In addition to the online content, the Museum is offering a range of Museum Shop “Spring Fun Packs” and “Museum to Go Activity Boxes” for sale online. When ordering, people can choose from two pick-up dates, Thursday, April 9 from 4-6pm or Saturday, April 11, 10am-noon. The purchases will be available in front of the Museum for contactless pick-up. “These are great bundles of toys and activities, perfect for the upcoming holiday, or really any day,” said Bard. “After all, playing together can happen anywhere, anytime. And the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is here to be a community resource as we all try to parent through this pandemic.”
Dear CMNH Friends,
I’m sure by now you all know how these announcements go. “These are unprecedented times.” Indeed they are, as I’m writing to you from my kitchen table, and not from inside the Museum listening to the sounds of happy children. Two weeks ago we thought we would be welcoming you back with a refreshed facility and exhibits on April 1st. Pandemics, as it turns out, are hard to predict, and we now know we can’t reopen just yet. But we will be back when it is safe to do so!
In the meantime, we’re doing what we do best, which is encouraging families to actively engage in hands-on discovery, now from the safety of their own homes. We are creating videos of our popular programs and sharing resources to support your at-home learning. Our goal is to continue to #PlayTogether while also bringing a sense of normalcy to children who miss their Museum friends.
Temporarily closing the Museum has not only been sad, but also devastating to us financially. As a non-profit, we rely on income from ticket sales, memberships, classes, and special events to keep the Museum running. Like many of you, we are tightening our belts, using our creative thinking skills to find ways to sustain us through this time, and looking forward to the day we can see you face-to-face.
Since we are closing longer than anticipated, we will be extending our family memberships so you can join in the fun when we reopen.
If you are able, here’s how you can support the Museum during the closure:
- Renew an expired membership or purchase a gift membership for a friend or loved one so you can visit together when we reopen. Gift Memberships aren’t active until redeemed here at the Museum, so they can be purchased at any time and are valid a year from the month of redemption. All memberships will be mailed out one we have an opening date.
- Share our free online content with friends, and consider giving a $5 donation for programs you and your family enjoy.
- Participate in our Car or Cash Raffle fundraiser, and have the chance to win an electric car, sports car or $20,000 prize.
As we watch spring unfold, we’re all taking a collective deep breath and moving forward one day at a time. We will be sure to keep in touch when there is news to share. We are honored to be a valued part of this community for the past 36 years, and look forward to seeing you all soon.
Jane Bard, President
In the interest of doing our part to support the health and wellness of our community and each other, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire will temporarily close to the public beginning at 5 pm, March 14th, 2020, through the end of March. All efforts will be made to reschedule cancelled events, and all groups and individuals affected will be contacted by our staff.
Over the coming weeks, our staff will continue to work both off-site and on-site with appropriate social distancing procedures. We will take this time to deep clean and refresh our facility & exhibits, plan programs and events, and host virtual online activities with our educators to engage children and families during this challenging time.
We will continue to monitor developments and share any updates via our website and social media channels. We appreciate your support and understanding and look forward to welcoming you back to the Museum when we reopen!
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.
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.