Fans of Mo Willems rejoice! One of the stars of his latest silly series of early reader stories is visiting the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire this Friday, November 12 and Saturday, November 13. Zoom Squirrel is just one of MANY zany furry characters in Willems’ Unlimited Squirrels series and Zoomy is visiting CMNH to help guests celebrate Books Alive and Family Literacy Month.
Books Alive is one of the Museum’s most popular programs that gives young guests a chance to pose for pictures and interact with a lovable costumed picture book character, hear a special storytime, and take part in literacy themed activities. Books Alive characters visit the museum throughout the year, and Zoomy’s visit falls in November, when CMNH celebrates Family Literacy Month. All month CMNH offers author-themed activities and challenges, literary scavenger hunts, and visits and performances from special guests like Zoomy, as well as storyteller Simon Brooks (Saturday, November 20th).
So if your kids love Mo Willem books, come visit CMNH to introduce them to acorn puns and squirrel fun with Zoom Squirrel. Zoom Squirrel will be in the museum for the book readings at 10am during the morning play sessions (9am-Noon) on Friday, November 12 and Saturday, November 13, and at 2pm during the afternoon play sessions (1-4pm) on the same days. Visits with Zoomy are included with museum admission, and online reservations/pre-payment is required. The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire closes between play sessions and has a capacity limit. Masks are required for everyone over the age of 24 months regardless of vaccination status. The museum thanks its sponsors including Eastern Bank and Kennebunk Savings. Visit www.childrens-museum.org to reserve or pre-pay.
Despite the global pandemic and associated challenges, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (CMNH) has ensured that its educational programs remain accessible to all. One corporate supporter, Liberty Mutual, has recently gifted CMNH a $10,000 grant to support this effort.
“We’re proud of our long-term relationship with the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire and we’re proud to support the Museum and its dedicated staff as they champion equitable access to educational opportunities for children and families in our community,” said Matt Keane, Director, Liberty Mutual.
After the museum reopened in September 2020 with a reduced schedule and daily attendance limits to provide a safe space for visitors, most of whom are too young to receive a vaccination, the museum has experienced an 86% reduction in admissions revenue.
“We’re so grateful that Liberty Mutual understands the urgent need for high-quality enrichment activities and programming for young children,” said Jane Bard, CMNH President. “We continuously field requests from social service agencies for admission passes for their clients, and see a demand from visitors using EBT (food stamps benefits) cards for discounted visits with their children. This grant will make it easier for the Museum to continue serving as an integral economic, educational and cultural resource for the seacoast region
Museum discounts vary and include Military, teacher and EBT discounts, as well as social service agency passes. Information about admission discounts can be found online here.
“We want families to know that they can turn to us when looking for quality programming for their young children, and that they will be welcomed regardless of their financial status,” said Bard. “Without the support from foundations and businesses like Liberty Mutual, offering these kinds of accessibility and inclusion programs would be a much greater burden on the museum.”
To learn more about visiting the museum, and to pre-pay/reserve a date/time, guests can go online here. The Museum is currently open for two 3-hour play sessions per day, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. or 1-4 p.m., as well as one morning play session on Sundays, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Reservations are required and masks are required for everyone over the age of 24 months, regardless of vaccination status.
Our Furry Friends: Pet Portraits by NH Artists
New Gallery 6 Art Exhibition at the Children’s Museum of NH
Whether you call them fur babies, best friends, or companions for emotional or physical support, pets are a part of many people’s lives. Two out of every three American homes includes at least one pet and 95% percent of those households consider their pet to be a family member. Join the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire as they celebrate these furry family members and their unique personalities as captured through the art of four New Hampshire pet portraitists.
“Our Furry Friends: Pet Portraits by NH Artists” is the latest Gallery 6 art exhibition at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, and will be on display October 9, 2021 through January 30, 2022. Feature artists include photographer Greg West of Sit.Stay.Smile, acrylic and sketch artist Rebecca Lane of one lane studios, watercolorist Nicole Murphy Fish of Fancy Animal Art Studio, and illustrator Abby Aimesbury.
The Children’s Museum wants visitors to be a part of the fun. Museum visitors and social media followers will also be invited to participate by creating and sharing their own pet portraits for display in the Museum and the Museum will host pet portrait art-making, pet crafts, and special activities throughout the exhibition’s duration.
The Museum will also be adding a Vet Play Exhibit area sponsored by Dr. Timothy Hunt of Winichahanat Veterinary Care in Dover. This mini-veterinarians office will include stuffed animals, veterinary tools, dress up clothes, and books, and will be open during the months of the gallery show. Some of the other special activities include a “pet washing” sensory station, making pipe cleaner pets in the Muse Studio, and a special Explore More activity like inventing your own pet out of clay.
In addition to professional and visitor-created artwork, this exhibition will feature information about three animal-focused NH non-profits making a difference in their communities. The Pope Memorial Humane Society provides a safe, temporary home to more than 1,000 surrendered, lost, abused, neglected, or unwanted animals each year. ElderPet is volunteer-run and facilitates the human/pet relationships of senior citizens, people with disabilities, hospice families and clients of health care and other facilities. Operation Delta Dog rescues homeless dogs and trains them to be service dogs for veterans with PTSD and related challenges.
Gallery 6 is located in the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire and is made possible by support from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, Fuller Foundation and the TD Charitable Foundation.
IMAGE: Top left to bottom right: photographer Greg West of Sit.Stay.Smile, watercolorist Nicole Murphy Fish of Fancy Animal Art Studio, acrylic and sketch artist Rebecca Lane of one lane studios, and illustrator Abby Aimesbury.
Children’s Museum of NH Offers Free Admission Days for Rochester, NH Residents
On Tuesday, September 28th, 2021 and Saturday, October 9th, 2021 families who live in the Lilac City of Rochester, NH will want to reserve a time to visit the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover because, thanks to generous support provided by the UNIQUE College Investing Plan, they can visit for free with proof of residence.
“Rochester, NH is very close to Dover,” shared Neva Cole, CMNH Communications Director. “It’s only a short 20-minute drive away, and yet we’ve noticed that Rochester families don’t seem to make up a very high percentage of our visitors. We’re grateful to the UNIQUE College Investing Plan for this sponsorship which allows us to reach out to our neighbors and hopefully introduce them to a family friendly resource for kids and caregivers!”
Visitors from Rochester, NH or beyond are asked to reserve/pre-pay online for the museum’s daily play sessions, 9am-Noon or 1-4pm (Tuesdays – Saturdays, and only 9am-Noon on Sundays). For Rochester, NH residents looking to reserve for Tuesday, September 28 or Saturday, October 9, the museum asks they just reserve using the “w/discount (will pay at door)” price type options, and then present proof of residence at the door when they arrive. Masks are required for everyone over 24 months, regardless of vaccination status.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is once again organizing and hosting the annual NH Maker Fest on Saturday, September 18th from 10am-3pm, inside and around the museum. Generous lead sponsors including Sprague, the Unique College Investing Plan managed by Fidelity, and Kennebunk Savings Bank have made it possible to have this year’s festival entrance be by donation. “We’re grateful to all our sponsors for helping to make this year’s festival the most accessible one yet,” shared CMNH President Jane Bard.
The NH Maker Fest is a day long festival that invites all ages to explore the creativity and ingenuity of area makers, hobbyists, artisans, performers and more. “Much like the Children’s Museum’s of NH mission, which is to actively engage families in hands-on discovery, the NH Maker Fest is a great opportunity to experience a ton of local innovation and resourcefulness all in one place,” said Neva Cole, CMNH Communications Director.
Participants in the Fest vary from year to year, and Maker applications are still being accepted. Lindsey Castellon, owner of Angry Gato Designs, is excited to participate for the first time this year, and will not only be selling her fantastical laser-cut works of art, illustrations, jewelry and more, but will also be showing guests how to make their own fabric scrap garland. Local podcaster Laura Harper will be on hand with her friends from the Creative Guts podcast, and will be inviting folks to stop by and record answers to a few of their creative questions. Recordings from the Fest may even be used in a future episode of Creative Guts!
NH Maker Fest alumni will include the Maker Lab at the Dover Library, who are always popular with guests because of their creative activities, as well as the talented students of the McDonough-Grimes Irish Dance group who will be performing on the Rotary Arts Pavilion stage in front of the museum. Also back again this year is the FIRST LEGO League team from the Dover Middle School who will not only show off their robots, but help guests code and operate a robot to complete missions of their own.
Interested Makers also have the option of participating virtually through pre-recorded videos, online workshops, blogs and more. “We went totally virtual with the Fest last year, and we wanted to offer that option to people again this year since it was a lot of fun, and an easy way for people to show off their talents,” shared Cole.
Also new this year, the Fest has partnered with the Cochecho Arts Festival, organized by the Dover Chamber of Commerce. Magic Fred, a children’s magician will perform from 10-10:30am, and then The Kenney Brothers Band, a folk rock band, will perform from 3-4pm as the culmination of both the NH Maker Fest and the Cochecho Arts Festival summer concert series. Both performances will take place on the Rotary Arts Pavilion at Henry Law Park and the stage sponsor is Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A. “We are excited to partner with the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire to provide entertainment for the NH Maker Fest,” says Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce President Margaret Joyce. “This is a natural extension of our summer-long Cochecho Arts Festival and allows us to celebrate the arts with Maker Fest attendees.”
The museum would like to thank all its NH Maker Fest sponsors including Sprague, Unique College Investing Plan Managed by Fidelity, Kennebunk Savings Bank, Albany International, Alexander Technology Group, Beswick Engineering Company, Inc., QA Cafe, The Rowley Agency, Loftware, Martel Plumbing & Heating, and NHPBS. To learn more about the Fest, to support this event, or to apply as a Maker, please visit this page.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (CMNH) has been awarded a $3,000 grant from Whole Kids Foundation to support the “CMNH Learning Garden - Edible Education” at its outdoor space. Whole Kids Foundation’s Garden Grant Program helps schools and organizations in the US, Canada and the UK connect students to real food through edible learning gardens aimed at improving children’s nutrition and wellness.
CMNH will use the grant to make needed improvements to the garden, after a year-long hiatus due to COVID, and for programming aimed at educating children about healthy food choices and the environment.
Whole Kids Foundation has awarded funding for over 6,000 edible education gardens. “We believe in the power of a garden as a learning space,” said Nona Evans, president and executive director of Whole Kids Foundation. “Every garden grant creates an opportunity for kids to learn more about where their food comes from, gain a deeper understanding of the connection between what we eat and how we feel, and put all of that learning into action as they make daily choices for meals and snacks.”
“We look forward to inspiring and educating children in our Learning Garden thanks to the support of Whole Kids Foundation,” said Jane Bard, CMNH President. “Actively participating in growing food is a powerful learning experience that we are happy to bring to our community of children.”
The new Whole Foods Market Portsmouth location is now open; located at 1600 Woodbury Ave. To learn more about the new store, click here.
Nonprofit organizations interested in requesting donations or support from Whole Foods Market can visit the Whole Foods Market Community Giving page here to learn more.
Messy Play Celebrated in Children’s Museum of NH’s New Outdoor Play Patio
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is gearing up for a summer of messy outdoor fun with the opening of its new outdoor Play Patio exhibit. Opening to the public on Thursday, May 20, and in the works since 2018, it represents the Museum’s largest expansion since opening in Dover in 2008. The Play Patio will provide new opportunities for children to engage with materials that are challenging to offer inside the Museum, such as water, sand, paint and clay.
“We couldn’t be more excited about the opening of the Play Patio,” said Jane Bard, Museum President. “Families visiting the Museum are looking for ways to bring joyful and enriching experiences to their children’s lives while feeling connected to the community again after a long year of isolation. The Play Patio is a place for that to happen.”
Exhibit elements will include two sensory tables, a water circuit wall, oversized paint wall, chalk spinner, water painting, a color caster sculpture, a tube tones musical element and tables that will be used for picnicking in the future, but for now will be additional activity stations.
“The Play Patio couldn't have happened without generous support from our community, with funding coming from 19 different companies and foundations, as well as our members and donors. “We are very thankful to our lead donors whose contributions made this dream a reality,” shared Jane Bard, CMNH President. Those lead donors include Kennebunk Savings, Newburyport Bank, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, Abbie F. Moseley Charitable Trust, McIninch Foundation, Samuel P. Hunt Foundation, and the Roger R. & Theresa S. Thompson Endowment Fund. Additional funding was provided by companies who supported the project through the Community Development Finance Authority: Highland Hardwoods, Alexander Technology Group, Northway Bank, Newburyport Bank, First Seacoast Bank, D.F. Richard Energy, Stinson Associates, Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, P.A., and the Seacoast Endodontic Associates. The museum also thanks ARQ Architects, S.W. Cole Engineering, Inc., Norm Fracassa of Fracassa Designworks and the City of Dover for their in-kind support.
The Play Patio space, adjacent to the museum’s entrance, has gone through a big transition. “This area was originally a floor below grade and only accessible by a set of stairs,” shared Eric Erwin, CMNH Exhibits Manager. “We realized early on that in order to make the space physically accessible to all visitors, we would have to bring the area up to street level. With permission from the city of Dover, who owns the museum building, the area was filled with giant lightweight foam blocks and covered with recycled rubber tiles. A door was added from the Museum to the Play Patio for easy access to the space.”
“Originally, we were thinking this would be an outdoor picnic zone,” said Erwin. “But as our plans evolved, we realized this space had the potential to add new elements that our visitors have been asking for, like water play and messy art. A Water Circuit Wall is one way we’re adding an element for messy experimentation and fun. Kids can use a hand pump to push water through sluices to create waterfalls, and fill cups to create a cascading circuit,” said Erwin.
Another component using water is the “Evaporation Zone,” a 3-sided wall for brush painting with water. Young artists can also express themselves with washable paint on a giant double-sided paint wall and with chalk on a rotating chalk spinner.
A giant Color Caster sculpture is installed with colorful circular lenses shading the ground in different locations throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky. “Beyond adding a whimsical sculpture to the Patio, the Color Caster is designed for shadow, color and light play and encourages visitors to look through the colored lenses to see the world around them ‘in a new light,” said Erwin, the sculpture’s creator.
Two sensory tables will provide endless opportunities for hands-on discovery. “The materials we put in the tables will change over time, but we’ll start by filling them with kinetic sand and tools for molding and creating designs in one, and water beads with hidden sea creatures in the other,” said Erwin.
Tube Tones is a series of connected PVC tubes that provide a musical element to the Play Patio. Visitors can pound out a musical beat in the manner of the Blue Man Group.
And even with all those other elements, there will still be room for picnic tables when families need to take a break and have a snack. “For the time being, these tables will be used as activity stations, but we look forward to the day when we can offer them as a picnicking area,” said Bard.
“Then of course there is a sink and hand dryer for easy cleanup before you return to the exhibits inside the museum,” said Erwin.
Access to the Play Patio will be included with museum admission, and will increase the museum’s capacity. “We’ve been looking forward to opening this space for many reasons, not least of which because it will allow more people to safely visit while we’re slowly reopening from the pandemic,” shared Jane Bard. The museum, which re-opened September 2020, is open with limited hours, requires online reservations prior to visiting, and requires everyone over the age of 24 months to wear a mask. “We’ve limited our play sessions to 20% of our capacity, so with this new space, we can increase the number of families we serve,” said Bard. Current Museum hours are Wednesdays and Sundays 9-11:30am and Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 9-11:30am or 1-3:30pm.
Dear CMNH Member,
Your CMNH Membership has been extended to account for covering the time that the museum was fully closed due to COVID19. We have updated all membership records in our database to reflect this extension. When you visit the museum please have your membership card (even if it says it’s expired) OR a photo ID and our staff can verify your information.
*Since all of our membership information is kept digitally there is no need to reprint membership cards as your record has been corrected in our system*
All Passport Members: When visiting any ASTC or ACM museums please keep this email as well as your old membership card as proof of your correct expiration date and reciprocal membership status.
If you were given a Gift Membership: If you happened to be gifted a Membership to CMNH, but haven't used it yet (ie, you have the gift membership certificate, but haven't visited for whatever reason) your membership hasn't been activated yet, and won't be until the first time you come in and present the certificate. So once you do visit, the expiration date will become one year from the date that you visit for the first time.
Thank you for being a member and supporting the museum!
If your Membership expired at the end of:
March 2020 - Your new expiration date was end of September 2020
April 2020 - Your new expiration date was end of October 2020
If your Membership expires at the end of:
May 2020 - Your new expiration date is end of November 2020
June 2020 - Your new expiration date is end of December 2020
July 2020 - Your new expiration date is end of January 2021
August 2020 - Your new expiration date is end of February 2021
September 2020 - Your new expiration date is end of March 2021
October 2020 - Your new expiration date is end of April 2021
November 2020 - Your new expiration date is end of May 2021
December 2020 - Your new expiration date is end of June 2021
January 2021 - Your new expiration date is end of July 2021
February 2021 - Your new expiration date is end of August 2021
March 2021 - Your new expiration date is end of August 2021
April 2021 - Your new expiration date is end of August 2021
May 2021 - Your new expiration date is end of August 2021
June 2021 - Your new expiration date is end of August 2021
July 2021 - Your new expiration date is end of August 2021
Any memberships purchased in or after September 2020 will have the normal 12 month length of their membership.