The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (CMNH) is excited to announce plans for an expansion of the second floor, which will add two new exhibits and better prepare the Museum to serve children and families in the future. Fundraising for the $420,000 expansion launched this spring, when the Museum was awarded $175,000 in Tax Credits from the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA).
Multiple businesses from the community have stepped forward in recent months to support this expansion through purchasing tax credits, including the JGroup (The Sailmaker’s House, Vida Cantina, 106 Grill, White Heron Tea, Bibimbap, Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café, GC Fine Foods, Cemita, The Franklin, Dos Amigos Burritos, Liars Bench and Railpenny Tavern), ReVision Energy, Chinburg Builders, Inc., Leone, McDonnell & Roberts P.A., Meredith Village Savings Bank, Grappone Automotive Group, First Seacoast Bank, Piscataqua Savings Bank, Nathan Wechsler & Company, P.A., Newburyport Bank, Eastern Propane & Oil and Stinson Associates, CPA.
“We deeply appreciate the support from each and every business that has purchased Tax Credits this year to support the facility expansion,” said Jane Bard, Museum President. “This project is in response to feedback from our visitors and will provide more of what families are saying they need from the Museum today. These companies understand that and are making a direct investment in our local community.”
The additional 1,000 sq ft will include a farm-themed exhibit designed for visitors ages birth through five, plus a second, flexible exhibit that changes multiple times a year providing new experiences and offering opportunities for active play and creative movement. The ongoing shortage of childcare and preschool openings continues to challenge families with young children who are seeking in-person socialization and learning experiences. This additional space will enable the Museum to expand our current drop-in programs, playgroups, community events and more.
Businesses paying New Hampshire state taxes that are interested in purchasing tax credits to support this expansion project are encouraged to contact Monique Deforge, Director of Development & Community Engagement, firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals who would like to learn more or make a donation to the project can visit www.childrens-museum.org. The Museum anticipates opening the new space in late 2025.
As the summer draws to a close, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire prepares for the Fall crowds and says farewell to some summer time discounts. The museum stays open through Labor Day weekend ending Sunday, September 3, 9am-Noon. Then the museum closes for its annual maintenance weeks from Monday, September 4 through Friday, September 15, reopening on Saturday, September 16th.
Also coming to an end is the museum’s Blue Star Museum Military Discount program, sponsored by Service Credit Union. This popular program offers free admission to all military personnel, including veterans and their families, from Armed Forces Day through Labor Day. As of this release, over 1,300 military family members utilized this discount to visit the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire this summer. When the museum reopens on September 16th, Military families will be able to enjoy half-off admission through Armed Forces Day in May, 2024, also supported by Service Credit Union.
The museum is also wrapping up its free admission for Childcare Providers from NH Licensed centers or facilities after September 3. This free admission was part of a prestigious IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) INSPIRE grant the museum was awarded to help launch a series of educational initiatives designed to help providers and families implement enriching, engaging, and developmentally appropriate play-based learning activities for kids from birth to age 5. Beyond the free admission for NH Childcare providers, which was utilized by over 260 educators, other museum initiatives included Teacher Workshops, Play Based Learning tips and project ideas, and physical kits full of high quality Play Based Learning toys, curated by museum educators, and gifted to over 80 childcare facilities and libraries across the state. When the museum reopens on September 16, teachers who teach Pre-K through 5th grade will still continue to enjoy half-off their museum admission.
CMNH Members had a blast this summer with their Messy Member Monday exclusive playtime out on the museum’s Play Patio, featuring mud, paint, and slime! As the cooler fall weather starts, no more Messy Member Mondays, but in October the museum will start to welcome Members inside the museum exhibits on the first Monday of the month for exclusive Member Monday Hours from 9-11am. Free as always for Members, but online reservations required. Also ending after August 31st is a Member Reciprocity with the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. “We love doing different admission reciprocity programs with other institutions,” shared Leila McRae, Membership Manager. “This August we welcomed over 200 Seacoast Science Center members into CMNH to play for free, and our members can enjoy free admission into their great facility as well.” Upcoming admission reciprocity programs include an agreement with Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth and the NH Farm Museum in Milton - see website for details: https://childrens-museum.org/membership/member-perks
The museum continues to celebrate its 40th anniversary year into the Fall with an upcoming CMNH Birthday Party on Saturday, September 23. Summer birthday events included a $1 Dover Resident Day, which over 60 Dover residents utilized, and a $1 Family Fun Day during which the museum welcomed over 440 individuals for $1 each, the same admission it charged when it opened its doors 40 years ago! Affordable admission for all is something the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is very passionate about. When the museum reopens on September 16th, it will continue to offer all EBT and WIC cardholders $3/person admission, a popular discount which over 3,000 individuals have benefited from so far this year.
The start of Fall also means back-to-school fun, and the Children’s Museum of NH is continuing to offer free and reduced Field Trips for Title 1 schools. Any NH Title 1 schools interested in booking a free Self-Guided Visit, or a Group Visit + STEAM Workshop, they must book for a date before March 2024. Available dates can be found online at: https://childrens-museum.org/outreach/field-trips . And for those schools wishing to visit who aren’t Title 1 Schools, the museum is offering 20% off your visit if you book a trip for October or November of 2023. “We know teachers love to save those field trips for the end of the school year, but those dates go quickly, so we hope offering a discount will convince them to visit us before the holidays!” shared Education Director Xanthi Gray.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire reopens with Fall Hours on Saturday, September 16, 2023: Wednesdays - Saturdays, 9am-Noon or 1-4pm; Tuesdays & Sundays, 9am-Noon. Online reservations are required as the museum has a capacity limit, and uses online reservations to help everyone have the best visit possible: https://childrens-museum.org/visit/info
Children’s Museum of NH’s Teddy Bear Clinic Going Strong After 40 Years
Practically every year for the past 40 years, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover has organized and hosted a “Teddy Bear Clinic and Picnic” with the help of Portsmouth Regional Hospital staff and volunteers. Each year, the clinic offers kids a chance to develop positive associations with a visit to the doctor’s office. This year’s clinic will be held on Thursday, August 10 from 9am-Noon, and is included with museum admission.
“The Teddy Bear Clinic at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is one of our favorite events,” said Nora Fortin, RN, seacoast market director of Women & Children’s Services at Portsmouth Regional Hospital and Frisbie Memorial Hospital. “It gives us the opportunity to talk with children in our community, to help them learn more about what we, as caregivers and providers, do so that hopefully they’ll be less afraid when it’s time to go to the doctor themselves.
At the clinic each child’s stuffed animal is checked-in and given an ID bracelet. Then children take their animals to meet with a volunteer doctor or nurse for a check-up. If needed, animals can be taken to the surgical table for stitches, band-aids, and ribbons. “Last year we had an actual surgeon volunteer at the clinic, which was fun to see,” said Megan Beach, CMNH Museum Experience Manager. At the end of their appointment, animals receive a certificate of good health, and families are invited to enjoy a to-go snack for the ride home.
“Providing education is a big part of our jobs at Portsmouth Regional Hospital,” said Malachi Fisher, market director of trauma and neurosciences at HCA New England. “While we enjoy being out in the community at a wide range of events, stitching and patching up stuffed animals, and doing exams when the stuffed animals aren’t feeling well is by far one of the highlights for us. It helps keep us grounded. It’s just one of the reasons we love what we do.”
“We’re so happy to once again welcome back volunteers from Portsmouth Regional Hospital to be a part of the Clinic this year,” shared CMNH President Jane Bard. “We have photos of them from as far back as 1985, volunteering for and supporting this program, which is wonderful to see.” Online reservations are required. The Teddy Bear Clinic Sponsor for 2023 is Portsmouth Regional Hospital.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (CMNH) is excited to share that they have been awarded $175,000 in Tax Credits from the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA). CDFA awarded eleven nonprofits a total of $1.4 million in tax credit resources to advance their missions and implement community economic development initiatives. These tax credits have been granted to the Museum to help fund an expansion of the second floor. This expansion will add two new exhibit spaces, allowing CMNH to better serve 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 2025.
“Organizations awarded Tax Credit resources have demonstrated a strong commitment to their communities,” states Katy Easterly Martey, Executive Director, CDFA. “These community builders are driving positive, long-lasting change in New Hampshire.”
“We’re thrilled to have this funding from CDFA to kick start our second floor facility expansion” states Museum President Jane Bard. “The two new exhibits we have in the works include one dedicated to our youngest visitors, ages 0-5, similar to our popular Primary Place, and another designed to be a creative open space for changing exhibits.”
The Museum has felt the pressure to adjust and grow 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. As the Museum’s visitor numbers increase and community needs change, the new flexible space will allow CMNH to be responsive, not just through changing exhibits that can be catered to different age groups and interests, but also as a space to use for play groups, meetings, 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 pieces related to social/emotional learning will be integrated into these new exhibits. CMNH is also in talks with local experts in the mental health field to evaluate existing exhibits in the Museum to discuss what kinds of changes could be made to support children and family emotional health in an approachable and age-appropriate way.
If you are a business that pays NH taxes and are interested in purchasing tax credits from the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire to support this exciting facility expansion, or have questions or would like to connect, please contact Monique Deforge, Director of Development, email@example.com, (603) 742-2002. More information about the tax credit program can be found on the CDFA website: www.nhcdfa.org.
Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20 is the start of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s Military Appreciation Summer, during which all current and retired military personnel and their immediate family members are invited to play at no cost, thanks to a generous sponsorship from Service Credit Union. From now through Sunday, September 3rd, 2023, guests can reserve their spots online for free, and then simply show a military ID at the front desk of the museum to receive free admission for the military member, dependent children and spouse.
"We are excited to once again sponsor the Military Appreciation Program at the museum” said Jaime Yates, Community Relations Manager at Service CU. “Giving back to the communities we serve is ingrained in our mission, especially when it comes to providing low cost or free activities for our military and their families.”
The museum’s summer Military Appreciation Program is exclusively sponsored by Service Credit Union and is part of the larger nationwide Blue Star Museum program. The Blue Star Museum program is a collaboration between the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense. Children’s Museums, art, science, and history museums, zoos, gardens, lighthouses, and more from all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel, including National Guard and Reserve and their families from Armed Forces Day through Labor Day. Find the list of participating museums at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.
“We thank the 2023 Blue Star Museums who invite military personnel and their families to experience the many wonders they have to offer, whether it’s a glimpse into the past, an encounter with awe-inspiring art, or a moment of discovery,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is helping to enrich the lives of military families and build meaningful connections between our nation’s military and their local community.”
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has expanded what is offered through the Blue Star Museum program to also include free admission to retired military personnel and their family members. “We are so grateful that Service Credit Union has agreed to help us sponsor this vital addition to our Military Appreciation summer program in 2023,” said Jane Bard, Museum President.
The summer free admission program at the Children’s Museum of NH is available to active duty and retired U.S. military - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps - and up to five family members.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire extends a fifty-percent-off discount to military personnel and their families during the rest of the year thanks to additional sponsorship support, including from M&T Bank.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s hours are Wednesdays – Saturdays, 9am-Noon or 1-4pm; Tuesdays and Sundays, 9am-Noon. Summer hours begin Tuesday, June 20 and add a Tuesday afternoon (1-4pm) play session to the existing hours. The museum is closed on Mondays. Online reservations prior to visiting are required. To learn more, visit www.childrens-museum.org.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. To learn more, visit arts.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
About Blue Star Families
BlueStar Families (BSF) is the nation’s largest chapter-based military and veteran family support organization. Its research-driven approach fosters strong communities with a focus on human centered design and innovative solutions. Since its founding in 2009, BSF has delivered millions of dollars in benefits and impacted more than 1.5 million people each year. For more information, click here and follow along with Blue Star Families on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
All your nominations helped us become a finalist in the Boston Parents Paper Family Favorite Awards - in TWO categories:
"Indoor Play Spaces"
and "Museums & Attractions"
Now comes the FINAL round of voting. Please take a minute to vote for us in the above two categories, now through the end of May, and help us win this 2023 award.
We appreciate your love and support!
It's our 40th Anniversary year and we're digging into our archives for a peak into our past. We found this gem of a photo and a few corresponding articles from our first Break-Dancing competition in 1985!
Want to share your CMNH photos and memories? Enter our Photo Contest here >>
Portsmouth Youths Get to Break with the Best
By Michael Berg, Portsmouth Bureau Chief, Foster's Daily Democrat
Photo caption: Zachary Lambert, 4, of New Castle shows his break-dancing form at the Children's Museum of Portsmouth's first break-dancing contest Saturday (Democrat photo - Berg)
Portsmouth - High culture took a great leap backward, energetic good times a great leap forward and three dozen Seacoast youngsters took great leaps, spins and slides in every direction as the Children's Museum of Portsmouth hosted its first break-dancing contest Saturday afternoon.
A crowd estimated at 150 packed the museum to the rafters as children from 4- to 14-years-old got a chance to show off their high-speed gyrations, jerky synchronized arm and head motions, and full-length beached-whale-like dives - all to the thumping beat of funk and rock music blasting from a portable cassette deck. A three-member panel of judges - Roni Hudson, president of the Soda Pop football league and Soda Pop Sixpack children's breakdance team, Juan Whitlock of Portsmouth High School group Poppin' Express, and Greg Evans of the U.S Air Force's Apple Jam Crew - selected the most talented and flashy dancers as the best in each age group.
But the emphasis was not on competition; it was on the sheer exhilaration and enjoyment of the dancing.
"This is really a contest for kids and a celebration of interest in break dancing," said museum coordinator Alice Boatwright.
"The emphasis is on being here, doing it and sharing what you've been learning with each other."
Break Dancing Contest
By Dwight Adams, Staff Writer, Portsmouth Herald
Photo captions: Double Trouble - Left to Right - Keith "The Neutron" Kintner and Randy "Electra" Cadieux
Good Balance - Danny Edge is shown balancing precariously during his break dancing routine Saturday. Edge was the winner in 13-14 age group and will compete again at the Children's Museum on March 2, during theWinter Carnival. (Staff photo by Adams).
Portsmouth's future break dancers brought their act to the Children'sMuseum Saturday, as pre-schoolers through teenagers came out of the cellar and tried their new moves in public.
An appreciative audience crowded onto the second floor to watch local kids spin on their shoulders, heads and outstretched hands, as well as slide across the floor in a slow-motion moonwalk - Michael Jackson style.
Of course, nobody yesterday was quite that good, but the group of parents and awe-struck youngsters weren't keeping score.
Someone who was, "Magic" Juan Witlock of the International Poppin' Express dance crew, served as one of the contest's judges and was impressed at the budding talent of several dancers.
"The moonwalk is not as hard as it looks," Whitlock says, "and some of these kids are already doing it,"
One young breaker, "Jammin" Jason Laliberte of Portsmouth thinks the moonwalk is actually "kinda old" and he likes to practice harder moves like the windmill. That's done by spinning from shoulder to shoulder while jack-knifing your legs into the air.
Jason, who has been breakin' for just two years is a natural and already a working member of a local professional dance troupe, The Apple Jam Crew.
Throughout the contest his peers kept calling out "Jammin Jason," and Jason says he's never seen some of them. All that fame at the age of 10; how does he handle it?
"I like being known by the other kids," he says, "besides I get paid for dancing."
Jason enjoys break dancing ecause of the "style" inherent, and he's already started teaching some moves to his friends. He also like to listen to a tape of the "Fat Boys" when he's practicing.
Every dancer brought his own favorite cassette tape along to play in the portable stereo during their short routines.
Thirty-two young breakers participated in four age groups.
The winners of each age group will participate in a dance contest at the Children's Museum on March 2, during the Winter Carnival.
Those winners were Zachary Lambert in the under 5 category, Kepir Connel in the 5-7, Jason Lalibert in 8-10, Adam Medros in 11-12 and Danny Edge in 13-1. Danny Edge, David Rix and Gregg Gavutis were named best dancers overall, with Keith Kintner winning for best routine.
Break dancing first started in the early 1970s in the streets of Harlem and the Bronx in New York City.
City youth who would have traditionally fought each other in rumbles, instead turned to "battles" of fancy footwork on city sidewalks, rooftops or anywhere the surface was flat. They were called just "B-Boys" back then.
Break dancing has now become big business however, with featured dancers in many of Manhattan's trendiest discos and in several recent Hollywood movies.
Greg Evans, choreographer for the Apple Jam Crew and one of yesterday's contest judges, thinks the break dancing trend may eventually "fade away" even though there are nearly a dozen break dancing crews on the Seacoast today.
But he said the individualism of this free-spirit's sport won't die out; from the colorful caps and bandanas dancers wear around their ankles to the crazy names they call themselves, like "Ice Cube" "Kid Zulu," "Atomic," "Neutron."
"Break dancing is self expression when you come right down to it," Evans says. "No two people are alike and that's when the street names come in. They help you identify each dancer."
Nominating and voting for the Children's Museum of NH may seem like a small thing, but it helps us reach new audiences and grow our already stellar reputation as a safe and fun place for families to play! If you have a few minutes to help us with this, we would greatly appreciate your support!
Vote for us in New Hampshire Magazine's "Best of NH" contest!
Vote for us now through March 17. There is a "Museum" category, or you could write us in as your "Favorite Family Fun Spot"
Nominate us for a 2023 Boston Parents Paper Family Favorite Award!
You can nominate the "Children's Museum of NH" now through the end of April. If you don't see the museum listed in the category you want, you can easily write us in.
Nomination categories that would be a good fit for us include:
FUN AND ATTRACTIONS
Indoor Play Spaces
Museums and Attractions
Parent-Friendly Playdate Spots
Arts & Crafts Summer Camps
Preschool Age Summer Camps
STEM Summer Camps
About this Family Favorite award: The voting for Boston’s Family Favorites is conducted in a two-round process. The first round occurs in the month of March and early April with open write-in nominations taking place. Write-in nominations continue to be open until the end of April.
As the nomination period in the first round comes to a close in mid April, shortly afterwards, the second round opens with the top nominees in each category being selectable in this final round of voting during the latter part of April and May. Write-in nominations are no longer available, and voters are open to select their favorite from among those that are listed.
The final winners are posted in August.