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Books: Inside Out!

Five Artists’ Perspectives
Gallery 6 Exhibition Title: Unbound
Exhibition Dates: September 20, 2019 - January 10, 2020
Reception: Friday November 1, 5-7pm, During the Dover Art Walk
List of Artists: Lindsey Boss, Corwin Levi, Conny Goelz Schmitt, Carolyn Sirois, Wen-hao Tien

About the Exhibition:

Between the covers of a book lies thrilling adventure, emotion and drama, entertainment, education, and a way of stepping into others’ lives and experiences... even if only in the mind. But what physically makes up a book, content aside? Technically: wood or fiber pulp, glue, sometimes thread, fabric or leather, and ink. Reading, for many, is not just comprehension. It’s the experience of holding an object, feeling its weight, smelling the paper, turning the pages, using a bookmark, snapping it shut. Yet, when reckoning with all the resources that it takes to create a physical book, even those who relish stepping into a library and standing in awe of the thousands of spines, can understand the logic behind digital reading tablet devices. Trading a hands-on experience for something virtual is a defining trait of the twenty-first century.

Traditional books have a lifespan, as all objects do. They age. They become yellowed, wrinkled, torn, dog-eared, stained. Some people might say “loved”. What happens to those books whose prose no longer appeals to today’s reader? Whose information is outdated? Whose manifestos are no longer inspiring? Whose points of view are intolerant; evidence of a different era? Regardless of why they were put down, the evidence of the reader’s personal relationship to the book-object is clear by its condition. As texts become digitized and archived for eternity, so that tangible history is lost, meanwhile forgotten books continue to crumble on lonely shelves.

The artists featured in Unbound find new expression from within texts. Almost mischievously, they snip, rip, mark, fill, cover up, and create artwork from the shells and guts of books. In this deconstructing and reconstructing manner, they remark on the limits of written language and convey new phrases from color, negative and positive space, and transitions between materials. Thus, in this romance with tactility, stories are born through artwork from texts that no longer speak.

Living across New England but often drawing on international backgrounds and extensive domestic travels, the patchwork of each artists’ professional and personal experience translates well to an exhibit that uses primarily collage as a tool of communication. Continuing education and visual culture research are important facets of these artists’ lives; as both teacher and student, through residencies, and academic programs.

About the Artists:

Lindsey Boss is a visual artist currently living and working in Boston, where she graduated with a BFA at Massachusetts College of Art in 2008. For the past 10 years, she has been primarily a collage artist and an avid collector of vintage books and magazines. Relying heavily on imagery from the 50s-70s, she hopes to evoke feelings of nostalgia, often mixing components of the natural world with figures, patterns, and vintage homes. Her use of negative space and often times missing body parts, is an attempt to depict dreamlike landscapes, and to leave bits and pieces of the story up to the viewer. Collage-making has been a way to process her own life and larger ideas through experimentation with the imagery and the materials themselves, in hopes to convey some form of wisdom. /

Corwin Levi

Bio: Corwin Levi is a mixed-media artist, curator, illustrator, arts writer, and attorney who investigates the limits of vision, experience, and memory by constructing maps of the unknown. He has had solo shows, participated in group shows, and curated exhibits across the country, and has been reviewed in publications such as the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and on Bloomberg TV. Levi has attended over twenty different artist residencies, including the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, Ucross Foundation for the Arts, the Millay Colony, and the Wurlitzer Foundation. He has also created public art, including a 175-foot-long mural in North Adams, Massachusetts, across from MASS MoCA. Levi has a BA from Rice University, an MFA from the Tyler School of Art, and a JD from the University of Virginia. Based in Harrisville, New Hampshire, he is a partner at the design firm Gwarlingo Studio, and draws inspiration from his travels—having lived in eighteen cities across twelve states. /

Conny Goelz Schmitt

Statement: I create geometric collages, assemblages and sculptures with vintage book parts. My work is a never-ending story where I play with deconstruction and reconstruction, and changing dimensionality - often within one piece. On the hunt for textured surfaces and faded colors I deconstruct discarded vintage books. By means of décollage the element of chance becomes an integral part of my process. While extending the margins of my compositions I build new space, always conscious of maintaining balance and harmony within the work. Although my work seems planned and calculated it evolves organically within a rule-based system. The interplay of sizes, shapes and color leads me on a search for the perfect placement of my salvaged and manipulated material. This pursuit becomes both meditation and ritual.

Bio: Conny Goelz Schmitt is a collage artist and sculptor who spent her youth in Germany, moved to Taiwan in her twenties, and relocated to the US in 1996. Having been immersed in three very different cultures, she is drawn to hard edge painting influenced by the German “attention to detail”, the retro color palette reminiscent of Taiwan in the 80s, and the very often experimental and creative pioneering spirit of Americans. Her medium of choice is almost without exception the vintage book.

In Germany she studied Sinology and German Literature at Eberhard Karls University in Tuebingen. She was named Sculptor of the Year by Chief Curator of Boston University, Kate McNamara in CAA’s 69th Members’ Prize Show. In 2016, Paul C. Ha, Director of the List Visual Art Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, selected her work for the Best Multi Media Prize in CAA’s National Prize Show. Besides exhibiting at Kingston Gallery, Boston, MA, Coastal Contemporary Gallery, Newport, RI and Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, New York, NY her work has been featured at Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne (Germany), the Cultural Association of Rosa Venerini, Viterbo (Italy), The Painting Center, New York, Site: Brooklyn, New York, The Danforth Art Museum, Framingham, MA, and Touchstone Gallery in Washington, DC, among others. Conny has a studio in Beverly, Massachusetts. /

Carolyn Sirois

Statement: After we entered the Charlestown Navy Yard the gates were closed and flags were lowered. I was with my Sightings: Cognitive Mapping class from the Museum School. It was Sept 11, 2001.

Late into the night on Nov 2, 2016, I was alone watching PBS news and texting friends. Trump had just been elected President of the United States. Disbelief and shock.

A usual workday, a Tuesday in October 2018, I was on my screen with multiple windows open and on my phone keeping up with my teaching life, my private life, and the world. I was sort of managing the density and volume—but not really.

Times of ruins.

My work is a response to ruins we experience both collectively and individually. I investigate how identities are formed and morphed through the cultural and historical moments of our lives. I work with an aesthetics of ruins—eroded structures, traces and imprints of time, text under erasure—to consider what we hold onto amidst the fragments and complexities of contemporary chaos. I bundle, collage, collect, research, write, erase, excavate, construct, deconstruct and reconstruct in my art practice. I manipulate materials to present sediments of time and sediments of thinking on loss, longing, transformation and renewal.

I ask how we move forward.

Bio: Traversing worlds is what I know. I cross disciplines and shift roles between artist of mixed media works (2D and 3D), writing instructor, mum of two cool kids (college student/ college grad), and partner of supportive spouse who offers balance. Visual arts, poetry, literature, contemporary theory, writing studies, and cultural/political studies all figure into my trajectory as an artist. While working on my studio art degree from the School of Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), where I studied painting, drawing, printmaking, collage and assemblage, art history and theory, I continued to teach writing and literature courses at Northeastern University. In both environments discussions of identity, history, culture, art practices, writing practices and the web of connections between individual and collective realms were ongoing. In each environment, the importance of one’s process, and reflecting on that process was emphasized—whether exploring a range of materials/media and ideas in the studio or revising ideas and overall form/design of a written piece.

I returned to the SMFA in 2001-02 for the Fifth Year program, which culminated in Fifth Year Exhibit and Traveling Scholars awards. I am still a Lecturer of English at Northeastern University. I have also taught at the Museum School (now SMFA at Tufts), Berklee College of Music as well as the Boston Architectural Center. Over the years I have exhibited my art in Cambridge, Boston, the North Shore, the Vineyard, New Hampshire and Maine. I’m pleased to have artwork in private collections in New England, Florida, Washington D. C., Ottawa, Bangkok and Rome.

I recently received my MFA from Lesley University College of Art and Design. /

Wen-hao Tien

Bio: Wen-hao Tien is a visual artist, educator, and Assistant Director of Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies, Regional Studies.

Wen-hao grew-up in Taiwan and later moved to the United States to pursue graduate studies. She began her academic pursues with biomedical sciences, and then to social studies and visual art. Her studio artwork focuses on language and translation, and explores culture and identity through a unique cross-cultural lens. She is also known for her contemporary Chinese calligraphy and painting.

A long time Cambridge resident, her professional background includes 15 years working at Harvard University’s Asia studies centers and a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University. She is currently an Master of Fine Arts degree candidate at the Lesley University’s College of Art and Design.

Statement: My studio practice interprets our physical and psychological connections to the natural world through foraging, interacting, and researching. The work is created between field and studio.

Images in the exhibition are from the “Sticks Throw” series. In this work, found tree branches are collaged with pages of a visual journal. Sticks were thrown to create free-falls and from each fall landed a mysterious image, like oracle sticks. These images created by “chance”, convey personal messages as the titles would suggest. It is not something that can be achieved by arranging the sticks intentionally! As an immigrant, my inspiration is often triggered by a desire to communicate through a cross-cultural lens. /


As always, no admission fee is required to view the art in Gallery 6. Regular admission applies for families who wish to also explore the rest of the Museum. To learn more about this art exhibition or about the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire please visit

About the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire:

The not-for-profit Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is located at 6 Washington Street in Dover and offers two levels of hands-on, interactive exhibits for children from newborn to middle school. Children can explore a wide range of subjects, from dinosaurs, music and aeronautics to world cultures, art and natural history. Open year-round, the Silver LEED-certified museum specializes in creating memorable family learning experiences and works closely with schools, social service agencies and educators. The museum also hosts a variety of live performances, workshops, classes and special events for families. For more information, please call the museum at (603) 742-2002 or visit

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Lean In

Art Making Day at Children’s Museum Highlights Themes of Unity, Diversity

In the vibrant and colorful drawings created by Portsmouth, NH artist Richard Haynes, an actual rainbow of skin tones is represented and celebrated. The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s Gallery 6 art exhibition “Lean In,” not only features Haynes’ art, but also his message that “love” can unite us all, no matter our background. The museum’s exhibition, which has been on view all summer, will come down at the end of August, but before it does, families can join in on a day of art making on Saturday, August 24th from 10am-2pm.

Richard Haynes will be on hand on August 24 for this special day of art making to engage with visitors, make some art and answer questions. Haynes is the Associate Director of Admissions for Diversity at UNH, and has also collaborated with many other NH cultural institutions like the Currier Museum of Art, the Black Heritage Trail of NH, and the NH State Council on the Arts to name a few.

“Haynes asks us to use the universal language of ‘Love’ to see how we can all rewrite a history that has not been fair to everyone,” shared Julia Kirchmer, CMNH’s Gallery 6 Curator. “His art invites us to learn from one another’s cultures, religions, regions, backgrounds, traditions, and customs, which inevitably makes all our lives richer and filled with more empathy and tolerance.”

Visitors to the museum on August 24th will get to color with fine art materials, go on a scavenger hunt for a special prize, join storytimes highlighting the special themes of the day, meet the artist, and even contribute to a community art paper quilt project. All the fun is included with regular museum admission.

The “Lean In” art exhibition’s last day on view is Sunday, September 1. The museum closes September 2 through September 13th for its annual cleaning and maintenance. If you’d like to see the art in Gallery 6, but not play in the museum or pay museum admission, that is possible if you just ask the front desk. Gallery 6 is open during regular museum hours and is supported by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, Georgia-Pacific and the Fuller Foundation.

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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: 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 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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Capturing the Ends of the Earth and Beyond

Three Explorers Utilize Photography: Capturing the Ends of the Earth and Beyond

Gallery 6 Exhibition Title: Terrestrial Portals
Exhibition Dates: January 11 - March 29, 2019
Reception: Friday February 1, 5-7pm, during the Dover Art Walk
Artists: Cassandra Klos, Justin Levesque, Michael James Murray

About the Exhibit:

The most wild frontiers can be those in which life tries the hardest. Forget about animal predators: the most awe-inspiring and powerful force is the environment itself. Three artists: Cassandra Klos, Justin Levesque, and Michael James Murray, are fascinated by the challenge and allure of such landscapes. Through photographs of vast horizons; sometimes altered, and sometimes seemingly untouched, their work chronicles the intrepid results of human exploration. Klos, Levesque, and Murray raise notions of existence, connection, and adaptation.

In this exhibition, brown and red toned Utah soil meets pure white and blue Arctic ice. 360 degree “spherescapes” of the Earth are just peculiar enough to reference other worlds. Through missions on the Mars Desert Research Station (Klos), to Iceland and the North Pole (Levesque), to our coastal Maine backyards and beyond (Murray), Terrestrial Portals takes us on a journey to both new and familiar places. Through insightful panoramas, each artist puts our imaginations to work.

These land portraits ask us to picture ourselves behind photographer’s camera. What outfit do you think you would wear on Mars? How would you keep warm and dry in negative degree temperatures? How might you respond to completely foreign surroundings? You would you learn how to use specialized technology, skills, and tools. You would acclimate. Soon, your eyes would adjust to the bright reflective sun, and you would develop the language necessary to communicate with mission control. Your livelihood would require a new normal.

The concept of solitude might come to mind as you look at these photographs. Consider how explorers leave their hometowns, family, and friends, and head for the unknown. Choice, and the possibility for return, let us call this experience “adventure”. Virtual contact helps travelers feel connected, and sharing networks allow them to shape their own narrative. Alone-ness, and consequently, space itself, have evolved literal and figurative meanings in the digital age.

The sharp detail depicted in these images shows us that on our very own Planet Earth, there are endless, beautiful vistas waiting to be found. Open your eyes wide, for Terrestrial Portals.


No admission fee is required to view the art in Gallery 6. Regular admission applies for families who wish to also explore the rest of the Museum. To learn more about this art exhibition or about the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire please visit

Artists’ Biography and Statement:

Cassandra Klos

Bio: Cassandra Klos is a Boston-based artist. Born and raised in New Hampshire, she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2014 from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston at Tufts University. Her projects focus on manipulating the validity of photography and creating dual realities that breathe life into situations where visual manifestations may not be available. Her photographs have been featured in group exhibitions across the United States and in solo exhibitions at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts and the Piano Craft Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts. Her work has been published in The Atlantic and The Boston Globe and her photojournalism reporting has been published in TIME Magazine and Wired. She is a Critical Mass finalist, the recipient of the Yousuf Karsh Prize in Photography, a United States Emerging Photographer Award from the Magenta Foundation, as well as a Traveling Fellowship Grant from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 2017 she continued her role as artist-in-residence of the Mars Desert Research Station and led the first mission of compiled of artists as Commander of Crew 181.

Statement: We are inundated with information about the cosmos, whether it is the appearance of water on a different planet or landing our man-made satellite on a comet. It is clear we are awed by this celestial imagery we cannot comprehend, and yet this unknown contributes to a need for exploration past our comfortable bounds. The interest of expanding the human race onto the planets around us is not a new concept, but only since the last few decades has the scientific community truly explored the idea that our neighbor planet, Mars, may be more like Earth than we ever considered.

With prototype space suits and diets consisting only of freeze-dried food, people from around the globe are dedicating weeks to months of their lives simulating the Mars environment to further the study of leaving Earth behind. To most of these pioneers, their only wish is to be a small part of the geological, biological, and psychological research that will propel us to the cosmos. Simulation sites such as NASA-funded Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HISEAS), the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), and the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA) create a simulated experience that blurs the line between reality and fantasy; a realm where the air is unbreathable, contact with loved ones is limited, and the dependence and cooperation of your crewmembers becomes center focus.

Justin Levesque

Bio: Justin Levesque is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Portland, Maine. He received his BFA in Photography from the University of Southern Maine in 2010. Levesque is a Maine Arts Commission Artist Project Grant recipient (2015, 2017), and in 2015, was selected as one of thirteen emerging photographers under 30 in Maine by Maine Media Workshops + College's PhoPa Gallery. Levesque has exhibited throughout New England and nationally at Midwest Center for Photography in Wichita, KS; Terrault Contemporary in Baltimore, MD; and JanKossen Contemporary in New York City.

In 2015, he created an independent artist residency aboard an Eimskip container ship sailing from Maine to Iceland. In 2016 Levesque then installed a public art intervention in a shipping container about his residency with support from The Kindling Fund, an Andy Warhol Regional Regranting Program administered by Space Gallery.

In response to his work about Maine's emerging relationship to the North Atlantic and Arctic, he was invited to be a fellow of The Arctic Circle artist residency in Svalbard, just 10 degrees from the North Pole, in June 2017.

Statement: Justin Levesque approaches his interdisciplinary practice with a consideration for the materiality and tradition of formal photography and its relationship to consumer technologies, digital aesthetics, objects, and systems. His work forms a connected visual network that’s preoccupied with the contemporary proliferation and consumption of images, feedback, and combinatory methods of picture-making in the evolution of populist visual language online. Levesque participates, undermines, and manipulates within these forces to imagine the implications of an increasing digital experience. He confronts how their form takes shape within future, unknown possibilities and visualizes current shifts in cultural paradigm as they pertain to corporeal complexity, data as the new divine, spatial simulacrum, and the way a place thinks about another place.

Michael James Murray

Bio: Michael James Murray is known for his 360 degree spherical panoramic photographs depicting a visual journey of the perpetually changing world. He has exhibited throughout NY State. Michael’s book “Worlds Apart,” was nominated for a Lucie Award and has been collected by many institutes such as RIT, The Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University, and Baylor University. His work has been collected by NYU Langone Medical Center: Center of Men’s Health and Trinity Practice. Murray’s work is included in many private collections all over the world. Born in Rochester, NY, primarily self-taught through assisting commercial photographers, to then becoming a photographer focusing on his own art form. He lives and works in Lisbon, Maine with his family.

Statement: My photography deals with the 360 degree space compressed into a spherical panorama. The lack of constraint imposed by working within a specific field of view allows me to explore in depth the relationship of objects, structures, and textures in both the natural and manmade world. I use the camera to investigate places where man and nature intersect, analyzing primeval worlds of earth and stone as well as the will imposed on them for better or worse by man.

My process emphasizes the overall atmosphere of the images, drawing greater attention to the interrelation of light, form and texture. By photographing the world this way the camera is omnipresent. Allowing for an epic narrative of the complexities and intricacies of a space whether it be the disorder of ancient ruins in Rome, the pristine skyscrapers of New York City, or densely variegated geographic formations in the American Southwest to emerge.

What I enjoy most about my process is how I make my photographs. I never use the viewfinder of the camera to compose the image. I take note of proximity of objects and structures to the camera. I’ve developed a sense of “echolocation,” I can “feel” if an object or structure in a space is too close or far away and move the camera accordingly. I endeavor to feel consumed by the space I’m in. To make one 360° spherical panoramic photograph, I require at least 30 individual images. Atop my tripod is a high resolution digital camera attached to a special mount. It ensures that each image is precisely aligned with the others surrounding it, and that each image overlaps by the same amount. This is essential for the next step in the process. Because all the images are precisely aligned and they all overlap by the same amount, I am assured that the final composite image will be free of errors and will blend seamlessly. I use specialized software to organize and process my raw images, and specialized software to assemble them into a finished image. Adobe Photoshop rounds out the process by allowing me to precisely adjust contrast, color, and tone. Recently I have incorporated a drone with a high resolution camera in order to make aerial 360° Panoramas.

About the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire

The not-for-profit Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is located at 6 Washington Street in Dover and offers two levels of hands-on, interactive exhibits for children from newborn to middle school. Children can explore a wide range of subjects, from dinosaurs, music and aeronautics to world cultures, art and natural history. Open year-round, the Silver LEED-certified museum specializes in creating memorable family learning experiences and works closely with schools, social service agencies and educators. The museum also hosts a variety of live performances, workshops, classes and special events for families. For more information, please call the museum at (603) 742-2002 or visit

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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.

Portsmouth Trolley
Portsmouth Opening July30 1983


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.

Dover Opening July26 2008
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.

Dover Books Alive Petethe Cat
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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Gearing Up for a Bright 2018!

by Jane Bard, CMNH President

What’s new at the Museum?  is the most commonly asked question when myself and my Museum colleagues are out and about in the community.

Before looking ahead, 2017 saw growth and change to best serve the 93,000 plus individuals we served last year.  New experiences for our visitors included a new Thinkering Lab exhibit in January, to a major refresh of the iconic Build It-Fly It exhibit in the Fall, three new Gallery 6 exhibitions throughout the year, and the opening of the new Dover Adventure Playground outside our doors in June. 

 To deepen our impact, we created new curriculum-based programs for schools, our first-ever Grown-Up Play Dates and the We All Belong program for immigrant families. One of our most ambitious projects took place behind the scenes, an investment in a point-of-sales and database system that is helping us become more effective and efficient.

So what is in store for 2018? We will be celebrating our 35th anniversary and 10th year since becoming the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire and expanding in Dover by continuing to offer the same great programming and exhibits you’ve come to expect from us, while continuing to refresh these experiences and listening to the needs of our audience. Our One World exhibits will be getting a new life, introducing visitors to new cultures representing local immigrant populations through arts, culture and food. New signs within our exhibits will highlight the ways children are learning as they explore. Favorite programs and events will continue, while plans are underway for a special anniversary events in the summer and fall, so stay tuned!

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