CMNH Awarded Competitive Grant
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (CMNH) is proud to announce that they are a recipient of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) INSPIRE! grant for small museums. CMNH will launch “Bolstering A Childcare System in Crisis” this fall, a series of educational initiatives designed to help providers and families implement enriching, engaging, and developmentally appropriate play-based learning (PBL) activities for children from birth to age 5.
“The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is perfectly positioned to take on this task” shared Education Director, Xanthi Gray “We are known as a leader in the Early Childhood field across the state and have years of experience with play based learning in our space. We’re excited to share this knowledge and these resources with new organizations in our area.”
In partnership with the University of New Hampshire’s Early Childhood Education Center, the museum will offer professional development training for early childcare providers; provide hands-on educational opportunities for families and caregivers; and distribute PBL activity kits to 20 early childcare providers, four family resource centers, and six library partners across the state. “As a result of this project, providers and caregivers will strengthen their play based learning practices and help New Hampshire’s youngest children grow and thrive during a critical time in their development,” shared CMNH President, Jane Bard.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire was one of 59 museums nationwide to receive the INSPIRE! IMLS grant for small museums, and only 5 of those recipients were children’s museums. “It’s a highly competitive grant and we are so honored to have our staff’s innovative programming supported by the nation’s lead organization in supporting museums and libraries,” shared Bard.
New and Improved Cochechosystem Nature Exhibit
Join us beginning Wednesday, August 3, 2022, to experience the reimagined Cochechosystem Nature exhibit at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire. Celebrating the vibrant wildlife along the state's Cochecho River, visitors will be immersed in the sights, sounds and activities of the animals and people who make their lives along New Hampshire’s rivers.
The Cocheco River is a tidal river, which flows through the Children’s Museum’s backyard and feeds into the Piscataqua River. When families enter the Cochecosystem Nature exhibit, they are introduced to a river ecosystem inhabited by osprey, beavers, and fish, all creatures who use rivers to engineer their lives. With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the actual river, the Cochecosystem Nature exhibit demonstrates how rivers throughout New England support thriving ecosystems of many interdependent creatures.
"The Museum's Cochechosystem Nature exhibit upgrades incorporate new activities to encourage deeper family engagement and appreciation for the natural world," said Jane Bard, Museum President. New components include welcoming children to dress up as beavers, build lodges and feed their young kits, watch the osprey guard their nest as they add to their own, fish on the exhibit's riverbank, hop aboard the replica gundalow and load cargo for a trip upriver and take a close look at the river outside.
New signs in the exhibit are designed to help facilitate imaginative play and critical thinking skills.
In addition to exploring the exhibit on August 3, visitors are invited to join our educators to explore beaver artifacts and make their own beaver paw track to take home at 10am and 2pm. This project is generously supported by The Roger R. and Theresa S. Thompson Endowment Fund.
Families planning to visit the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire on any day are asked to reserve online to help the museum maintain capacity limits. Adults and children over the age of 12 months are $12.50, seniors (65+) are $10.50 and kids under 12 months and Members are FREE. Museum hours are Tuesdays - Saturdays, 9am-noon or 1-4pm, and Sundays 9am-noon. The Tuesday morning play session from 9am-noon is mask required for everyone over the age of 24 months, while all other hours are mask optional. To make reservations or learn more about the museum, visit here.
Military Families Play for Free All Summer
Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 21 was 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 4th, 2022, 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 proud to once again partner with the Children’s Museum to sponsor their Blue Star program,” said Jaime Yates, Service Credit Union Community Relations Manager. ‘At Service Credit Union, we have a longstanding history of supporting our military members, veterans and their families, and this program is one of the ways we can give back to those who have given so much to us.”
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. More than 2,000 museums across America 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. “Thanks to the generous support from Service Credit Union, the Museum is thrilled to extend free admission to include retired military personnel and their family members” said Jane Bard, Museum President.
The summer free admission program 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 People’s United Bank.
DIY Bee Condo
By Megan Beach, CMNH Educator
Did you know that you can build a homemade house for bees to live in? Although bees will make their own hives in places like hollow trees, or by burrowing in the ground they also will move into a bee condo, that you can make at home with just a few materials.
What you need to make a bee condo:
- Cardboard pieces, or heavy card stock
- Empty paper towel roll cut in half
- Paper straws (important that they are not plastic)
- Masking tape
- Hot glue gun (Make sure to get a grown-up to help)
- Hole punch and pipe cleaner or string
Bees find a house made out of a bundle of paper straws with one side blocked off to be a welcoming place for a home. They also prefer darker colors for their houses (it reminds them of trees) so using a brown cardboard box or dark paper works the best.
- Trim straws to the length of your cut paper towel roll and bundle them together with tape.
- Once straws are bundled and taped fill the tube with them and secure with glue if needed.
- Cut pieces of cardboard to fit securely around tubes in the shape of a house or tent to your liking and use the hot glue gun to fasten them together.
- Make sure to add a piece of cardboard to the back to cover one side of your bee condo.
- Use hole punch to string the pipe cleaner through the top of the house for easy hanging.
Add moss, leaves or pinecones to the roof or any empty areas of your bee condo to help them feel more at home!
If bees do make a home in the condo be sure to not disturb them. Leave the bees alone so they can pollinate plants for us and make honey!
Mo Willems’ Latest Character to Visit Children’s Museum of NH
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).
CMNH Members can reserve spots for a free special Member’s Only “Meet and Greet” on Saturday, November 13 from 8-9am. Online reservations required and proof of membership at door.
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.
CMNH Receives $10,000 Grant from Liberty Mutual
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
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.
Rochester Resident Free Admission Days
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.