My name is Meghan and I am an educator at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. I want to tell you about a great event I recently led as part of our FoodWorks series.
Every two months, CMNH – in partnership with Hannaford Grocery Stores – hosts an edition of our FoodWorks series. In the past, we’ve focused on creating quick and nutritious meals, educating families about food allergies, and hosting our own Local Roots Food Fair. FoodWorks is a great series that focuses on healthy eating for the whole family. There are many reasons that we love the FoodWorks events, but what I enjoy most about it is getting to work with Heidi Kerman, Registered Dietician for Hannaford. Having Heidi on hand to answer the many questions museum families have about nutrition makes a fun event extra educational. (It’s ok, you don’t have to tell the kids that’s it’s educational! That can be our secret!)The ever-helpful Heidi
Heidi has given CMNH visitors great tips for picky eaters, exciting ways to introduce children to new food, and pointers for how to make your meals as healthy as they are tasty.CMNH Educator Jenaya offers crock-pot support to one of our visitorsCrock-pot Lasagna is a great and easy meal on a cold day!
Our most recent FoodWorks event was, “Crock-pot Cooking for Kids!” I had never cooked in a crock-pot before so I was a little anxious. I decided on three recipes to cook up for the event. I spent the day before the event preparing the ingredients for one recipe that people typically associate with crock-pots – chili – and two recipes that people definitely do not associate with crock-pots – lasagna and applesauce! Despite my initial worries, I found out pretty quickly that I had nothing to worry about! The recipes were simple and tasty, and were loved by adults and children alike.
I’d like to share with you some of the recipes we made at our Crock-pot Cooking for Kids event:Our crockpot applesauce made the whole room fill up with wonderful apple scents!
These recipes are allergy-friendly and easy to change to suit your family’s needs.
We all had so much fun. Our visitors even got in on the action, helping us make a new batch of our delicious chili! I hope that if you missed this awesome event you will be able to join our next CMNH/Hannaford Food Works event in March where we will be having our own Mini Iron Chef competition! This year it’s a special pizza edition!
Meghan B. (and the whole CMNH Team!)Meghan prepares for some Crock-pot Cooking!
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is tapping into the strength of long-time staff members to lead the organization’s next phase of growth and development.
The Museum’s board of directors has announced the appointment of Jane Bard to the role of Museum President, and Paula Rais to the newly created position of Museum Vice President of Development and Community Engagement. Together, Bard and Rais will be managing Museum operations and the implementation of a recently completed strategic plan for the organization.
“This is the Children’s Museum’s thirtieth year of operation and we could not be more pleased to have this new leadership team in place,” stated Eric Gregg, President of the Museum’s board of directors. “Five years after moving to Dover, the Museum is thriving with great new programs, excellent community connections and more than 90,000 visitors a year. We have chosen two passionate and experienced professionals to continue expanding and deepening our impact with families, schools and under-served populations. Jane and Paula have our full confidence and we look forward to working with them to achieve the Museum’s goals.”Jane checks blueprints during the renovation of the museum in 2008
Jane Bard, who holds a master’s degree in education, has been with the museum for 19 years, and served as the Museum’s Associate Director for several years and Director of Education for more than 10 years. Bard has developed and directed the organization’s education-based programming, served as co-chair of the New England Museum Association’s children’s museums professional affinity group, and presented at numerous regional and national conferences. She is currently working with the Dover Chamber’s Business and Education Committee and has served on the Dover Kids’ Cabinet, among other organizations.Jane at work as Education Director
“Jane has done a remarkable job as the Director of Education for the Museum,” said Gregg. “Coming off her recent planning and execution of the highly successful Dover Mini Maker Faire and her consistent leadership of a thriving education program, Jane is especially well suited to being elevated to the role of Museum President.”Paula accepts the Leaders in Innovation Award from the president of the New England Museum Association
With a background in education and the arts, Paula Rais joined the Children’s Museum staff 12 years ago. She created the Museum To You program in 2003, taking a miniature version of the Museum across the state and beyond to bring a children’s museum experience to under-served communities. More recently, Rais created the Museum’s Exploring Our Way Autism Partnership Program and the East Coast’s first Alzheimer’s Café, which won the Leaders in Innovation Award from the New England Museum Association. She has been a featured speaker at national conferences, has facilitated professional workshops, and is involved in museum industry leadership.Paula at a recent Alzheimer’s Walk with friends from the museum’s Alzheimer’s Cafe
Gregg explained, “Paula’s history with the Museum, particularly her successful development of the Exploring Our Way and Alzheimer’s Café programs, and the wide range of relationships she has with the education and business communities, make her the ideal person to head up the Museum’s development efforts, in addition to retaining her role as Director of Community Engagement.”
Jane and Paula are now working together with the board and staff move forward with implementing the museum’s strategic plan, focused on creativity, learning and collaboration.
The Maker Faire is coming to New Hampshire! The first annual Dover Mini Maker Faire is scheduled for Saturday, August 24, 2013 in and around the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover. This is the first time a Maker Faire event has been held in the Granite State.
“We are over the moon about bringing Maker Faire to our state,” said Justine Roberts, Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of NH. “This event aligns perfectly with our mission to ignite children’s creative potential by challenging them to think big. What better way to bring our mission to life than with this amazing event that showcases our community’s creativity, engages children’s imaginations and inspires them to be the makers of tomorrow.”
The Dover Mini Maker Faire takes after its enormous parent event, Maker Faire, which hosts 110,000 visitors in San Mateo in May. The Dover Mini Maker Faire will be a smaller, community-focused event, but will follow the Maker Faire model of celebrating do-it-yourself creativity and tinkering.
“Make, create, craft, recycle, build, think, play and be inspired by celebrating arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science and technology.”
Featuring both established and emerging local “makers,” the Dover Mini Maker Faire is a family-friendly celebration featuring rockets and robots, DIY science and technology, urban farming and sustainability, alternative energy, bicycles, unique hand-made crafts, music and local food, and educational workshops and installations. A Call for Makers will open on Monday, May 6.
In developing plans for the Dover Mini Maker Faire, the Children’s Museum of NH gathered a group of key advisors from New Hampshire and beyond to be part of the steering committee. Individuals and groups currently on the Dover Mini Maker Faire include: Angela Sheehan, Clint Crosbie of Port City Makerspace, Alex Nunn of Seacoast Makers, Lindsey Wright of Seacoast Robotics, Richard Cecchetti and Tara Hicks Johnson of the Sea Perch program, Mark Critz of FIRST Robotics, Tim Tabor and Taylor Poro from the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Wayne Moulton of New Heights Adventures for Teens and Sages of RPG, artist Nathan Walker, Rob Worobey of Black Sparrow Industries, local maker John McColley, Karrah Kwasnik of Genius Switch Studio, Doug Ridley of Vital Design, Dylan Haigh and Kristy Martino of Haigh & Martino, Jim Harvey of Letgo Your Mind and Chris Evilsizer of Metis Networks.
The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2012 celebrated its seventh annual show with some 800 makers and 110,000 people in attendance. World Maker Faire New York, the other flagship event, has grown in three years to 500+ makers and 55,000 attendees. Detroit, Kansas City, Newcastle (UK), and Tokyo are the home of “featured” Maker Faires (200+ makers), and community-driven, independently organized Mini Maker Faires are now being produced around the United States and the world. Dover Mini Maker Faire is independently organized and operated under license from Maker Media, Inc.
Every year CMNH holds a 5K Road Race and Fun Run and every year we have a different logo T-shirt which runners and kids can get. For the past 2 years we have crowdsourced the design from people like YOU! We love the idea that one of our friends’ designs would be featured on our official Race T worn by over 800 people!!
We have extended the deadline for entries because of the snow day to this MONDAY MARCH 26 2013. So don’t delay. Be inspired by any of our logos, or by something else that makes you think Running, Health, Museum, Kids, Family, Fun. The winning design will be on the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Homepage as well as on all the race T’s.
What You Could Win:
*Grand Prize Winner – $100 dollars plus YOUR DESIGN on all T-shirts and race related press and 2 Shirts!
*Best Design for artist age 10-18 years old – $20 Gift Certificate to the CMNH Gift Shop.
*Best Design for artist age 9 and under – $10 Gift Certificate to the CMNH Gift Shop.
How to Enter:
Complete and submit the Entry Form and Under 18 Contestant Release Form (if applicable).
Because of the snow day last week we are EXTENDING the deadline to MONDAY MARCH 26, 2013!
All submissions may be sent as an attachment to email@example.com
or on a CD to:
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
Attn: Road Race Logo
6 Washington Street
Dover, NH 03820
Hand-drawn designs should be mailed to the Museum and we will scan the image.
How to send us your images:
Your design may contain a maximum of three (3) colors (white space is not considered a color).
The logo will be printed in full color on GREEN T-shirts and will also be printed in black & white for some print materials, so keep this in mind as you are designing.
The logo should be at least 4”x4” inches (printed) but should not exceed 6”x6” inches (printed).
It is best to create your design in a professional design program such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign. Your design should be no less than 600dpi and submitted as vector art and as a JPEG file.
If your design is hand-drawn, your design must be created using MARKER ONLY (no crayons or colored pencil). Note: Hand-drawn designs should not include writing —“the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s 5K Road Race and Fun Run” will be added as type by CMNH.
For more information visit
A new exhibit at the Children’s Museum of NH
Guest blog by Tess Feltes, Gallery 6 Coordinator
I love my job as curator of Gallery 6 and shamelessly confess that every show is my “favorite” show. But I felt compelled to write about the MOSAIC exhibit because this show touched a very special chord which, I believe, will have repercussions in my life and hopefully in the lives of some of the unbelievable people I have met.
It is well known that children in our world, now more than ever, are living in a diverse society, even in places where there was once a fairly homogeneous population. We truly live in a cultural mosaic right here in New Hampshire. This fact was driven home to me as I reached out to members of our multicultural community to participate in an exhibit called MOSAIC: Exploring our Multicultural Neighborhood.
The diversity I found has been astonishing and the outpouring of generosity, warmth and enthusiasm of people has been incredible! I feel I have made wonderful new connections … and, most importantly, friends!
Families from The Azores, Belarus, China, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco and Rwanda have shared photographs, stories, traditions, art, music and customs that interest children everywhere. The list of nationalities here in New Hampshire could go on … it was hard to limit it to the wall space that we have.
The exhibit shows how people of these cultures live, eat, dress, learn, play and engage with each other. The most heartening aspect of the project was the reinforcement that people are all amazingly similar, despite regional or cultural differences.
Immigrants arriving in the United States tend to share at least two experiences: they look forward – trying to become American – and they look back, trying to maintain some traditions from their homeland. Each individual brings his/her own unique personal, meaningful cultural background and their own way of dealing with the unending demands of life. We all need to cultivate an attitude of respect, acceptance and inclusion in order to break down the barrier of our “shyness” or reticence in approaching individuals that seem different.
I wanted to avoid a tourist approach of presenting culture through celebrations and food only. Instead, I wanted to share personal stories, achievements and comparisons in familiar and recognizable aspects of children’s lives – showing how people of diverse cultures live, eat, dress, learn, play and engage with each other. What does a school, a playground, a park or museum look like in another country? How is it the same? How is it different?
Throughout the project I kept in mind the words of Kenyan storyteller Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
“The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story that becomes the only story.”
This rings true. I began interviewing people with a preconceived idea about each country, perhaps formed by the media, whether National Geographic magazine or headlines in the news. Over and over again, my preconceived notions were wrong. The stories that were shared were far richer and diverse than I could have imagined.
For me, this project has underlined the truth that stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories can empower, humanize and help foster feelings of community, celebrating different cultures and their contributions in order to position each other as friends rather than strangers.
I hope that visitors to the Children’s Museum of NH will take the time to explore Gallery 6 to learn and appreciate the cultures presented there. I hope they will share their own stories with family and friends, make new friends and make a small difference in how we appreciate each other as we all face the challenges everyday living.
I also want to mention the fascinating artwork by Portland, Maine artist Jeannie Dunnigan. It is titled BAJ and features just the eyes of a child created using recycled print material. This seemed to encapsulate the idea that we all make up a part of the whole and reminds us that the eyes of our children are on us.
It is my hope the artwork of the MOSAIC project promotes deeper understanding of ourselves, our culture and our place in the world by exploring what brings people together rather than what keeps us apart.
The MOSAIC exhibit is on display at the Children’s Museum of NH through May 27, 2013.
- 20 LEED projects in New Hampshire
- 8 LEED Silver projects in the state
- 14 LEED children’s museums in the country
- 6 LEED Silver children’s museums in the USA
Many things that LEED certification encourages, or even requires, are good business practices and the right decision. For instance, there is a minimum required amount of construction waste recycled during building process. In our case that translated to over 54%, or more than 65 tons of waste that we kept out of landfill or the waste stream.
LEED also encourages using natural light and ventilation. So we choose to open up formerly blocked windows including the two tall arched windows in the South wall. Natural light reduces our reliance on utilities and lowers operating costs. A high performance heating and cooling system, as well as double-paned, energy efficient operable windows, help reduce our need for air conditioning .
Some of the decisions we made when thinking about LEED also resulted in delightful and impactful visitor experiences.Finished Cocheco Systems exhibitRear extension during construction
Adding the glass extension to the back of the building brought in light and allowed us to create an exhibit about the social and natural history of living on the River which is on the River and allows children to make connections between their play and the real thing.
As in all construction projects we had to put money into infrastructure, such as our 2,000 gallon cistern which captures rain water and eliminates all use of potable water for irrigation. This is not something visitors will ever see. It can also be hard for visitors to appreciate the low-key landscaping done with New England Conservation Wildlife Mix which is designed to maintain native vegetation, increase biodiversity and wildlife habitat and reduce water usage.Monarch Butterfly Teacher’s Network conducts butterfly release in Museum’s “back yard”
You probably have taken notice of our-low flow faucets and dual-flush toilets – did you know they save us an estimated 43% in water use, reducing our water consumption from 127,642 gallons per year to 72,721 gallons per year?!
That is just the infrastructure! We have cabinetry built of fast-growth bamboo and natural plant fiber cellulose used for insulation and acoustic damping. There is recycled content in the rubber and cork floor tiles, the bathroom countertops, and the carpet tiles. And we choose low-voc paints throughout the museum, as well as non-volatile finishes on floors.
Here are some fun facts:
The diner furniture came from a diner in Gardner MA that went out of business, and the Panelite ramp railing and the classroom wood flooring panels were reclaimed from a furniture showroom in Manchester, NH
Our exhibits were also done as “green” as possible. To us this meant reuse, repurposing, upcycling, being local, and making sure we used real things.
Here are some examples:sea life murals were painstakingly removed, restored and re-installed in our new museumSubmarine portholes and hardware salvaged from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in our Yellow SubmarineBench seating and passenger counters in the Trolley came from real, retired, equipment. Bobbins, spools, looms, and the carder are all reused from discarded factory equipment.Mill machinery called adjustable warp beam heads used as part of donor signs throughout the museum
I have talked about the importance of being green for the Children’s Museum before, and each time I say being green is not just the right thing to do, it is mission-driven for us. After all, the Children’s Museum is about the foundational skills kids need for success over their lifetime. Sustainability and stewardship are part of that. They are part of our overall health and wellness, how we relate to the land and built environment, as well as how we relate to one another. We believe that it is our responsibility to set a living example, and to model our values of responsibility and good citizenship.
The environment of the Museum is also designed for learning – that is our expertise. It is a best practice to provide a non-toxic, safe, and sustainable environment for kids to explore. A significant portion of our visitors are physically on or close to the floor, might put something in their mouths, and their brains are still developing. Kids learn in multisensory ways and we don’t want them to feel inhibited about exploring something through all their senses. We want them to have an environment which best supports their development. It is respectful of kids to be green.
“With each new LEED-certified building, we get one step closer to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation . . .The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is an important addition to the growing strength of the green building movement.” – Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC
One of our favorite family workshops here at the Children’s Museum of NH is making and decorating gingerbread houses. This past weekend, we welcomed 34 families – some with grandparents, cousins and friends – to this annual holiday tradition. Never does our classroom smell so sweet as when filled with the aroma of baked gingerbread. And if you want to see smiles, it is amazing what a table full of colorful decorations and baggies full of icing can do.
Although you will have to wait until 2013 to make a gingerbread house with us, here are our top five tips for creating a similar fun experience at home:
1. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as building a full-sized gingerbread house. For younger children, you can start simple with constructing small houses, or anything else their imaginations come up with using graham crackers. Another great no-bake idea – decorate ice cream sugar cones to make a forest full of trees!
2. If you are using candy decorations, expect that kids will want to eat them while they decorate. Serve a healthy snack of cut fruit or veggies with dip before you even think of taking out the candy. Even serving a small portion of a sweet treat while they are decorating, such as our choice of a simple sugar cookie and apple cider, keeps the desire to munch on candy at bay.
3. Think outside of the box when choosing decorations. Many cereals that you might already have on hand have interesting colors, textures and shapes. Waffle pretzels can make interesting windows and doors. Dried fruit, shredded coconut and snack treats you already have at home can all make great decorations without breaking the bank.
4. Icing matters, especially when building 3-D objects like houses. Regular frosting that you purchase or make does not stiffen fast enough or get hard enough to glue your creations together. Our favorite recipe that has the added benefit of drying like concrete is: 2 pounds of confectioner’s sugar, 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar and 6 egg whites. Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer for 5 – 7 minutes until stiff peaks form. Instead of buying expensive pastry bags, a plastic sandwich bag with the corner snipped works well to spread your frosting.
5. It’s all about having fun together! Will your children care about creating a symmetrical design or have the willpower to resist the urge to taste while they create? Probably not. Will it be messy? Certainly yes, but once dry the icing is easy to sweep or wipe up.
We hope you’ve been inspired by these tips and photos from our recent Gingerbread Workshop to try this project at home. Happy Holidays!
Guest post by Alison Leighton, Child Life Specialist at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, and Seana Hallberg, Family Resource Coordinator for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth’s clinic at Wentworth-Douglass HospitalSeana Hallberg (left) and Alison Leighton (right) visited the Children’s Museum recently to answer parents’ child development questions.
In our work with children and parents at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, we get a lot of questions. Each day, we meet with families who are dealing with pediatric medical issues and try to help in any way we can, from answering questions and acting as a sounding board to connecting them with community resources and specialist care.
No matter who we meet or where we go, we find we get a lot of the same questions about child development. We recently spent time at the Children’s Museum of NH’s Toddlerfest and took questions from new parents and it was no exception. Their concerns were typical of what we are asked most often.
So here are our Top 3 Toddler Development Questions, along with the answers we can practically give in our sleep!
1.) “My child has used certain words before but when prompted, he does not want to mimic. Is this normal?”
Children who are typically learning to speak are also seeking “mastery” of their new skills. This often involves practicing the skill repeatedly, but on their own terms. A general rule of thumb is by 12 months of age a child should use simple gestures as a way to communicate like waving, or simple signs. You can begin modeling simple signs as early as five months and doing hand-over-hand with your children to model the sign. Children as young as nine months are seen making approximations of simple signs. What’s most important is that your child is moving forward in her communication skills — using his sounds, gestures and facial expressions in increasingly complex ways. If you have concerns about where your child is developmentally, you should speak with your pediatrician.
2) ” My child is resistant to being potty trained. What do I do?”
Our general feeling surrounding this issue is that children need to show signs of readiness before we begin the stages of using the potty. Often a child will tell you that they are about to go, or after they have gone, they begin to hide when voiding, or they are dry at night. This shows they are beginning to have bladder/ bowel control. Every child gets to this place at different times. It is important to remember to make potty training exciting by reading books about potty training, talking about the potty, practicing sitting on the potty. Rewards can work wonders (such as giving a sticker for each time they go). If a child isn’t ready, it often becomes a source of anxiety and stress for the entire family and they do not gain the sense of accomplishment or mastery of an important new skill.At the museum’s FoodWorks events, children are invited to sample colorful fruits and veggies they may not have tried before.
3) “I feel like my child only eats particular foods and I worry she isn’t getting all of the important vitamins and nutrients she needs. What should I do?”
As we all know, children can be extremely picky. Toddlers love to turn their noses up at the food we often want them to eat and those meals we slave over. It is important to remember to expose your child to a variety of foods beginning at a young age. Don’t assume your child may not like something … give it a chance. If your child does not like the food initially, they will begin to try if it is offered repeatedly. Children are more likely to resist if they are forced to do something. Try to be creative when making foods. Make smoothies with ingredients that they will not eat raw. Make fun snacks, etc. using cookie cutter shapes. In the process of making food, involve your children as they will be much more likely to try something they created.
- About Alison Leighton, Child Life Specialist, Wentworth Douglass Hospital: As a child life specialist, I ease the stress and anxiety for families in the medical environment using the child’s method of communication, play to teach, learn and cope.
- About Seana Hallberg, Family Resource Coordinator for CHaD at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital: As a Family Resource Coordinator, I am able to support families with the stressors of a child’s medical diagnosis and can assist families in finding socializing opportunities, educational and financial information and behavioral counseling.