As we celebrate four decades of engaging children in hands-on learning, we are looking ahead and planning an expansion project that will enable us to better serve families in the future. Here is your invitation to be involved!
Feedback from our community told us that you would like more space for young children, active play, playgroups, and changing exhibits. Families shared that they face challenges with childcare, feelings of isolation, and supporting their children’s social emotional development.
In 2024 we will begin a renovation that will add nearly 1,000 square feet and build out two new exhibits on our second floor. The first will be a New Hampshire farm designed for ages birth through five, catering to children’s boundless fascination with animals, tractors and farm activities. Open-ended play will inspire imagination and promote creativity while supporting early literacy and fine-motor skills. This exhibit will embed elements that encourage empathy and emotional well-being as we strive to respond to the pressing mental health needs of young children.
The second will be a flexible exhibit space that will change several times a year, offering new experiences for visitors. This imaginative space will inspire active play that provides opportunities for creativity, collaboration and physical skill development. This space will also host playgroups, family programs and local organizations, fostering a sense of belonging.
Ultimately, this expansion will help the Museum better serve families in the ways identified by you. Our goal, when we open this expansion in 2025, is to make a greater positive impact on the 96,000 people we serve each year.
With an estimated project cost of $420,000, the expansion will only come to life with the support of our community, and we encourage you to consider a generous gift to help us do the important work of engaging children through play. We can’t wait to welcome you to our new exhibits, and we look forward to celebrating our continued growth together.
In 2022 you helped...
...the museum educators support NH Childcare Centers, Family Resource Centers, and Libraries as they weathered the childcare crisis. The museum provided over 80 play-based learning kits to these organizations, and then with the help of a prestigious grant, continued to offer workshops, tips, open houses, discounts, and more for our overburdened childcare workers.
...us update the Cochechosystem exhibit with new play elements that will continue to engage and inspire families when they visit.
...relaunch the Exploring Our Way: Sensory Friendly Playtime program which provides a much needed free and comfortable experience for families with kids on the spectrum and with sensory processing challenges.
In 2021 you helped...
...the museum move past the pandemic stronger than ever. We slowly built back our hours and programs, all the while keeping our access and inclusion programs available to the families who needed it the most.
...welcome back the NH Maker Fest in person with over 800 visitors and participating Makers.
...open the outdoor Play Patio exhibit, designed for messy, hands-on play!
In 2020 you helped...
...support families at-home learning! Museum educators created 66 videos of our most popular programs and classes, viewed for free over 33,796 times, and distributed 1,200 arts and science kits to replace in-person summer camps and library programs.
...inspire creativity and support artists and small business! The museum hosted Maker Fest virtually featuring 37 makers and workshops, and donated 150 Maker Kits to families so they could participate safely from home.
...us prepare for the museum's future! We moved forward constructing an outdoor Play Patio, using funds raised prior to the pandemic. The Play Patio will provide 1,800 square feet for messy art & science activities and gatherings.
In 2019 you helped...
...welcome 2,555 guests to the museum who paid only $1 per person admission by showing their EBT cards, all part of our Museum Access for All program.
...welcome 3,778 museum guests who received free or reduced admission thanks to the Blue Star Museum Summer Program and the Museum's Military Appreciation Program for active duty military personnel and their families.
...welcome a record breaking number of children and families into the museum - 110,600!