Six on the Sixth

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We hope everyone is having a wonderful summer! July is a very special month in the history of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. It’s always been a month of beginnings and, because of that, cherished anniversaries.

In July of 1983, the Children’s Museum of Portsmouth opened its doors at 280 Marcy Street in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in the old South Meeting House.

Children eagerly cut the ribbon(s) to open the Children's Museum of Portsmouth

Children eagerly cut the ribbon(s) to open the Children’s Museum of Portsmouth

Twenty-five years later on July 23, 2008, CMOP transformed into CMNH, as the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire opened its doors in an old Armory Building – and former Butterfield Gym – in Henry Law Park at 6 Washington Street in Dover, New Hampshire.

The colorful ribbons come out again for a brand new chapter!

The colorful ribbons come out again for a brand new chapter!

To celebrate six years of being CMNH, our move to Dover, and becoming an even bigger, vital part of the New Hampshire community, we’ve interviewed six staff members who were part of the process of moving, designing, creating and launching the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.

Help us dive into the future! Our fundraising effort for the next phase of the famous Yellow Submarine is in full swing!

Independence

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Happy 4th of July from the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire!

We hope you have a fun and safe holiday with friends and family.

Below, you will find a selection of patriotic drawings made by some of our museum visitors.

[Reminder: CMNH is closed on the 4th in observance of the holiday but will be open from 10-5 on Saturday the 5th and 12-5 on Sunday the 6th. The fireworks in Dover, NH have been rescheduled to Sunday night, July 6th.]

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Around the World in 93 Days

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At the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, we’re lucky enough to have both a gallery and a studio. Sometimes those words are interchangeable. However, at CMNH, their purposes often and intentionally overlap.

Gallery 6 features four to six installations a year curated by Tess Feltes. For the last few years, every spring, Gallery 6 focuses on a theme we’ve named, “Mosaic: Our Multicultural Neighborhood”. Spotlighting art and culture from around the world, last year the focus was on clothing, toys, photographs and stories from many different countries. This year’s Mosaic installation tightened the focus to just photography from over a dozen different countries.

The Muse Studio is a place where children and their families can create take-home art projects, play games, conduct experiments, among myriad fun activities. Our Studio projects can change daily, weekly or monthly. However, written into the mission statement of Gallery 6 is the following: The Gallery space is designed to blend into the museum’s Studio space . . . connecting the playful creativity of children to the serious investigations of artists.

And what better way to blend, to complement, to unify the many pieces of the Mosaic gallery installation than to actually expose our visitors to art they can make and culture they can study right in our Muse Studio!

Starting in early March, we spotlit a different county each week. Not only did our visiting families learn about art and culture from all over the world, but so did our staff.

In the following twelve weeks, we explored the art, language, geography, folklore, and clothing of Mexico, Japan, Ireland, India, Sweden, Greece, Indonesia, Morocco, Native America, & Australia.

As we welcome our next Gallery opening and Muse Studio theme of “Enchanting Gardens” for the summer, I’ve asked our Museum Educators – those tireless people that you see engaging families with these projects while simultaneously refilling gallons of glue and boxes of popsicle sticks – what their favorite activity has been these last few months. Please enjoy a look back at the 2014 edition of, “Mosaic: Our Multicultural Neighborhood”.

Meghan

BandolierAs much as I liked making and wearing the laurels with our visitors during our week of Greek art and culture, I’m Screen shot 2014-06-06 at 10.27.42 AMgoing to have to pick the bandolier bag making as my absolute favorite activity! When we were setting up the projects for the Native American week in the Muse Studio, I realized I hadn’t even seen bandolier bags before and I certainly didn’t know that were connected to Native American tribes. We used a lot of textiles and fabrics that kids had already made at CMNH with our weaving looms. So the project also had a great sustainability and green angle to it. Plus, the bags were very fashionable which the kids and I very much appreciated!

Crystal

DotsTwo projects I enjoyed immensely were during the time we devoted to Australia and Ireland. Teaching the kids how to write their names using the Ogham alphabet was using a subject – linguistics – that we don’t touchScreen shot 2014-06-04 at 2.39.46 PM upon too often in the Muse Studio. Of course, my Irish heritage may make me a bit bias here! That said, I have to give the #1 spot to the Aboriginal Dot Art that we did while focusing on Australia. It was something accessible to all ages and it was a unique way of creating a picture, using guidelines, precision, and focus, but also allowing for imagination. No two were alike!

Meredith

Screen shot 2014-06-04 at 2.39.17 PMI was definitely partial to the Viking Helmets we created while exploring Sweden! They were easy to make for a wide range of ages and even though the instructions were pretty clear cut, they left open room for interpretation that let the children expand their design if they felt inspired. Plus, I think it was one of the most popular projects with parents and grandparents during the entirety of the Mosaic theme. I saw quite a few adults walking the around the museum as vikings during Sweden week!

Emily

Screen shot 2014-06-04 at 2.36.08 PMI really liked the dreamcatcher project from the week we spent learning about Native American art and culture. First, it was easy to make at home with simple materials (paper plates, yarn or string, beads, etc.) but the end product was three dimensional and could be continued to a much bigger and detailed level for older kids. Plus, it tied in the folklore of many Native American tribes so we were educating a lot of our younger visitors on this subject for the first time.

Jenaya

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I was excited when we selected Morocco as one of our countries to spotlight this year, but was also a little nervous because I wasn’t very familiar with a lot of Moroccan art and culture. Which makes me even happier to say that my favorite project came from the week we spent creating Moroccan art! I LOVED the sand art projects. Were they messy? Sure. But when you’re working in a art studio inside of a children’s museum, it comes with the territory. The sand art consisted of us picking some bright paper as a background, placing down some fun designs or patterns in glue and then shaking brightly colored sand on the glue. Then we let it dry. Simple! But our visitors made so many different kinds of creations through the sand art activity. Toddlers to grandparents seemed to enjoy this activity and I can’t wait until we do it again.

Riley

I had a hard time deciding which craft project was my favorite and then I finally realized it wasn’t an active project that stayed with me the longest, but two of the displays that we made for the Studio during the Mosaic theme. The map of New Hampshire that Meghan made during the week we focused on Native American culture was really informative for kids and adults and showed them how many places throughout all of New Hampshire – towns, lakes, river, mountains – have their origins in the different Native American languages. I was also a big fan of the “Greek Gods in Pop Culture” poster that Crystal created during our Greek week. It helped take mythology, which might seem boring and uninteresting for some kids, and show them how much they likely already knew from movies, television, and advertising. It was an interesting angle to take and I saw quite a lot of families pointing at it and discussing it.

We’re so happy that the Mosaic gallery and studio pieces were such a big hit with our staff and our visiting families! The educators are already brainstorming what countries we’ll be focusing on next year.

We now look ahead to our summer theme in Gallery 6 / the Muse Studio: Enchanting Gardens. The studio has undergone quite a transformation from top-to-bottom to embrace this new wild theme and the Gallery 6 art pieces are so incredible for this installation that we did something that we’ve never done for any of our past installations. I’ve . . . said too much. Stay tuned to the blog to find out the magic we have in store for you this summer!

Make Your Own Watercolor Paint

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Over the years, you’ve likely accumulated some less than stellar magic markers. Caps are missing, colors have run dry, and you don’t even know where that random Zayres brand green marker came from!

So what to do? Instead of just chucking all those old markers, why not teach your family about sustainability and recycling by converting those old markers to brand new vibrant watercolor paint!

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CMNH Educator Meredith teaches us how in this short how-to video!

CMNH 5K + 1

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A few weeks ago, I ran the 29th Annual Children’s Museum of New Hampshire 5K Race & Fun Run. Full disclosure: I didn’t run the Fun Run. I’ve aged out of that bracket.

This was my sixth CMNH 5K and, unlike the first five that I ran, I approached the sixth much, much differently.

My preparation for my first five museum races broke down something like this:

2009-2013 Race Prep

- Don’t eat or drink something stupid the night before

- Go to bed early and get plenty of sleep the eve of the race

- Eat some dry toast and maybe a few bites of banana for breakfast

- Load up my ipod or cell phone with a good race tracklist for the run (usually heavy on songs with strong, steady beats, like Daft Punk and Talking Heads) – something I find essential to a good running experience

- Walk down to Henry Law Park early enough to get in plenty of stretching time (say, 30 minutes or so) pre-race

- Find a place among the racers that keeps me as far away from the parents with strollers as possible. It’s great that they’re running with their kids, but they’ll just get in my way

- Get ready for the starting gun and focus on the goal of beating my time from the previous year

Simple enough, no?

This year’s list was going to need a little tweaking – some voluntary, some involuntary. Why? Well . . . I wasn’t racing alone this year.

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2014 Race Prep

- Go to bed after I finally eat dinner which won’t happen until we finally get the 5 1/2 month old baby – who happens to be teething – down for the night

IMAG0166- Wake up every few hours and trade-off with my wife to see who can try to calm said teething baby down and get him back to sleep

- Wake up at 5:30 AM because that’s what time the baby has decided he’s going to be awake

- Stand at the stove half-asleep and make eggs for breakfast because the baby has decided that he wants Daddy and he to race in matching Captain America shirts and that we should use our Captain America spatula while making breakfast. Therefore, eggs

IMAG0168- Let the baby talk to himself in a baby mirror to psyche himself up for his first 5K

- Pose with the baby to show off our matching outfitsIMAG0195

- Decorate our racing bibs in special Captain America stickers that the baby insisted Daddy buy for the race

- Walk down to Henry Law Park the long way so Mommy can get a coffee at Adelle’s and Daddy can stress out about potentially not getting to the race on time

- Meet up with the baby’s Nana, Memere, two cousins, Aunt, and Grandfather at Henry Law Park – all of whom are either running, walking or volunteering at the event

- Give everyone time to pose for pictures with the baby on his first race dayIMAG0207

IMAG0206- Devote a grand total of 2-4 minutes to stretching before you realize they’re making the final announcement for racers to assemble

- Rush, with the baby in the stroller, to get in line

- Try to avoid the looks of some runners as you elbow your way in with your cumbersome strollerIMAG0203

- Check on the baby to make sure he’s ok for the 47th time in the last half hour

- Forgo any headphones or music because I’ll obviously need to be listening for every sigh, gasp, squeak and titter that the baby makes

IMAG0211- 1 minute before the start of the race, realize that they’re – obviously – going to be a shooting a gun off and start to panic that the baby will freak out

- 30 seconds before the gun goes off, have a mother with a stroller next to me ask me if I’m going to buckle the stroller strap into my running beltIMAG0208

- 25 seconds before the gun goes off, realize I have no idea what a running belt is, that I have nothing on my person to strap my son’s stroller belt into, that this is all some sort of horrible mistake and will likely end with me on the side of the road with a sprained ankle, two full diapers, and lots of crying

- 20 seconds before the gun goes off, panic. A lot

- 15 seconds before the gun goes off, remember that your race time doesn’t matter and that you’re just in this for you and the baby to have a good time

- 10 seconds before the gun goes off, hear your baby start laughing at the fact that he just stuck his whole fist in his mouth

- 5 seconds before the gun goes off, smile and remember that this is the last time you’ll be able to take your baby on his first race

The Race

It wasn’t my easiest race. But, my goodness, it was the most fun race I’ve ever run. Our volunteer staff is always awesome when it comes to cheering the racers on and this year was no different – but, for me, it felt different. The cheers seemed louder. The adrenaline seemed stronger.  In addition to the volunteers, you also have many citizens of Dover who come out to watch the race. Yes, it stops traffic for a bit. Yes, there’s detours. Yes, it can be a brief inconvenience. But all the bystanders have huge smiles on their faces and – especially in the last mile – they’re yelling out encouragement, they’re telling you it’s not that much longer and they’re yelling at the top of their lungs that you – yes, YOU – are going to make it! They’re having fun and whether we runners and walkers look like it, I promise you, we’re having fun too! But this year? This year was different.

The biggest difference? The talking. Oh, the talking. Listen, I was voted Most Talkative so many years in a row in middle and high school that they retired my jersey. And my baby and I? We talk. A lot. All the time. Heck, I even talk to pictures of my baby when he’s at daycare. Is that normal? I don’t know. Maybe. Despite working with children for over a decade, this is my first time at the Dad Rodeo.*  But the talking! The talking! I’m not referring to the baby. I’m referring to me! It’s one thing to regulate your breathing during a race. But it’s another thing to try to regulate your breathing while you’re talking to your tiny little son for 3.1 miles. Despite my verbose nature, I’m not used to uttering one word during a race. Maybe a cough or a vocalized wince, but certainly not sentences. Certainly not elaborate conversations.

* – (At the Dad Rodeo, you win if you can change a diaper in the dark without waking up the baby in under 8 seconds. But you’re still likely going to be a clown.)

Things I verbalize to Cap Jr. during the CMNH 5K

- How we doin’ down there?Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 11.19.53 AM

- Believe it or not, we haven’t even officially gone over the Starting Line yet.

- We don’t have to wait for the walk sign this time. Just trust me.

- Say hi to the ladies at Harvey’s!IMAG0218

- Whoa. Pal, look at that guy over there. I think he’s still out from last night. No. Don’t stare.

- Yeah. It’s slow moving at first. But we’ll break away once we get to Portland Ave.

- Hmmmm . . . maybe Dad should have investigated sun screen?

- But seriously, you’re fine? Because I can’t really see you that well.

- Yup, he’s mine! What? Oh. Yeah – the one from all the pictures.IMAG0214

- He actually prefers Cap Jr. or Lil’ Cap! (in response to someone yelling, “Go Baby Cap!”)

- Whew. That first mile gets longer and longer each year.IMAG0219

- Stu! Don’t throw water at my baby! (in response to the water station volunteers’ exuberance)

- Daddy’s going to say a bad word. The other side of this cul-de-sac is &%#$@!

- If you want to yell, “Wheeeeee!” as we go down the hill, Dad totally signs off on that.

- WheeeeIMAG0224eeeeeeee! (in response to Cap Jr’s failure to do so as we go down the Cocheco St. hill to hit Mile Marker 2)

- I think that’s your cousin Garrett up ahead. No . . . we’re not catching up to him. Because Daddy’s more than 20 years older than your cousin, that’s why.

- Yup. That’s what horses do sometimes, pal. Yup. Sometimes right in the street.

- Don’t yell “on your left” to Nana! It’s rude!

- Yes, those guys are running in the opposite direction. Because . . . they  . . . already finished and . . . are circling back to run . . . a 10K.IMAG0223

- Stop asking so many questions. Daddy can’t see in color anymore.IMAG0230

- There’s Grampa! Wave to Grampa!

- No, Grampa! We can’t stop for a picture! Meet us at the finish line!

IMAG0231- We know it’s blurry, Grampa! That’s because we’re running while you’re walking next to us trying to take a picture!Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 11.22.05 AM

- Yes, that volunteer is on a unicycle.

- No, I don’t know why that volunteer is on a unicycle.

- Aarrrrgh! (Translated: “I can’t believe your Aunt Kate just snaked by us in the last 2 seconds of the race!”)

Post-Race 

The first thing I used to do after a race (once my vision came back, my inhaler patched my lungs over, and I wrung the sweat out of my eyebrows) was to stretch. And I made sure to stretch this time too. Once I checked on the baby and finally looked in his eyes for the first time in over a half hour and made sure he was fine. He was actually exhausted and pretty much out cold. Wouldn’t you be after flying all around Dover and listening to your Dad endlessly spout at you? And if you woke up and watched your mom cross the finish line and then she brought you to meet a giant alligator named Albert, wouldn’t that just be the best day ever?

IMAG0240One of the most magical things that happens at the CMNH 5K & Fun Run each year is the sense of community. Former and current employees and board members and long time volunteers return to help or participate in the event. Families run together. Elementary school classes run together. Scout groups run together. Co-workers, trivia teams, running groups – they’re all represented.

There was a runner there that told me that morning that this was his 100th race. Cap Jr. still has a bit more mileage to hit before he enters the triple digits. But I won’t care what his race times are. Or if he ate the right protein bar beforehand. Or what music he listens to when he runs. As long as he has fun.

At 32 minutes and 44 seconds, it was my worst 5K time ever. But who cares? I wouldn’t change a thing. (Well, maybe next year, we’ll aim for a bit more sleep the night before. I’m going to assume Cap Jr.’s teeth will finally be in by then.)

 

 

Dover Mini Maker Faire returns on August 23, 2014

Dover Mini Maker FaireThe Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is hosting the second annual Dover Mini Maker Faire in Dover, NH on Saturday, August 24, 2014. Last year’s event — the first-ever Maker Faire in New Hampshire — featured more than 50 makers and attracted over 1,200 attendees.

This year, the museum is working with community members and local organizations to develop an even more amazing day of invention and creativity! Makers and interested visitors can follow updates from Dover Mini Maker Faire on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Maker applications are available now and event tickets will be available later this spring. All details are available at http://www.makerfairedover.com.

ABOUT MAKER FAIRE:

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making and share what they are learning.

Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. They are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.

The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2014 celebrated its ninth annual show with hundreds of makers and more than 100,000 people in attendance. World Maker Faire New York, the other flagship event, has grown in five 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.

About MAKE Magazine

MAKE is the first magazine devoted entirely to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) technology projects. MAKE unites, inspires, informs, and entertains a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages. MAKE celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your will.

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BESIDES THE MAGAZINE AND THE FAIRE, MAKE IS:

- a vital online stream of news and projects, blog.makezine.com;
– a retail outlet for kits and books, the Maker Shed;
– a steady stream of fun and instruction via our YouTube channel;- Make: Projects, a library of projects with step-by-step instructions
– a book publishing imprint with best-in-category titles on introductions to electronics, Raspberry Pi, Arduino and more.

Save the date for Dover Mini Maker Faire: Saturday, August 23, 2014 – we look forward to seeing you there!

A Silly Scavenger Hunt

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Tuesday was April Fools’ Day. While this whimsical “holiday” can be celebrated anywhere, a children’s museum is perfectly suited for foolish fun!

First, Educators Crystal and Meredith decided to fashion a Giant Yellow Mustache for our friend the Giant Blue Crab!

These three jokers, "mustache you a question"!

These three jokers, “mustache you a question”!

 

Our horse friend C.J. from the Dover Mounted Patrol even joined in on the fun!

Even police horses join in on April Fools' tomfoolery!

Even police horses join in on April Fools’ tomfoolery!

Our exhibits even got in on the act!

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And that’s when we unveiled our V̶e̶r̶y̶ ̶S̶i̶l̶l̶y̶ Extremely Serious Scavenger Hunt!

The Granite State is very proud of these wild animals that are native to our state! Our visitors – big & small – had quite a lot of fun hunting down all the wild subjects!

We were also kind enough to share some AMAZING TRUE FACTS with our visitors about the First Day of April!

Shhhh! Kanagaroo is learning how to stay calm in Mindball!

Shhhh! Kanagaroo is learning how to stay calm in Mindball!

Ah, yes - a royal rhino inside Pattern Palace.

Ah, yes – a royal rhino inside Pattern Palace.

Dodo Bird takes this high perch in our Mexican Cafe.

Dodo Bird takes this high perch in our Mexican Cafe.

Snow Leopards and Submarines are a perfect mix.

Snow Leopards and Submarines are a perfect mix.

Abraham Lincoln was hoping to relax inside this cozy tree.

Abraham Lincoln was hoping to relax inside this cozy tree.

Chameleon learned all about Air Mail in our Post Office.

Chameleon learned all about Air Mail in our Post Office.

Just your normal everyday hammerhead shark checking out the Dino Detective exhibit.

Just your normal everyday hammerhead shark checking out the Dino Detective exhibit.

Toucans love the vehicle construction in Thinkering Lab.

Toucans love the vehicle construction in Thinkering Lab.

Armadillo was curious about the River Model.

Armadillo was curious about the River Model.

Ring Tailed Lemur was curious about the children who used to work in the mills.

Ring Tailed Lemur was curious about the children who used to work in the mills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dragon was hanging out at the top of our Cocheco River Map!

Dragon was hanging out at the top of our Cocheco River Map!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“I Watched It a Million Times!” – CMNH Staff Picks Their Favorite Childhood Movies

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The film “Muppets Most Wanted” opens nationwide in theaters this weekend.

I’ve had this weekend circled on my calendar for a long time. I am a Muppet lover. A Muppet freak. A Muppophile. Not that I need to prove my Muppet cred, but let me share with you a few incontrovertible facts:

#1. I use Muppet band-aids exclusively.

#2. The vows I spoke to my wife on the day of our wedding were the lyrics from “Movin’ Right Along“.

#3. Kermit the Frog and The Muppets are the theme of my infant son’s nursery.

#4. I’m currently listening to Muppet songs while I write this blog.

I won’t bore you with numbers 5-100.

But how does such an o̶b̶s̶e̶s̶s̶i̶o̶n̶ appreciation of all things Muppets begin? Quite easily. 1979’s “The Muppet Movie” was my favorite movie as a small child. And as an older child. And as a teenager. And as a young adult. And as an adult. I didn’t know who the majority of the humans were in Jim Henson and company’s debut film, but I knew what I loved: Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo – heck, everyone from Bunsen Honeydew & Beaker to each member of The Electric Mayhem, house band of “The Muppet Show” (1976-1981). I already knew and loved these characters from the television show and seeing my felted best friends get in to bigger budgeted adventures (Frogs and Bears don’t drive studebakers on the cheap, you know) only sweetened the pot.

Was it the first movie I ever saw in a theater?* No. I was only 10 months old for the original release of the film. I likely saw it either on a film projector at the local community center, on VHS or on television. Once the technology made it possible, my parents recorded the movie – commercials and all – off of WLVI 56 (Channel 10 where I grew up). One day, the tape stopped working. I brought it to my mother. She explained to me that the tape had become rundown and asked me if I had any idea how that might have happened.

“I watched it a million times,” was my matter-of-fact answer.**

At five months old, my son is too young for me to bring him to see the Muppets eighth cinematic foray while it’s playing at theaters. (No matter what I might say to convince my wife otherwise.) But I’m confident he’ll fall in love with it in time. But it might not be his favorite childhood film. That honor may likely go to a movie that hasn’t even been dreamed up yet. And who knows? Maybe his love of that future film will end up being the theme of my grandchild’s nursery.

* – The honor for first movie I ever saw at the theater goes to “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” at the Colonial Theater in Laconia, NH when I was 4-years-old.

** – The only other movie I came close to watching as many times as “The Muppet Movie” was 1987’s “The Chipmunk Adventure”.

We polled the staff at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire to find out what their favorites were when they were kids. Do any of their picks match yours?

(1939) - Doug's pick / Caitlynne's 2nd pick

(1939) – Doug & Caitlynne’s pick

(1942) - Carol's pick

(1942) – Carol’s pick

(1960) - Katie's second pick

(1960) – Katie’s pick

(1964) - Heidi's pick

(1964) – Heidi’s pick

(1965) - Sarah & Meredith's pick

(1965) – Sarah & Meredith’s pick

(1967) - Heidi's second pick

(1967) – Heidi’s second pick

(1972) - Katie's second pick

(1972) – Katie’s second pick

(1977) - Jane's pick

(1977) – Jane’s pick

(1979) - Zach's pick

(1979) – Zach’s pick

(1982) - Jenaya's pick

(1982) – Jenaya’s pick

(1984) - Mark's pick

(1984) – Mark’s pick

(1984) - Crystal's pick

(1984) – Crystal’s pick

(1985) - Riley's pick

(1985) – Riley’s pick

(1985) - Crystal's second pick

(1985) – Crystal’s second pick

(1986) - Meghan's pick

(1986) – Meghan’s pick

(1986) - Caitlynne's second pick

(1986) – Caitlynne’s second pick

(1989) - Beth's pick

(1989) – Beth’s pick

(1989) - Sam's pick

(1989) – Sam’s pick

(1995) - Riley's second pick

(1995) – Riley’s second pick

(1999) - Annie's pick

(1999) – Annie’s pick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some quick observations about the Staff Picks:

- Nine of the twenty films were based on children’s books or fables.

- The Walt Disney Company is responsible for six films on the list.

- Steven Spielberg is associated with three of the films. (Spielberg directed “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, contributed the story for, “The Goonies” and produced, “An American Tail”.)

- George Lucas is associated with two of the films. (Lucas wrote and directed “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” and wrote “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”)

- Jim Henson is associated with two of the films. (Henson produced and starred in “The Muppet Movie” and produced, co-directed and wrote the original story of “The Dark Crystal”)

- The most popular years for favorite childhood films of the CMNH staff were 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1989 – each year boasting two films.

What film did you watch a million times? What were some of the oft-watched family favorites growing up in your home? Brag about the movie that had the honor of being the favorite of your childhood in the comments section below!

Eager to Learn, Eager to Create – A Look at CMNH Art Camp

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Museum Educator Beth recently lead a three day Art Camp at CMNH for children ages 5 to 9 years old. The goal of the camp was to educate the campers about some of history’s greatest artists while allowing them the opportunity to create in the various styles of the artists they were learning about.

A sculpture takes form!

A sculpture takes form!

Beth, who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History with a Minor in Fine Arts from Plymouth State University, planned Art Camp over the last few months in the rare times she wasn’t interacting with families in the museum or launching new art projects for visitors to work on in the museum’s Muse Studio.

Narrowing the Focus

“Initially, I had a lot of ideas for lessons and projects, but I needed to take a step back and make sure the lessons were something all the campers – some of whom were almost five years apart – could conceptualize.”

"Can you make sure to get a picture of this flower that I drew?"

“Can you make sure to get a picture of this flower that I drew?”

But how does one decide which artists to cover when you only have three days?

“One of my hopes was that I could shed some light on some amazing artists that they wouldn’t necessarily be learning about in school yet,” says Beth.

“Of course,” she continues. “I also wanted to get them excited about learning about art as well as the whole process of creating art.”

“But narrowing down the list of artists we’d cover proved to be quite difficult,” admits Beth. “My list could have been much longer, but again, remembering the age of the children and what they’d likely respond to the strongest helped a great deal. All the artists that were chosen were well known, influential people who were revolutionaries in the art world at their respective times. Part of winnowing the list consisted of focusing on specific art movements that the children could comprehend and be inspired by. Yes, some of it was bound to be over their heads, but I was confident that the core concepts and ideas would not be lost on them. Ultimately, I felt that Impressionism and Cubism were movements that they would be able to understand. And, of course, I knew Pop Art would be something they could have a lot of fun with.”

Deleted Scenes

Had camp been longer, Beth has a pretty clear idea what other artists would have made the cut.

“I feel like I could have taught that camp everyday,” she admits. “It took me back to my college days, learning about a different artist each day. Jackson Pollock would have been great to teach the kids – with myriad directions we could have gone in. Jenny Holzer, who is still alive, focuses on text as art. She’s brilliant. Mark Rothko, a tortured man and a controversial artist, focused on color and emotion which the campers easily could have tapped into. Wassily Kandinsky, whose paintings have a clear childlike quality, would have been a lot of fun. Marcel Duchamp’s style of ready-made art could have been great and the I have to think the kids really would have been wowed with some of Salvador Dali’s pieces.”

Jackson Pollack, "Image Number 8" (1949)

Jackson Pollack, “Image Number 8″ (1949)

Jenny Holzer, "Survival" (1985)

Jenny Holzer, “Survival” (1985)

Mark Rothko, "Blue and Grey" (1962)

Mark Rothko, “Blue and Grey” (1962)

Wassily Kandinsky, "Composition VIII" (1923)

Wassily Kandinsky, “Composition VIII” (1923)

Marcel Duchamp, "With Hidden Noise" (1916)

Marcel Duchamp, “With Hidden Noise” (1916)

Salvador Dali, "The Persistence of Memory" (1931)

Salvador Dali, “The Persistence of Memory” (1931)

The Final Five

Ultimately, Beth’s final list of artists for Art Camp were Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The campers had some familiarity with the eclectic group.

Degas

Degas

Monet

Monet

Van Gogh

Van Gogh

Picasso

Picasso

Warhol

Warhol

“I believe all of the kids had heard of Picasso,” Beth says. “His name was definitely known by them. They had a harder time identifying his works. Conversely, they all seemed to recognize Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, but did not know the name of the artist. The names Monet, Degas and Warhol were a little foreign to them. A handful of the kids said they had seen some of their respective pieces when I showed them examples, but did not know the artist responsible.”

Despite her enthusiasm and extensive knowledge of the subject matter, Beth was still worried at the start of camp. Would the campers’ have a difficult time focusing on learning about and creating art when they’re based inside a children’s museum?

Monet, "The Japanese Bridge" (1899)

Monet, “The Japanese Bridge” (1899)

Water Lilies in the style of Monet

Water Lilies in the style of Monet

Colorful Bridge inspired by Monet

Colorful Bridge inspired by Monet

Watercolor water lilies in the style of Monet

Watercolor water lilies in the style of Monet

“I knew Art Camp would be a challenge because most children in that age range can be antsy and eager to play on a normal day, let alone when there’s a loud, bustling museum outside of the classroom walls – especially if they don’t already have a desire to sit and create on their own,” Beth shares. “My worries were that they wouldn’t be as enthusiastic as I was. I worried that it would start to feel like ‘work’ – which I know technically it is – but I didn’t want it to come across like it was a chore. I wanted the kids to see how passionately I felt about the art and about teaching it to them.  I was so relieved that my fears were unfounded and I was lucky to have such a great group of kids, several of which were wise beyond their years!”

Van Gogh, "Three Sunflowers" (1888)

Van Gogh, “Three Sunflowers” (1888)

3-D Flowers in clay pots, inspired by Van Gogh

3-D Flowers in clay pots, inspired by Van Gogh

Further painting and decoration of the Van Gogh-esque flower pieces

Further painting and decoration of the Van Gogh-esque flower pieces

Finishing Touches

By the end of the camp, each camper had compiled a full portfolio of artwork to share with their family and friends. Beth was pleased by the generally enthusiastic approach the campers had to learning about so many different artists and styles.

Degas, "Fin D'Arabesque" (1877)

Degas, “Fin D’Arabesque” (1877)

Pop-Up Ballerina inspired by Degas

Pop-Up Ballerina inspired by Degas

“I was delightfully surprised by the enthusiasm for the subject matter,” Beth says. “They all seemed eager to learn, eager to create, and open to doing something different.”

Warhol, "No Title" (1967)

Warhol, “No Title” (1967)

The campers black and white "Warhol-ized" portraits before they painted them, flanking two of Warhol's most famous works

The campers black and white “Warhol-ized” portraits before they painted them, flanking two of Warhol’s most famous works

See a short video of the campers paintings of their own handprints in the style of Andy Warhol.

“When parents have an interest in getting their children into the arts it makes me so happy. With so much funding for the arts being cut in schools these days, it’s important for parents to realize the importance of providing an environment for your children to express themselves; a place to get messy and let them be who they are. That’s the magic of art.”

Picasso, "Woman in Hat and Fur Collar" (1937)

Picasso, “Woman in Hat and Fur Collar” (1937)

The Picasso inspired, "A Woman's Face"

The Picasso inspired, “A Woman’s Face”

Another Picasso inspired portrait

Another Picasso inspired portrait

“When parents have an interest in getting their children into the arts it makes me so happy. With so much funding for the arts being cut in schools these days, it’s important for parents to realize the importance of providing an environment for your children to express themselves; a place to get messy and let them be who they are. That’s the magic of art.”

Despite three full days of Art Camp, it’s something that happened near the end of the program that will stay with Beth the longest.

“On the last day of camp, during our ‘free draw’ time, one of the campers approached me and asked me if I could write down all of the artists we learned about because she wanted to do further research about them and their art when camp was finished. She made my heart melt and I was so proud of the clear connection she had made to the art. It’s an experience like that that makes it all worth it.”

CMNH Art Camp - February 2014

CMNH Art Camp – February 2014

Be sure to check out the video below for some brief words from a few of our campers about their Art Camp experience!

A Skinnier Shamrock

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Tomorrow, March 17th, is St. Patrick’s Day. In a horrifying affront to my Irish heritage, I grew up loving the Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s. Irish or not, chances are you’ve tasted the bright green concoction that the fast food giant has been selling annually during the month of March since it was first introduced as the St. Patrick’s Day Shake in 1970 and then changed to the Shamrock Shake in 1978. (I can only speak for the New England area. The Shamrock Shake wasn’t available nationally until 2012!)

What's a shamrock taste like anyway? Answer: Mint

What’s a shamrock taste like anyway? Answer: Mint (apparently)

I haven’t had a Shamrock Shake since I swore off fast food years ago, but when my son is old enough, can I really deny/insult his Irish heritage by withholding this seasonal mint treat? Yes and no.

Yes, I can absolutely stop him from having one. For several reasons. #1. A large Shamrock Shake is an astronomical 820 calories. That’s equal to almost 2 Big Macs or 3 Egg McMuffins. #2. It contains ingredients that are not good for a young child (let alone an adult), such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Heavy Cream #3. It includes ingredients that are so scary I can’t even pronounce them, such as Carrageenan, Monoglycerides, Guar Gum, & Polysorbate 80. In total, the Shamrock Shake has over FIFTY ingredients!

No, I will not deny him the deliciousness of the Shamrock Shake because I’ve found a healthy – but, and here’s the key: still very tasty – Shamrock Shake alternative!

The geniuses at Skinny Kitchen created a Skinny & Fat-Free Shamrock Shake that will quickly become a St. Patrick’s Day tradition in our home and most likely yours. It’s 16 ounces and clocks in at only 184 calories! Quite the difference, no? Plus, it only takes about 10 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients for Shake:

¾ cup fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt

½ cup fat-free milk

⅛ teaspoon peppermint extract or mint extract

5 drops green food coloring

2 packets Truvia, Stevia, Splenda or your favorite sugar substitute

3-4 ice cubes


Ingredients for Topping:

Fat-free or Light whipped cream, optional


Instructions

1. Combine all shake ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.  Stop blender and stir with a spoon to help blend everything.

2. Pour into a 16 oz glass. Top with light whipped cream, if desired and enjoy immediately. You really don’t need the whipped cream. It still tastes great without it!

The Skinny Kitchen site has a lot more healthy recipes that the whole family will enjoy.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

ps – Don’t forget to check out this vintage television commercial of Grimace’s “Irish” Uncle O’Grimacey shilling the early Shamrock Shakes!

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