As the Children’s Museum of NH approached its 30th birthday, board and staff members were completing a long-range plan process and it was clear that the museum was ripe for an image update. Our previous logo, graphics and website had served us well as we transitioned from our Portsmouth location to Dover, but now we were looking ahead to the next decade and wanted to reflect our plans for transformation.
Our new branding was developed in partnership with Haigh & Martino (HAM), a Portsmouth-based “design think tank” that helped us identify our strengths, hone our message and think outside the box. We wanted our branding to represent the creative, forward-thinking nature of our business, the connections we create with children, families and schools, and the infinite possibilities of young minds.
HAM came to us with several creative concepts and our team immediately honed in on this one: vibrant hinged letters that spelled out our name but also could morph into an endless array of objects and shapes. We loved the flexibility this solution offered, allowing our identity to grow and change with us, while maintaining a distinctive look and feel.
Using the straight and curved pieces of our new custom alphabet letters, HAM set about creating a set of icons for us to be used in our communications. Some, like the gundalow, represented exhibits and objects found in the museum. Others could be used to illustrate posters for our programs and events. And a number of the icons could even be combined to create images like this design of the State of New Hampshire, used on a banner in Henry Law Park.
Last summer, we began unveiling our new branding, starting with signage on the front of our building. On a beautiful morning, we gathered with museum members and supporters to reveal our new exterior signage and celebrate with colorful games and crafts like tie-dying t-shirts using our new brand colors.
Next, we rolled out new stationery and collateral materials – from brochures and nametags to stickers and a new look for our quarterly newsletter. All that remained now was to redesign the museum’s website with a new look and updated functionality.
Working with Haigh & Martino, we reviewed different design concepts that incorporated our new branding, and chose the bold design you see today. The new site is based on the Craft CMS platform and is completely mobile friendly, something we know our members will appreciate. With large graphic buttons and a complete yet succinct menu, the site is easy to navigate and features tons of photos that really give prospective visitors a great idea of what they can see and do here.
We also built a custom calendar that allows users to filter events and programs by age or by type. You can quickly see what’s coming up just for babies and toddlers, tweens, and other age groups in between. Calendar events also link directly with related webpages for more information.
We hope you’ll take a few minutes to explore the new site and see what a great browsing experience it provides, whether you are looking at it on your phone, tablet or laptop. We are pleased to have this final piece of our rebranding project go public, and we look forward keeping it updated with great content for families, teachers, supporters, and partner organizations.
Alice in Wonderland, Chicago Bulls, Children's Museum of New Hampshire, CMNH, DC Comics, Donkey, Dorothy, Dover, Dreamworks, Ewoks, Fantasia, Huckleberry Hound, Lewis Carroll, Ludwig Von Drake, Mad Tea Party, McDonald's, Michael Jordan, Mickey Mouse, Miss Piggy, New Hampshire, Pixar, Queen of Hearts, R2-D2, Return of the Jedi, Ronald McDonald, Shrek, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Brothers, Superman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Muppet Show, The Muppets, Tin Man, TMNT, Valentine's Day, Valentines, Wall-E, Wicket, Wizard of Oz
Valentine’s Day is a pretty big deal at a Children’s Museum and here at CMNH, it’s no different.
We’re in the middle of hosting our first ever Alice in Wonderland Tea Party and it’s a huge hit! Don’t worry: there’s no calling for “off with their heads”! Instead, we’re enjoying tea, juice, decorating our own cookies and flowers, and listening to the Queen of Hearts read from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 classic.
While we celebrate this holiday full of love, friendship and fun, take a walk down memory lane with some of these special valentines from decades past. Do you remember any of them? Did you give or receive some of these when you were a child?
The picture above is of CMNH staff showing all the ways that your donation to the museum helps us achieve our mission and vision every day. If you want to be our Valentine this year, please take a look at our Start Strong Fund initiative and see how you can help today and every day in the lives of the children and families in our community.
Happy Valentine’s Day from your friends at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire!
Looking past the snow piled outside my window on a cold February day, it is easy to daydream of warm breezes, family road trips and summer adventures that are many months in the future.
For the past three years, the Museum’s car raffle fundraiser has given people a reason to daydream the winter away, hoping to win a fun summer ride in the spring.
This year we’ve changed up the format a bit – our Joyride Raffle gives one lucky winner their choice of a new Nissan Quest S minivan, a Harley Davidson Glide motorcycle or $20,000 cash prize.* Our second prize winner will ride away on a 2015 Honda Ruckus scooter thanks to our friends at Nault’s Powersports.
With a maximum of 750 total tickets sold, the odds of winning are exponentially better than the Powerball (an estimated 1 out of 176 million)! We’ll be drawing the winning tickets at Port City Nissan on April 16th — and I can tell you from past drawings that it’s pretty exciting to be in a room with people anticipating that they will win a big prize!
If I won this year’s raffle, I would have difficulty deciding which prize to choose.
Or maybe the Harley Street Glide is the way to go. I don’t have a motorcycle license, but my husband does, and driving down coastal roads with the scent of salt air and the sun warming my back would be pure joy.
Then there is always the cash prize. I could be practical and invest my winnings for the kids’ college or retirement OR I could splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation to Europe, home improvements or a combination of these options.
Even if I wasn’t the grand prize winner, the Honda Ruckus second prize would be a great way to zip around town for errands and fun trips to places where parking is at a premium. I would put a basket on the front of mine.
The great news is that one of these daydreams can come true for anyone who participates in the Joyride Raffle.
Now my question is: if you win the Joyride Raffle, which prize will you choose?
For more information or to purchase your own Joyride Raffle ticket(s), visit this link or call the Museum at 603-742-2002 during normal business hours. Proceeds benefit the Museum’s programs and exhibits.
* see website for full details, taxes not included
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s Alzheimer’s Café was recently featured on New Hampshire Public Television’s new series, Changing Aging in the Granite State. The episode premiered on Thursday, January 15, 2015 and featured Judy and Woody Sponaugle of Rye, NH who attend the museum’s free, monthly Café.
The Alzheimer’s Café at the museum started in 2011 and meets on the third Thursday of each month from 2–4pm. The Café is a supportive and welcoming place for people living with dementia and their care partners to spend an afternoon of conversation and socializing. Refreshments are provided and reservations are not required.
In 2012, the Children’s Museum of NH received the Leaders in Innovation award from the New England Museum Association for the Alzheimer’s Café program. The Museum is partnering with the Keene State College Nursing Department to research the benefits of attending an Alzheimer’s Café for caregivers and people living with dementia. We will be sharing more details on this as research continues.
The Changing Aging in the Granite State Alzheimer’s Café episode can be streamed online at http://www.nhptv.org/aging/
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Bryan Rutland, a local Dover artist, has created a new piece being displayed on the facade of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. Perspection, part of Driven to Abstraction – the current Gallery 6 installation – was originally one piece of abstract art that Rutland split into two distinctive pieces. As CMNH’s Director of Exhibits, I contacted him in November about creating a vibrant piece of abstract art that would bring color to Henry Law Park for those dark and dreary winter months.
“The way that I like to approach my painting is to have no preconception or final image in my mind,” Rutland shares.
“I want to create intuitively and I feel in working this way I can be true to myself and not over think the process. I like to take a more natural approach,” he admits. “I start the creation process with a color palette in mind and just start throwing colors around and whatever ‘feels right’ at the time. I like to just let the painting work itself out and lead me in the direction it wants to go in.”
Bryan joins over 15 other artists in showing their version of abstract art. For many museum families and visitors, this is their first exposure to any kind of abstract art. As in any form of art, each artist approaches their process differently. Rutland looks to his natural surroundings for inspiration.
“The abstract process for me is more of a therapeutic and physical exercise. I allow things to just happen the way they do in nature,” he says.
“Just like a stream will meander and create its own path over time I allow my paintings to do the same. I tend to be more of an instrument in the creation of the work as opposed to the overall creator. I really feel the painting is already there I just need to let go and let it be what it was meant to be. I think we need to create things that are true and honest to ourselves, with all of our strengths and weaknesses.”
Born in Paterson, NJ in 1974, Rutland has always believed in doing what you love. He moved around a lot in his early years and he often looked towards his creative mind to keep him company. He tried to absorb any and all information he could sink his teeth, and by extension his creativity, into. He is a true admirer of art in all its forms and has worked in many different mediums.
He has designed for fashion labels like L.A. based Eisbar and Kangol NYC. He has also worked with L.A. bands The Nikhil Kohrula Band, The Distants and Apes of the New Millennium, as well as NYC based rap artist Little Vic and Orena Records. Rutland’s paintings have been exhibited in galleries and venues in Los Angeles, and he has had mural work shown on walls and ceilings in New York City. Bryan currently operates Rutland Studios in downtown Dover creating artwork in all different mediums.
If you don’t have a chance to view Rutland’s Perspection by day, we’ve set up a colored lighting system to make it viewable in the evening as well.
Driven to Abstraction is currently up and running through the end of February. Driven to Abstraction has given the museum a chance to show some non-representational work that children and adults will find really interesting. Abstract art challenges people to look even deeper at the artwork to try and solve or decode the puzzles in the artwork.
All CMNH Gallery 6 shows are free to view for Adults. Simply request a Gallery 6 Visitor Pass at the Front Desk of the museum.
Perspection is merely the latest piece of public art commissioned by CMNH. Last winter, we installed Erebos on the front of our building, which was a collaborative effort between myself and our Gallery 6 Coordinator Tess Feltes.
During the day, Erebos – named for the Greek God of Darkness and Shadow – would create shadows on the building as the sun moved across the sky, and at night Erebos was lit up by color changing LED lights to create an ever-changing display of light and shadows.
In the spring, we installed a recycled hanging garden created by cutting, gluing and painting plastic bottles.
This was our most time consuming project because each flower or vine was individually cut and painted. Amy Tilton and Eryn True, two of our 2014 exhibit interns, were invaluable in helping us to complete this project.
During the summer, our Gallery 6 Enchanting Gardens exhibit extended out into Henry Law Park and included a handful of sculptures sprinkled throughout the park.
There were nests, figurative sculptures, a tree house, a metal Pterosaur and individual pieces made of both plants and clothing.
We hope you’ll have a chance to see our latest public art, Bryan Rutland’s Perspection, in person before visiting the rest of Gallery 6 to fully appreciate all the incredible and varied pieces of abstract art in our Driven to Abstraction installation.
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At the end of each year, it’s human nature to reminisce over the events and milestones of the past 12 months. Sometimes we are so busy going about daily life that until we take a moment to reflect, we don’t really digest the moments that matter.
Here are some highlights of 2014 at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire:
- Extending the Museum beyond our doors by bringing art to the park and our building’s façade. Who knew that recycled plastic bottles could be so beautiful?
- Starting a new EBT/SNAP admission program to extend our commitment to serving all families, leading the way before a national model was introduced for Children’s Museums around the country.
- Hosting the 2nd annual Dover Mini Maker Faire, bigger and better than ever with 60 makers and over 1,600 attendees!
- Celebrating the end of our 30th year by re-launching our iconic Yellow Sub exhibit with exciting new features like a drivable deep-sea environment and interactive swimming fish. (And for adults, an evening of delicious food and live music at our September Shebang!)
- Collaborating with Dover Middle School Art Club students and our Artist in Residence Nate Walker to design new place-based bike racks for Henry Law Park right outside our doors. The Blue Crab welcomed his new friend – Steampunk Octopus!
- And most importantly, all of us at the Children’s Museum remember the one constant that hasn’t changed over the past 30 years: the joy, wonder and pure delight that children bring to their Museum experience every single day.
We can’t wait for 2015 and look forward to sharing with you all the wonderful things the new year will bring!
Statistics from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University show that in the first few years of a child’s life, 700 to 1,000 new neural connections are formed in the brain every second! At the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, our goal is to create an experience-rich environment for children, giving them the opportunity to start strong. The impact of early experiences on brain development is critical because 85% of the architecture of a child’s brain is developed before age 5.
A vital aspect of early childhood development is the presence of “serve-and-volley” relationships – or back-and-forth communication between children and adults. These interactions happen when adults respond to children’s questions, pose their own questions, identify items that a child is pointing at and engage in back and forth conversation, even when the child’s “conversation” is smiling, pointing, reaching or babbling.
The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is designed to encourage serve-and-volley exchanges. Sharing, playing or simply being exposed to new materials and activities through our programs and exhibits all help nurture healthy brain development.
This year, as you designate your charitable giving, please consider supporting the Museum’s Start Strong Fund, enabling us to continue building healthy brains right from the start.
New Hampshire is known for its “Yankee ingenuity, ” a place where generations have worked the land, manufactured goods and come up with creative solutions for reusing and repurposing materials. That spirit of making is alive today, and the Dover Mini Maker Faire is the place to find it. A hands-on festival for all ages, Maker Faire celebrates the thriving resourcefulness, innovation, creativity and forward-thinking technology that can be found in New Hampshire today.
On Saturday, August 23, the Dover Mini Maker Faire will take over downtown Dover, with four locations: upper and lower Henry Law Park, The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, and One Washington Mill. Maker Faire attendees will be able to experience everything from quad-copter launches to spinning yarn from wool … 3-D printing to vertical gardening … driving an underwater submersible to learning how to tie flies … making a paper circuit pin to finding out how to make Star Wars costumes, and much more.
Over 50 makers and groups of makers will be on-hand hosting interactive demos, hands-on projects, small talks and workshops designed to inspire and educate attendees between the ages of 3 and 93 as to a sampling of “making” that is happening in New Hampshire businesses, schools & universities, organizations, and garage workbenches throughout the state and beyond. From engineering and product design, to arts, crafts, technology and homesteading, Maker Faire is the place to be inspired and connect with your inner maker!
2014 marks the 2nd annual Dover Mini Maker Faire. The first Maker Faire was hosted in the Bay Area of California in 2006 as a place for makers to show what they made and share what they learned. In 2013, 100 independently-produced Mini (one day events) and Featured (2 or more day events) occurred around the World. In fact, this year’s Dover Mini Maker Faire is scheduled on the weekend between Sydney, Australia’s and Trondheim, Norway’s Faires. A licensed event through Maker Media, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is the host and coordinator of the Granite State’s only Maker Faire at this time.
In early 2012, the Museum began the process of becoming licensed to plan and host what would become the Dover Mini Maker Faire. “The Maker Faire concept was a perfect fit with the Museum’s focus on developing creative problem-solving skills and building a strong community focused on learning and collaboration,” says Jane Bard, Museum President. “What better way to shine a light on the innovation and creativity happening in NH but through the people, businesses, organizations and schools that are making that happen.”
In our increasingly complex world, the objects and technology that surround us can be intimidating and hard to understand. “There’s a growing distance between us and the world,” says Chris O’Brien from the LA Times. “We don’t know where our food comes from, how the energy we use gets made, and how to take apart our computer and fix it…The Maker Faire dares us to reverse that trend. And it inspires us to do that by gathering together thousands of people who embody that simple joy of creating things every day.”
Here is a sampling of the 55+ makers and maker activities scheduled to happen at this year’s August 23rd Faire in Dover:
TOOOL – The Open Organization of Lockpickers – Teaching people to pick locks and understand how they work and why.
TDB Monsters – Focused around making creatures and characters out of discarded items and junk laying around. They create all sorts of other items, from a slithering bicycle, to jewelry made from almost nothing. Recycling objects is a major factor in what they do.
Port City MakerSpace and Manchester Makers – Projects and demonstrations by both organization’s members
Reproduction Retro Computers – Reproductions of Apple 1 and the SCELBI 8H computers. The Apple 1 is the first product of Apple. The SCELBI is the first personal computer, released in 1974, a full 2 years before the Apple 1. There were around 200 of each system originally built. There are around 70 original Apple 1’s remaining. Original SCELBI computers are even scarcer, as there are only about a dozen original SCELBI’s known to exist. Both will running vintage computer software games from the 1970s. Users will be able to operate both computers.
EPLIS Comics – An all ages sci-fi action adventure comic book series. We’ll have a vendor table for our comics, and we’ll be doing two workshops: learn to draw cartoon characters, and how to create your own comics
3-D Printed Coins – Come make a fun maker crab coin or pin. You will be able to create a fun DIY project with a few materials.
Air Rocket Glider – Featured in MAKE issue #39. With its wings folded back, it launches on a blast of compressed air, on our new v2.0 Compressed Air Rocket launcher (CAR v2.0). When the ARG reaches apogee, the wings pop out for a gentle glide back to the ground.
Vertical Gardening by KinneBotanicals – Using long-lasting and environmentally friendly materials, they will demonstrate how to grow plants on walls instead of the floor, be they edible or ornamental. This method drastically reduces space requirements. It also adds an interesting aesthetic to any indoor or outdoor space.
Darkhill Cemetery Haunted House – 14 year old George Farrow’s passion for the past six years has been creating the Darkhill Cemetery Haunted House. This small attraction held in his parents’ garage every year focuses on using high quality detailed sets/scenics as well as computer controlled animatronics and spectacular sound and lighting. George will share some of the methods used to make his event come alive, such as foam carving/sculpting, carpentry, lighting/sound design, casting, molding, and more!
NEMO Equipment – This Dover-based company designs and manufactures outdoor equipment, tents, and shelters. Founded in 2002 NEMO Equipment has won numerous awards for its designs. Sold nationally around the US and in numerous other countries around the world, NEMO is recognized as a leader in outdoor equipment.
Automotive Technology – See how modern vehicles work! There will be demonstrations on the anatomy of an automotive wheel bearing, how Tire Pressure Monitoring systems work, and how modern computer systems measure air flow into the engine. Look inside the operating system of a modern vehicle to see what all the electronics do!
Advance tickets are now on sale for $10 and tickets at the gate will be $12. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased online at www.makerfairedover.com. For more information on the Dover Mini Maker Faire, please call 603-742-2002 or visit www.makerfairedover.com
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.
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.
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!