Last year, I ran the Children’s Museum 5K Road Race with a 6 month old. It was definitely a different experience from the previous races I had run. My son, wearing a *slightly* smaller version of the Captain America shirt that Daddy runs in, mostly stayed quiet the whole race while I talked loudly and often to him throughout the race. It was the first time during a race that – when encountering a downhill portion of the course – I yelled, “Wheeeee!”
Like I said, a different experience.
This year, the experience changed again.
#1. That 6 month old suddenly (at least it felt sudden) had become an 18 month old, had a mouth full of teeth, is obsessed with his Thomas the Tank Engine sunglasses and waving and shouting to most people (and animals – especially animals) he sees on a leisurely walk around our neighborhood. A very busy Road Race & Fun Run? Would it be too overwhelming? Would he have a meltdown? Would I need to keep raisins in my shorts pocket? He loves raisins.
#2. As the museum’s Media Producer, I would be photographing and videotaping different portions of Race Day. And pushing my son in the stroller at the same time.
#3. If things turned upside-down (something that any parent of a toddler can attest happens roughly every 20-30 minutes), I would have to leave the course and head back to the museum for an extended raisin-filled time out.
Please enjoy the following look at our participating in the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race and Fun Run.
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CMNH Media Producer Zach and his son ran the 5K this morning. We checked in with them at Mile #1 to see how the father/son team was holding up. We'll give you a hint: Someone was missing the third member of their team! #CMNH #CMNH5K #CMNHrace #CMNHzf #SeacoastRoadRaceSeries #AtlanticAvenue #FamilyFun #FatherAndSon #Mile1 #SeacoastNH #DoverNH #NewHampshire
Well, that’s another CMNH Road Race & Fun Run in the books! We’re already preparing for Race #31! Did you run the race? We hope you had as much fun as we did!
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
Art Club, Bike Rack, Brendan Markey, Children's Museum of New Hampshire, CMNH, Dover, Dover Middle School, Henry Law Park, Jane Bard, Kennebunk Savings, Live Free or Die, Nate Walker, New Hampshire, Octopus, Steampunk
Throughout 2014, the Dover Middle School Art Club collaborated with CMNH Artist-in-Residence Nathan Walker to create two Bike Racks for Henry Law Park in downtown Dover, NH. Made possible by the generous sponsorship of Kennebunk Savings, the bike rack design & completion process has been one of the most fulfilling and exciting projects that Children’s Museum has been involved in since moving to Dover in 2008.
At the beginning of the year, the Art Club – led by Dover Middle School Art teachers Marie Robicheau & Jo-Ann Gardella, met with Walker in his workshop in the lower level of CMNH. Before starting down the path of artistic collaboration, Walker wanted to show the students how he approached design. The students were able to see a large spectrum of Walker’s work in various stages of completion. Many of the sculptures viewed that day had one of Walker’s hallmarks: repurposed materials. From the Volkswagen Beetle hood that forms the back of the Giant Blue Crab in the front of CMNH to the various spiders, jellyfish and insects comprised of gears, hubcaps and Christmas Tree stands, the Art Club saw that their imagination was truly the limit in creating a bicycle rack for families visiting Henry Law Park. Walker also reinforced that the design process, where the eraser can sometimes be used just as much as the pencil, was equally as important as the building process.
The Art Club continued to meet under the guidance of Robicheau & Gardella while the students formed groups that would meet to discuss their ideas and draw up plans for their respective group’s vision for a bike rack. In addition to their design on paper, the groups were also tasked by Walker to create 3-D prototypes and models to better show how their bike rack design would work.
In April, Children’s Museum 0f New Hampshire President Jane Bard, Brendan Markey of Kennebunk Savings, and Walker met with Robicheau, Gardella and the assembled Dover Middle School Art Club as they prepared to pitch their completed ideas to the group.
Though the initial plan was to select one of the team’s ideas to make a single bike rack, Walker liked all of the ideas so much, that the choice was made that two racks would be created with each incorporating pieces of each group’s design ideas.
Three of the teams ideas would be incorporated into becoming the Steampunk Octopus Bike Rack, while two other teams would see their designs overlap to become the State of New Hampshire Bike Rack. After the Art Club members decided on which NH landmarks to include on the state themed rack, CMNH volunteer Barbara Albert got to work painting the finer details. Meanwhile, Nate began work on the foraging, welding, and color experimentation for the large steampunk cephalopod.
In October, the Art Club returned to the Museum with their original prototypes to see the final product of their combined visions. Dover Mayor Karen Weston joined Bard, Walker, the Art Club and their family and friends for the grand unveiling of the first bike rack, Steampunk Octopus, in upper Henry Law Park near the entrance of the museum.
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The culmination of almost a year of work and cooperation between Kennebunk Savings Bank, the Dover Middle School Art Club, the Children's Museum of New Hampshire & Artist-In-Residence Nate Walker, the new Steampunk Octopus Bike Rack was unveiled this afternoon in Henry Law Park in front of CMNH! Pictured here with Nate and the Art Club members are CMNH President Jane Bard & Mayor of Dover Karen Weston. #CMNH #BikeRackProject #KennebunkSavingsBank #DoverMiddleSchool #DoverMiddleSchoolArtClub #ArtClub #NateWalker #Steampunk #Octopus #SteampunkOctopus #SeacoastNH #DoverNH #NewHampshire
January in New Hampshire isn’t the best weather for families to ride their bikes, but we look forward to a few months from now when families visiting Henry Law Park will have two highly creative options for storing their bicycle while they visit the park, museum, stage, pool, river walk, picnic areas and playground.
We thank the incredibly imaginative and skilled members of the Dover Middle School Art Club, their teachers and mentors Marie Robicheau & Jo-Ann Gardella, the generous support of Kennebunk Savings – without which, this project would not have been possible – and, of course, Nate Walker, who took the inventive visions of the Club and made them a reality.
Museum Educator Jenaya has some news for all of you. The rumors are true! Make It or Break It Club, the weekly maker focused after school program at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, has moved to Tuesday afternoon.
Make It or Break It Club is geared toward children in 1st-7th Grade with different levels of projects available to create, deconstruct and explore each week.
Take it away, Jenaya!
Abstract Art, Art Gallery, Botanical Bottles, Bryan Rutland, Children's Museum of New Hampshire, CMNH, Dover, Dover Arts Commission, Dover NH, Erebos, Gallery 6, Hanging Gardens, Henry Law Park, Mark Cuddy, New Hampshire, NHart, Perspecition, Public Art, Strafford County, Tess Feltes
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.
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.
For years my family has gotten accustomed to my gift-giving strategy. Sure, you may get something from me that you want (like a certain brick building toy) or something you need (like socks and pajamas), but thrown into the mix has always been the “experience gift.”
No one in my close circle can avoid these treasures – from tickets to a concert, theatre, attraction or sporting event, to a Museum membership, day of skiing, weekend of camping or day-trip adventure with several destinations, always including a stop for food, of course.
I always thought I was being sly, giving gifts that brought my family together for shared experiences, creating new memories. Is it still considered “giving” when what you receive back is just as valuable as the gift you give?
I recently asked my boys, ages 12 and 16, what their favorite gifts were from years’ past. I was surprised how few toys they could name or really remember, especially given how excited they were about them at the time.
But my teenager did remember the awe of sitting in the front row to see his first live theatre performance at age 4, and how much fun he had exploring the Museum in this picture at age 6. And my 12-year-old remembers the thrill of night skiing with a glow stick strapped to his jacket and learning how to start a campfire by a lake.
As my children get older, I may not always be the person chosen to enjoy these experiences with them. You can be sure that my experience gifts will keep coming nonetheless.
This year, consider giving your friends and family the gift of a year-long membership to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire or our top-level Clubhouse Membership that includes free and reduced-priced admission at 400+ museums around the country.