Eating Healthy: Frozen Strawberry Snacks

Hi, everyone! Did you catch our Eating Healthy workshop this morning? Even if you missed it, we’re excited to share today’s recipe with you. Make delicious, nutritious goodies at home, any time!

Today’s recipe:

Homemade Strawberry Blueberry Fruit Leather!

Eating Healthy is a monthly cooking program sponsored by the WalMart Falmouth store and is free with admission. Hope to see you next month!

 

Portland Symphony Orchestra’s Conductor Norman

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We were thrilled to learn about this beautiful gallery of photos from our friends at the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Photographer Carolyn Nishon was on hand back in February to catch some snaps of the PSO’s Assistant Conductor, or “Conductor Norman,” as he is affectionately known, during his visit to the Museum.

Please take a look at these gorgeous photos and the wonderful practice of these junior conductors! Thank you for the visit, Conductor Norman and the PSO. And, thank you Carolyn, for your work and talents.

Our Favorite Pizza Party of the Year on July 1st

We are so thrilled to announce one of our favorite yearly benefit events has gotten that much better with a new twist.

Please join us on Tuesday July 1st at Flatbread Company, located at 72 Commercial Street in Portland. For those of you who have never been, Flatbread Company’s homemade and handmade aesthetic is very similar to our own here at the Museum; use the best of what’s around, prepare it with thoughtfulness and ingenuity, and present with a smile.

Their dressed-down style, family-forward atmosphere, and waterfront location are perfect for a summer dinner, and we’ll be dining from 5pm – 10pm.

Flatbread is generously donating a portion of sales of every pizza sold to the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine. If you like their pizza as much as we do, you understand how exciting this is for us!

And, the twist? That night, we’ll announce a limited-time-only, special thank you gift for individuals and families who sign up for new Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine memberships this summer.

Thank You, TripAdvisor!

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We are so thrilled to be informed by TripAdvisor that we have been awarded a Certificate of Excellence, based on a 4.5 star rating from you, our visitors and guests. Thank you!

It’s always an honor to receive any sort of commendation such as this, but the thing that makes this award special is that it truly comes directly from you. Based on your enthusiastic feedback, comments, and reviews you’ve offered about your experiences here, TripAdvisor saw fit to let us know that you truly appreciate our presence here in this community; for you and your families.

Thank you again to everyone who makes this place great! We give you all a 5 star rating!

Meet Laura Poppick: Welcome to Hermit Crab City

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Hermit Crab City was my favorite haven as a kid. Tucked within the tall, sandy bluffs of Block Island, RI, this cluster of tide pools – dubbed Hermit Crab City by my Dad – always revealed dozens of scuttling creatures if we looked hard enough. During summer vacations, my brothers and I would wade with our heads bent down until we spotted a shell moving along the shallow pool floor. We’d carefully pick each up and examine their beady eyes. I squirmed with glee as their small claws tickled my hand.

When I learned in middle school that some scientists spent entire workdays loping around tide pools, rain forests, or other far off regions of the world for research, my mind buzzed. I joined a science club that allowed me to get outside and even skip some classes to give us time for fieldwork. I loved getting mucky in streams and forests while everyone else sat antsy at their desks.

By college, the spirit of discovery that Hermit Crab City had instilled in me flared strong. My geology major at Bates College in Lewiston, ME brought me kayaking along the coast of Maine mapping rock formations, wading through rivers collecting sediment samples, and drilling through frozen ponds inspecting wintertime aquatic life.

And the summer before my senior year, I found myself steering a small motorboat in Laura_Glacierfront of a massive Arctic glacier, collecting long mud cores and deep blue iceberg samples to study glacial retreat due to climate change.

This was it. Polar bears roamed around us, nightly meals of reindeer stew kept us strong for the next day of fieldwork, and towers of ice crashed in front of us as we documented the rapid melt of a glacier suffering from 21st century environmental pressures. The kid who had romped around Hermit Crab City in the early 1990’s would not have believed my 20 year-old self’s luck to have made it all the way to the top of the world, collecting glacial fingerprints.

Field research tested my physical limits, satiated my thirst for adventure and exploration, and gave my analytical side a chance to think deeply about complicated data. But as I graduated college, and spent the next year as a field assistant in the Australian Outback and then as a lab manager for geologists at Princeton University, I felt more energized talking about the work I was doing than I did actually processing samples and crunching data. As much as the ancient rocks fascinated me, they were still inanimate rocks at the end of the day, and I felt ever more compelled to share the stories of the rocks – and the scientists who studied them – with other human beings than I did spending days alone in the lab.

My path swerved back to Maine, where I spent the next year and a half teaching and writing about science for non-scientists. I started volunteering here at the Children’s Museum and Theatre, designed a website for a team of Geologists studying the ecological history of the Gulf of Maine, worked briefly as the assistant editor of the Maine State Climate Office’s newsletter, and as an educator at the Ferry beach Ecology School in Saco, ME.

As many professional paths do these days, my path swerved yet again, this time out to Santa Cruz, California where I spent a year in a graduate program for science journalism, writing for daily newspapers and popular science websites, digging deeper into the craft of engaging non-scientists with inspiring new scientific findings – this time on a much larger but less personal scale.

Now, as the Science Educator at the Children’s Museum and Theatre, I am so pleased to have the chance to share the world of science everyday with real live people. I continue to freelance write about scientific findings on the side, but am thrilled to come to the museum each day to get my hands mucky with tide pool creatures at our touch tank, examine ancient rocks from our museum collection, and explore the small ecosystem of our garden with curious visitors.

I am constantly energized by the tiny sparks we generate in little minds here at the museum — similar to those sparks that propelled me to explore Hermit Crab City and the world of science beyond — and look forward to helping foster a bright future of science exploration amongst our visitors and the local community!

The Godmother of the Stagemobile

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An early unnamed production of the Children’s Theatre of Maine

We learned recently of the passing of a remarkable and singular woman; one that is deeply entwined with our history. Priscilla Whitehouse Rand passed away this spring in Bridgton, ME, an area where she had spent many years at work and at play.

“Like painting, like playing an instrument,

theater is a vital art form,” – Priscilla Rand

Priscilla was the inventor of the Stagemobile, a truly fantastic portable stage that was quite an attraction wherever it went. As the name suggests, this spectacle, chauffeured to its next performance location via a truck, was a splash during the 1950s when it was used regularly by the Boston Children’s Theatre. It was Priscilla’s early involvement with the Children’s Theatre of Maine, and our nascent proto-Stagemobile, that encouraged Priscilla to replicate its success when she relocated to Boston. there, she taught theatre in Dorchester during the 60s and 70s, and continued to be an ardent supporter of the children’s theatre programs, even after her retirement.

Rest easy, Mrs. Rand, and thank you for thinking outside the box of four walls, and taking vital art to the streets. That idea is so important to us, even so many years later. We are indebted.

A Child’s Garden of Verses

cgv picIf you visit the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine during the month of June, you might see a couple actors dressed up in old fancy clothes reciting the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. Don’t worry, you haven’t traveled back in time, this is part of a special program we have this June: A Child’s Garden of Verses!

You’ll see two to four actors walking through a garden; the Playscape, or Discovery Woods. They’re walking. If one walks slowly, all walks slowly. If one stops, all of them freeze in mid-step. If one jumps, all of them jump. They will invite children to play the game along with them. Suddenly, one actor bursts into rhyme, let the poetry begin!  Playful poetry, about life as a child one hundred years ago. This is A Child’s Garden of Verses.

Welcome to the garden. This is our next experiment with theatre for the very young, funded by the PF Sprague Foundation. Rather than inviting children into the dress up theatre and asking them to watch a play, we are bringing the theatre to them, in museum exhibits, in our own growing kids garden, even as far away as the Farmer’s Market or the Old Port Festival. The theatre is coming out of the theatre, and coming to you.

The actors are young adults and active performers in the community. Heather, Allison, Tristan and Max each chose three of Stevenson’s poems to work as interactive monologues. Allison’s monologues take us on far off adventures up a cherry tree, or playful diminishing and seeking with the shadow. She even raps about the wind! Heather explores a old fashioned children’s marching songs and life aboard a pirate ship. Tristan asks what can you make with blocks, and takes us on a playful romp with well-known constellations. Max introduces us to the gardener, and sings a lovely song about saying Goodbye.

A Child’s Garden of Verses is poetry our grandparents grew up with. Maybe it was passed to parents, and perhaps, to our young audience. Our goal is to make this poetry as interactive and accessible to young audiences as the nursery rhymes they already know. We also hope to inspire a love of theatre through interactive play.

Cooking Healthy: Tortilla Soup

Hi, everyone! Did you catch our Cooking Healthy workshop this morning? Even if you missed it, we’re excited to share today’s recipe with you. Make delicious, nutritious goodies at home, any time!

Today’s recipe:

Easy Tortilla Soup!

Cooking Healthy is a monthly cooking program sponsored by Northeast Delta Dental and is free with admission. Hope to see you next month!