Stories from the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine
Lucia has been working with children for many years. During her time at Dickinson College, she volunteered with America Reads, promoting literacy in early childhood settings. Her post-graduate experience includes teaching pre-kindergarten in both Maine and Vermont. Lucia has spent many summers at Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center, where she coordinated staff and worked with Maine youth. Lucia joined Children's Museum of Maine staff in September of 2008; she enjoys the creative, fun, and safe environment in which children can explore!
Every weekend during the school year, and most days in the summer, we are joined by high school students who want to teach science. Known as “Youth Rangers,” these high school students are a variety of ages and backgrounds, but all have a common interest: teaching science to children. One of our Youth Rangers loves teaching about dinosaurs, while another likes to focus on marine mammals. They all lead Star Shows and Tide Pool Touch Tanks, and they do a great job!
If you’re familiar with these science-teaching youth, you might have noticed the absence of Youth Ranger Noah during your summer visits. Where is Noah? Noah has been away for a fellowship at the Mount Desert Island Biological Lab, doing molecular biology experiments and gene expression identification. He is working with the little skate “Leucoraja erinacea.”
But it’s not just scientific inquiry that has kept Noah busy – he’s also been continuing to teach by leading family science nights about the reproduction of skates inside Mermaid’s Purses. We look forward to his return at the end of August and to hearing about the findings from his fellowship work!
Teaching about culture is no easy task. In a world where we look for categories and definitions, it can be tempting to say “this is what people in Nigeria eat; this is what Nigerian people do for fun.” However, my favorite pastime (hiking) is very different from my brother’s (computer games), and we grew up not only in the same culture, but in the same family! The We Are Maine exhibit takes a different approach; giving children the opportunity to see a Maine child’s life and heritage, and to learn about his traditions in a unique, interactive setting.
This summer and fall, Ibe Mokeme from Peaks Island will be the featured Mainer. His father, Oscar, is from Nigeria, and Oscar has generously loaned the Museum & Theatre many artifacts from Nigeria and Ibe’s life to help demonstrate their story.
Welcome to our table. The food looks good enough to eat!
At Welcome to Our Table, children can play with food Ibe and his family enjoy, including Ibe’s favorite- macaroni and cheese! When exploring the area, examine the types of food, family pictures, and recipes- and ask each other questions. Do you enjoy fish? What ingredients are new to you? This is a wonderful opportunity to talk about the whole foods ingredients come from, and how some food grows in specific places. Don’t forget to take a sniff of some seasonings that are sometimes used by the Mokeme family (the crayfish will knock your socks off!).
Drumming is an important part of Ibe’s family story- he shares a special drum game with his father and they practice traditional dances together. In the Celebrate with Us exhibit there is a hand drum for anyone to try on and costumes that were once worn by Ibe. Around the exhibit you can find Ibe translating simple phrases into Igbo (pronounced ee-bo), a language spoken by many in Nigeria.
We Are Maine is a great opportunity to learn something new and to explore your own heritage. After watching the video of Ibe, record your own video in the Tell Your Story kiosk. We all have a story to tell, and the more we share, the more we will learn about each other and new places!
Yesterday we held a special Superhero Party at the Museum & Theatre! The staff spent the morning changing into their alter-egos and setting up fun activities for the superheroes to enjoy! We had super snacks, a super senses game, a monster obstacle course and a station to make your own superhero emblem! Here are photos from the party, we hope these heroes fly back to visit soon.
OPEN Monday through Saturday 10am-5pm!
OPEN Sunday noon-5pm! Summer tip #1: The lunch hour tends to be less busy if you’re looking to avoid the crowds…
11:00 First Flags
1:00 Ready, Set, Play: La Gallinita Ciega
3:00 Japanese Dance Performance! Performers from Hachinohe, Japan have traveled to Maine to perform Enburi (Japanese folk dance and music) for us! The performers are part of the United States Nippon International Friendship Group and their visit is sponsored by the Maine-Aomori Sister-State Advisory Council. Summer tip #2: Can you see the Memorial Day parade from the Camera Obscura? Try it at 10:30 am!
Pack a picnic!
Rain or shine, bring your picnic lunch to the Museum & Theatre. Check out the brand new picnic tables under the trees in the back yard, or enjoy your picnic lunch in the café. Summer tip #3: Love air conditioning? Our forced air system brings in fresh air and cools it down…and the shipyard is open when the sun is shining!
Gross motor movement!
Need to get out some summer energy? Come climb the rock wall or play on the pirate ship! Do you have toddlers in need of a safe place to play? We spiced up the Toddler Park with some fresh, age-appropriate toys. Bring your little one to read an Eric Carle book and swim with the new ducks. Summer tip #4: Kids who move all day will be ready for bed at night!
Istar has called the Museum & Theatre home since January, but she’s ready to swim away to make room for our next exhibit, Smart Art. This weekend is the last time Istar will be lowered so you can go inside her and learn about humpback whales. On Saturday, May 1 we’ll be having Whale Time at 10:30am and 2pm. If you’d like to say goodbye to Istar on Sunday, May 2, call the front desk for specific times.
Our visitors couldn’t get enough of Whale Time!
Member families will be the last ones to enjoy What About Whales during Members’ Monday on May 3. The exhibit will be closed starting Tuesday, May 4.
We’ll miss Istar, but we’re really excited about Smart Art—a truly interactive exhibit where you can make robots dance, help a plant to grow and more! You can read more about Smart Art in our latest Kitetails newsletter.
April vacation is the best time to visit the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine! Why? First of all, it’s the opening of the play The Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings. The actors are geared up, the set is unbelievable, and the tickets are only $7 for members and $8 for non-members! Now that’s an amazing deal for quality children’s theatre.
VACATION TIP: Purchase your ticket in advance to guarantee a chance to see the show. Bring your child to the Museum before the performance for some time to explore and play. Try to find the rabbits hiding in the Museum! Come to the Friday show, and you can spend some time with one of our staff learning the difference between rabbits and hares.
Another reason to visit during April vacation is that the backyard will be open every sunny day! So you can promise your young friends & children a visit to the Sea Pirate Ship where they can play in the sunshine.
VACATION TIP: Pack a lunch, or swing out to one of the restaurants in our neighborhood for a meal to-go. Bring your food to the back yard for a picnic lunch. (Your admission is good all day, so you can leave and return as you please!)
Yet another great reason to visit next week is the amazing roster of programs we will be offering. For our blog-readers only we are providing SNEAK PEEK of next week’s programs. Lucky you! Some of these events may be found on our website calendar at www.kitetails.org, but others are being announced here for the first time (check out the Earth Day Celebration schedule!). So take a look at your calendars, plan out your week, and come join us for a great time!
Monday, April 19 Activities:
10:30-12 Who’s in Rabbit’s House? To register, contact Reba at email@example.com or at 828-1234 x247.
11:00 Rabbit Ears!
1:00 Kids on the Block Puppet Show!
2:00 Bunny, Bunny, Rabbit!
I am a bit over-excited about the NEW Good on the Go vending machine in our lower level café. Have you ever tried chocolate cookies with green tea cream filling? I have, and let me tell you they are delicious with organic milk! I’ve never been much of a soda fan, and so the healthy options in this new vending machine really strike my fancy.
From tasty chips and Starbucks Frappacinos to cheddar bunnies and juice boxes, the new Good on the Go vending machine provides affordable snack options for all ages, so visitors can have more energy to stay and play longer (and staff can too!)
I am a big fan of food, and so I’m really excited to have an easy snack option in addition to the great selection of local eateries in the neighborhood – and this one doesn’t even require crossing the street.
Oh, and did I mention the machine takes credit cards?! Salt and malt vinegar chips…here I come!
I am happy to welcome Gabrielle Heggeman to our team as a Visitor Services Intern! You might see Gabrielle during your winter visit, asking you how she can help make your visit better or interacting with our young visitors. If you see her with a clipboard, Gabrielle is probably in the midst of observing how exhibits are used and enjoyed. Her internship will focus on visitor services and evaluation, and she will contribute to our ongoing assessment of museum exhibits and practices. We are always looking for ways to become better and are happy to have Gabrielle to help us along!
We asked Gabrielle a little bit about herself and why she’s excited about her internship:
“I’m currently working towards my bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at the University of Southern Maine. I’ll graduate in May, then continue for my master’s degree in Education. I hope to become an elementary school teacher once my master’s degree is completed. When I’m not at school, my job, or my internship at the Museum & Theatre, I enjoy spending time with my three sisters, my parents, friends and my lab, Porkchop. With this internship, I’m looking forward to watching children discover new things and seeing how they interact with one another. Being around children is something that I’ve always enjoyed. When I heard there was an opportunity to intern at the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine, I knew it was where I wanted to be!”