Become a Part of Our Giving Tree!

Give the gift of play to a family in need this holiday season! Gifts of any amount will be added to our scholarship membership fund which provides free, one-year memberships to families that would not otherwise be able to experience the Museum & Theatre. All donations are tax-deductible. Donations of any amount are welcome and $95 funds an entire scholarship membership for one family for one year!

Make your gift in honor of a friend or family member and share the gift of play with someone special this holiday season.  We are happy to send a personalized holiday card to the recipient if you would like.

How It Works:

If you’re visiting the museum, simply remove an ornament from our giving tree and take it to the front desk to make your tax deductible donation. Then take the ornament with you and share it with a friend or family member to let them know that a donation has been made in their name! We can also mail an ornament to a recipient of your choice accompanied by a complimentary holiday card (see the Front Desk for details).

If you’d like to make a donation now, simply click here and choose the option that works best for you!

Thank You and Happy Holidays,

The Team of the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine

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Thank you for sharing the gift of play with families in need!

 

New Exhibit Now Open: the Be Well Center!

A visitor to our opening celebration examines slides using the video microscope!

A visitor to our opening celebration examines slides using the video microscope!

 

With the support of the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine just opened our newest exhibit: the Be Well Center! This new exhibit features an Ambearlance, real medical equipment such as stethoscopes and a video microscope (with slides of real cells!), and plenty of teddy bears to rescue and make better. Here you can pretend to be a doctor, nurse, or EMT (the people who drive the ambulance and get you to the hospital!). You can use real scales and stethoscopes to give a teddy bear a check-up, and then record the info you find on the bear’s very own medical chart!

Our own Chris Sullivan, who was in charge of making the Be Well Center, said that the Be Well Center is designed to encourage kids to explore, work together, and learn to be nice to people who are hurt, sick, or have to go to the doctor. Dr. Lorraine McElwain, Associate Chief of Pediatrics at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital said that the idea is  “…to engage children and their families in their own health and wellness, and maybe make a future visit to a hospital or doctor’s office less intimidating.” She’s also hoping that maybe some of the kids who play here will grow up to be real doctors and nurses!

 

 

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A group of visitors works together to take care of their patient.

Here kids can act out everything from a medical emergency to a regular doctor’s visit, learning about their own bodies and the jobs of medical professionals along the way. There’s all sorts of medical stuff you can play with, like an exam table, scale, a height chart, and a movie showing what’s really happening when you move parts of your body!

 

 

 

A young 'EMT' hangs up the phone after communicating with the Ambearlance.

A young ‘EMT’ hangs up the phone after communicating with the Ambearlance.

 

As a permanent part of Our Town (right next to the farm), the Be Well Center is included with regular entrance fees. Come join in the fun!

 

ABOUT OUR SPONSOR

Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center is a non-profit organization benefiting from generous community support. From routine check-ups and immunizations, to the treatment of life-threatening illnesses and injuries, Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive, family-centered healthcare for all of northern New England. With 109 beds, including 31 Level III NICU Beds and 20 Level II Continuing Care Nursery beds, it is Maine’s premier referral hospital, offering services not available elsewhere in the state.

 

 

The new exhibit.

The new exhibit.

 

 

Our Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Report Is Now Online!

The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine annual report for fiscal year 2015 is here. Thank you to all of our donors, business members, sponsors, members, volunteers, and visitors for making this one of our best years yet!

Click here to download a pdf copy from our website.

Thanks to All at Our 10th Annual Golf Tournament!

On Monday, September 21st we held our tenth annual golf tournament, and it was the best one yet! We had the generous support of 20 sponsors, 71 golfers, and more than 50 donors of auction, prize, and snack items. With their help, we raised over $17,000 to support the Museum & Theatre’s interactive exhibits, educational programming, theatre productions and general operations!

Hunter Panels has sponsored our golf tournament for 10 years!

Hunter Panels has sponsored our golf tournament for 10 years!

 

 

 

We’d like to give a special thank you to our Platinum Event Sponsor, Hunter Panels, who have sponsored our golf tournament every single year. Thanks again for all of your support!

 

 

 

 

The red-tailed hawk spotted during the tournament.

The red-tailed hawk spotted during the tournament.

 

 

 

The event was held over at Nonesuch River Golf Club in Scarborough, Maine, where the weather was perfect for a day on the course. Their beautiful facility is a great spot to get away, full of lovely views, and lots of wildlife. Some golfers were even lucky enough to spot a red-tailed hawk near Holes 4 and 5!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 10th Annual Golf Tournament winners!

The 10th Annual Golf Tournament winners!

The competition was fierce this year, with the winners decided by their tie-breaking performance on Hole 3. This year’s winners were:

1st Place: Drew Gilman, Mike Wilson, Chris Lynch, and Jeff Berman, the team from Cragmoor Capital.

2nd Place: Jim Whitton, Mark Pietras, Phil Kent, and Mark Murphy, one of the teams from Hunter Panels.

3rd Place: Bill Becker, Matt Stringer, and Todd Zukowski, the team from Key Bank. Congratulations to all our winners!

 

 

 

 

Matt Dana making the 30ft putt that qualified him as our sole finalist!

Matt Dana making the 30ft putt that qualified him as our sole finalist!

 

Matt Dana was the finalist in our putting contest, and Evan Lank was the winner of the closest-to-pin contest. Thanks again to all of our golfers! We hope to see you again at next year’s tournament.

 

 

 

 

For the full album of photos from this year’s event, please visit our facebook page.

“Locals Love” Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine

We were surprised, honored and delighted to receive recognition from the Green & Healthy Maine publication – published by the same folks who create the SunriseGuide – in their first annual “Locals Love” feature!

Green & Healthy Maine is an annual visitors guide and magazine that gives visitors to Maine a glimpse of the local, healthy, sustainable restaurants, businesses and other organizations our state has to offer. In addition to print versions available at hubs throughout the state, you can check out their digital edition through their website. It’s pretty cool!

“Locals Love” is a new feature, set to be an annual “best of” collection, voted on by the publication’s local readers based on their favorite green and healthy places throughout the State of Maine. We’re proud to be a part of the Greater Portland and Maine sustainable community.

Thanks to everyone who picked Children’s Museum &  Theatre of Maine as one of their favorites for “Locals Love!” You can check out all kinds of healthy programs and info throughout the Museum & Theatre all year round – please check out our blog and calendar for current offerings.

TD Bank Volunteers for United Way Day of Caring

Thank you to our sponsors TD Bank for sending over some of their local employees to help out as part of United Way’s Day of Caring. They were awesome, energetic, and extremely productive! Thank you for the extra hands, folks.

Auction 2014: Thank You!

With beautiful views of the harbor, Ocean Gateway once again provided a fantastic location for our annual Auction. The biggest single fundraising event of the year, our Auction has long been a Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine tradition, bringing together over 350 friends of the organization to support our exhibits, theatre productions, family in need admissions and educational programming.

With great thanks to Auction Chair Dawn Gerding and the Auction Committee, everyone worked hard to provide hundreds of items available for bid on Friday, May 2nd. The evening was divided into two parts: attendees began arriving at 6:00pm for our Silent Auction, many of whom stayed for the Live Auction which ran from 9:00-10:00pm and concluded the event. Categories of items and gift certificates in the Silent Auction included For Her, For Him, Restaurants & Gourmet Foods and Fine Art – most of the items from which came from generous local establishments and artisans. Several Scholarship Memberships were bought throughout the evening as well, allowing us to continue providing free memberships to local families in need, as we take great pride in being available as a resource to all families in Portland and beyond.

Black Tie Catering provided a fantastic spread and two cash bars for Auction-goers and The Cookie Jar – of Cape Elizabeth – generously donated desserts for the evening, enjoyed while the evening shifted from the Silent to the Live Auction. Staff and volunteers worked hard from 8:30 in the morning until midnight – many thanks to Whole Foods Market, Anthony’s Italian Kitchen and Portland House of Pizza for providing food for our hard-working volunteers!

Many thanks to our Auction sponsors, Pierce Atwood LLP, MEMIC, WEX, Spectrum Medical Group and Berlin City Motor Group for making the Auction a remarkable evening, and to our generous in-kind and cash donors Baker Newman Noyes, Burr Signs, Deb Deatrick & Scott Vile, Steve & Christine Kelly, Moonlighting Production Services, The Cookie Jar, Pine State Services, Skelton, Taintor & Abbott and Thomaston Place Auction Galleries for helping to make the Auction a great success.

We thank our Board for their unyielding support – it was wonderful to see our Board Members on Auction night; we were also pleased to see past sponsors and members of the Board who continue to support our organization and our mission as we continue to provide unparalleled services in early childhood, science, multicultural and arts education within our broad community.

With a beautiful, picturesque spring Maine evening as a background, staff, Board, volunteers, Auction committee and Auction-goers all came together for a highly enjoyable event. All in all, the Auction was a great success – thank you to all who attended and to all who continue to support us here at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine.

Show and Tell Gallery showcases biggest collection yet!

Louisa creates a sign for the fourth annual Show and Tell Gallery.

More than 40 artists ages 5 to 17 from as far away as Caribou and Limestone submitted work for the 2013 Show and Tell Gallery, a collection of work by youth on the autism spectrum. Each April since 2009, the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine has collected art work by young people with autism spectrum disorder and hangs the show for Autism Awareness Month. The show will be on display in the Museum & Theatre’s Stairwell Gallery through August 2013.

Artist Olivia Frankl created this remarkable reproduction of a Monet.

This year’s gallery includes more than 60 pieces, ranging from fanciful pipe cleaner dragons to striking photographs to a remarkably faithful replica of Monet’s The Boat at Giverny. Many students submitted work with encouragement from art teachers and special education professionals who recognized both their students’ talent and the value of an opportunity to share their creativity.

“Some children on the spectrum struggle with communication and may not speak to peers or

“Worry Not Dolls” by artist Kayla Campbell illustrates the creative use of mixed media you’ll see throughout the gallery.

teachers about their achievements,” says Louisa Donelson, the educator at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine who founded the gallery and responsible for its curation. “The Show and Tell Gallery gives them an opportunity to take pride in their work. Their teachers, families and even classmates come to see it. It helps the whole community recognize how much kids on the spectrum are capable of, and how many Maine families are affected by spectrum disorders.”

Support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine and Walmart funds both the Show and Tell Gallery and Play Our Way, a series of free,

Louisa (bottom center) accepts Maine Autism Alliance’s Step Up! for Autism Award on behalf of the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine.

private playtimes for children on the autism spectrum and their families. This funding also supports a series of small art workshops led by Donelson for youth on the autism spectrum. (Space is still available in spring workshops; interested families can email louisa@kitetails.org for information.)

Last Wednesday (April 3rd), the Maine Autism Alliance awarded the Museum & Theatre one of its first Step Up for Autism awards, recognizing the Show and Tell Gallery, Donelson’s art workshops, and the Play Our Way Playtimes as vital resources for Maine’s autism community.

Call to Action: Volunteer on January 4 to honor children everywhere

In the wake of the a tragedy like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary, we all feel a little helpless. We want to do something, but there isn’t anything that can erase what happened or even ease the pain of those who are suffering. Yet we want to find some way to make things better in any way we can.

At least that’s how we at the Museum & Theatre have been feeling over the past few weeks. We wanted to bring some joy to our community – especially to its children. What we came up with is Joyful Children’s Day, which we’ll hold on Friday, January 4th from 10am-8pm. We’ll be offering free admission, and to make the day special, we want to fill the Museum & Theatre with music, art, stories, crafts, games and other wonderful activities. That’s where you come in.

We need your help. We need volunteers to come in for half an hour or more on January 4th to help make the day magical for the families who visit. You can share a special talent or just share a little of your time to perform, present, read or guide any of the activities listed below (or anything you can come up with on your own!). We’re also seeking donations of food, cash or art supplies to use that day and evening.

To volunteer, or to learn more about how you can help, contact Louisa Donelson at 207-828-1234 x227 or louisa@kitetails.org no later than Monday, December 31st.

Thank you in advance for helping us lift the spirits of Greater Portland families and celebrating children everywhere.

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Possible volunteer activities:

  • Read a story
  • Facilitate a simple craft or art project
  • Play or sing some music or share your instrument
  • Perform a monologue, a skit or a puppet show
  • Do a science experiment
  • Read poetry
  • Demonstrate or teach a dance
  • Paint faces
  • Play a game – dominoes, bingo or even thumb wars
  • Teach your language
  • Make play dough
  • Anything else you think might make for a fun 15-45 minute family activity

You won’t be alone! A Museum & Theatre staff member will be present at all times to participate, help out and answer visitor questions. If you’re not sure what you want to do, but you know you want to help, we want to hear from you!

To volunteer, please contact Louisa Donelson no later than Monday, December 31st.

Thank You, Reba!

 
 
Beauty and the Beast dancing

Emma as Bella and Gabe Walker as the prince in Beauty and the Beast.

Emma Cooper is an actor who first appeared on the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine stage last fall as Bella in Beauty and the Beast. In the past year, she’s spent countless hours here rehearsing and performing with friends and peers under the guidance of our Theatre Artistic Director, Reba Short. Emma wrote this essay for a school assignment this spring and shared it with Reba and the actors in the Youth Voices on Stage project (learn more about it here or here). Reba was very moved and shared it with me, and I wanted to share it with you – Emma writes so eloquently of the very special experience our actors have here. If you or someone you know would like to have an experience like Emma’s, we have an audition workshop this week and auditions for Little Red Riding Hood next Wednesday, June 8.

Emma writes:

When you’re a child magic is everywhere. Things become what they aren’t. A boulder becomes a fortress for a fairy army, a bumble bee a fairy prince’s noble steed. Mermaids frolic in the frothy waves at the beach and terrible monsters lurk in woods. Anything is possible. You can fly, become invisible and even become a cat. It all happens. Then, a strange phenomenon called “growing up” occurs. 

Boulders begin to look like really big rocks. Bumble bees become foul pests who sting. The waves don’t seem that imposing and the mermaids are really just loose pieces of seaweed. Flying, it happens, but it’s expensive. Where does all the magic go? We become cynical and hardened. We don’t stop to smell the flowers and to marvel at the beautiful world we live in. Everything has to be fast, grown-up, scientific and chic. 

Reba with Rabbit cast

Reba (standing, left) with members of the cast of The Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings.

I get tired of this. This fast moving society we live in. I want to stop and smell the flowers, to marvel at a rock, see the good in a bumble bee! But it’s hard to unravel yourself. To get off of Faceook and sit outside, to stop thinking about your future and be awed by the present. 

I’ve found someone who helps me do this, a grown-up none the less. Her name is Reba Short and she is the director of the Children’s Theater of Maine. When I heard about acting in your shows, I was thrilled. It’s hard to find theaters that do straight shows, non-musicals, for teens in Maine. I remember thinking “I’m so excited; this will look great on college applications! And, I’m getting experience for an acting career!” That IS true and it’s one of the perks of the theater. But when I participated in my first show, Beauty and the Beast, I realized that that wasn’t what I valued the most. I began to marvel again. That childlike wonder came back. I found myself questioning if an angsty prince-turned-Beast really DID live in the woods. Were those mermaids I saw smiling at me? Wait, are those troll tracks?! Smell these flowers! That was the most rewarding thing you could have ever given me Reba.

I remember one time in Beauty and the Beast. Gabe was having a hard time doing the characterization during a scene. You decided that we had to sing our lines out to each other. The combination was one of Phantom of the Opera meets Beauty and the Beast meets a couple of bad singers. It was one of the most outrageous things I’ve ever done and I thank you for it!

Emma in a Youth Voices Onstage workshop at East End Community School

Emma at East End Community School leading a group discussion as part of the Youth Voices Onstage project.

In the Youth Voices project that we’ve been doing it’s such a pleasure to work with you. I know that you’ve taught us all to question our actions. When we go into schools the little kids adore you. They hang on to your every word, mesmerized. I know you’re probably going to say that you’re the one that is supposed to be thanking us, because we’re really the people who do the acting. You’re wrong. Without you this project would have not been possible. You’ve not only helped these little kids to do acts of kindness, you’ve helped us. You’ve made it so that we could all heal from wounds that were inflicted upon us by mean things people have done or said. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that working with you on this has been such a pleasure and honor.

We are so blessed to have you in our lives. You’ve taught us to see the fortress in a boulder, the smiling mermaids in the waves, to stop and smell the flowers. To cherish life and everything in it. To slow down and be awed. To find magic in the world. And most important of all to imagine and hope.