Thank You to United Way Day of Caring Volunteers!


Day of Caring is an annual day of service sponsored by the United Way of Greater Portland. The day kicks-off with a short program in the Back Cove. Following the festivities, more than 1,000 volunteers from local businesses and schools will spend the day working at nearly 70 projects including painting, trail clearing, gardening and organizing. Greater Portland literally sparkles at the end of the day!

Today, volunteers from TD Bank and LL Bean are here to lend a hand and help with several projects inside and out at our Museum & Theatre. Thank you to LL Bean, TD Bank, and United Way of Greater Portland for organizing and working toward a beautifully cared-for Portland!

Call for Props and Costumes for Alice In Wonderland

Hi Everyone!

Here’s a list of the props and costume pieces we are seeking for our upcoming production of Alice in Wonderland. The list is pretty long – please look closely!

If any of our friends or members have any of the items on this list, and are willing to let us borrow / have, please bring items to the Museum by this Saturday, October 4th. This will help us figure out where our inventory is at, and what we might need to purchase.

If you need to have your loaned item back, make sure it comes to the Museum properly labeled with your name and phone number.



  • An old looking philosophy textbook
  • 2 pocket watches
  • A globe
  • A lamp (something old fashioned looking but battery powered would be perfect)
  • A light weight table
  • A plastic bottle that looks fancy and like glass
  • A small key and a big key that look the same
  • Some big sea sponges
  • 2 fancy scrolls
  • A big pepper grinder
  • fake mushrooms
  • a fake potato
  • a horseshoe
  • a big salt shaker
  • a fake egg
  • a fake lime
  • a rubber spatula
  • a fake pumpkin
  • a shoelace
  • a GIANT spoon
  • a baby blanket

We need the following for Tea Party (metal or plastic cups are perfect. We don’t want glass?)

  • 6  tea cups
  • 8 saucers
  • 1  HUGE  tea pot
  •  Fake bread and butter
  • 23 tiny spoons
  • 12  sugar cubes
  • 3 cans paint cans that look like they have red paint in them. I want them to be open, but dry inside.
  • 3 tiny paint brushes with red paint on the tips
  • croquet equipment:
  • 5 free standing wickets
  • 5 plastic flamingos
  • 5 large brown pomp oms
  • one flamingo puppet
  • a kazoo
  • MANY decks of cards

White Cane Walk Grand Marshals: Senator King and our own Renaldo Rodriguez!

Senator Angus King and Renaldo Rodriguez chat about Maine’s White Cane Law while puppeteer Bridget Fehrs looks on.
Senator Angus King and Renaldo Rodriguez chat about Maine’s White Cane Law while puppeteer Bridget Fehrs looks on.

Independence is the word! Renaldo Rodriguez and Senator Angus King have accepted invitations to be the Marshals of the 18th annual Iris Network White Cane Walk for Independence on Saturday, October 19th. The white cane is a mobility tool for individuals who are visually impaired or blind and October is White Cane Safety month. It symbolizes independence, something both Renaldo and Senator King believe in.

Who is Renaldo Rodriguez? The White Cane Walk’s Grand Marshal, Renaldo is a member of the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine’s Kids on the Block® puppet troupe, a disability-awareness program. Theatre Artistic Director Reba Short notes, “KOTB teaches children about disabilities and to accept them.  Renaldo is an 11 year old boy who uses a white cane. He teaches kids about visual impairment and blindness. We are delighted that Renaldo will be leading the Walk this year!”

Senator King signed the White Cane Bill into law in 1999 when he was then Governor of the State of Maine. Maine’s White Cane Law ensures that people who are visually impaired or blind and who use a white cane or dog guide have the same right as sighted pedestrians to travel safely on foot. The Law notes that traffic should yield, as always to pedestrians in the cross-walk. Drivers should not shout or gesture at individuals using a white cane or a dog guide.

The White Cane Walk for Independence is held every October to coincide with White Cane Safety month. It starts and ends at Monument Square in Portland. It is a cheerful 1.2 mile stroll through the Old Port and the proceeds raised provide training, education and support for people with vision loss or blindness throughout the State of Maine.

About The Iris Network

The Iris Network is a state-wide, community-based private nonprofit with a vision of building a world where no person is limited by visual impairment or blindness and everyone is an advocate for eye health and the needs of people who are visually impaired or blind.  Based in Portland, The Iris Network has field-offices in Saco, Lewiston, Bangor, Houlton, Augusta and Rockland.   For more information about any vision loss related issue, visit The Iris Network at

Inspired by pal and puppet, Bridget created Visual Impairment Awareness Day

Bridget (second from right, with Reynaldo) and her fellow Kids on the Block puppeteers.

Bridget Fehrs, an 8th grader at Lincoln Middle School, has been a puppeteer with Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine’s Kids on the Block puppet troupe for nearly three years. (If you come to our theatre productions, you’ve probably seen her on stage there, too – she’s been acting with us for years, and just appeared as Country Mouse in our latest show.) The Kids on the Block puppets each live with a different disability or special need, and the young puppeteers who bring them to life are responsible for learning all about each puppet’s disability and being able to answer questions from the audience. Bridget is one of several puppeteers who got to know Reynaldo, a puppet who is visually impaired; she learned how to operate the puppet’s cane and answered dozens of questions from children curious about blindness.

Actors/volunteers Hannah and Jane received a sighted guide training from The Iris Network.

Inspired both by Reynaldo and by a friend who is blind, Bridget approached us with a thoughtful proposal for a Visual Impairment Awareness Day, an event to help kids “better understand what children who are blind encounter in their day to day activities.” To organize the event, Bridget and I worked in collaboration with The Iris Network, a Maine non-profit serving the visually impaired. With financial support from Unum (a longtime sponsor of the Kids on the Block puppet troupe), the event will take place on Saturday, April 27th here at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine.

Events will include Sighted Guide Tours, during which visitors can put on blindfolds and be guided by Kids on the Block puppeteers (trained by The Iris Network), a Braille scavenger hunt, and a Q&A with Cammy, who works for The Iris Network assisting the visually impaired.

Events will take place from 11am-4pm. Get all the details on our calendar of events. All the Visual Impairment Awareness events are free with admission!

Free admission + tons of events = Joyful Children’s Day (Friday, January 4)

On Friday, January 4, we’re celebrating children everywhere with a FREE admission day and evening (10am-8pm).

To celebrate children and bring joy to the community, we’re filling the Museum & Theatre music, art, stories and more, all free and open to the public. Events begin at 10am and continue through First Friday evening. Scheduled events include dance time with Portland Music & Dance Academy, a yoga and movement workshop with Robyn Wiley, a poetry slam with Tina Smith, pizza-making with UNO South Portland and a visit with animals from the Animal Refuge League.

For more information about the day’s activities, visit our Calendar of Events. We’ll be updating throughout the week as we confirm more guests!

Why this event? Why now?

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the staff of the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine wanted to bring joy to children, families and the community. We created Joyful Children’s Day to honor of the children of Sandy Hook and the joyful hearts of children everywhere. We reached out to members and friends to help us fill the Museum & Theatre with activities that will bring smiles to the children and families of Greater Portland. Dozens have enthusiastically responded, and the day promises to be fulfilling for visitors and volunteers alike.

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 no later than Monday, December 31st.

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


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.

Looking to the Future

Stacy Normand is a Cultural Programs intern at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine. She is blogging about the Youth Imagine Project. Read her previous posts here.

This week during the Youth Imagine Project, a few students picked dates for their projects or for personal meetings to discuss their projects further. We also focused some more attention on job applications, and a few of our students even applied for the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine’s Youth Ranger position! As our students begin preparing for summer, many of them have more and more questions regarding college as many of them will start the college application process when they return to school in the fall. To help our Youth Imagine volunteers, we have reached out to our friends at the University of New England, who will be sending an admissions official to discuss the application process with our students. More updates on that later!

This week, Jamie and I are also starting work on making the Youth Imagine Project a sustainable program. Thus, these next few weeks are going to dedicated to creating policies and procedures for future Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine staff. It’s a great time for Jamie and I to sit down and think about what worked about the Youth Imagine Project, and what still needs to be changed a little bit. We’ll be covering everything from recruiting and applications to the actual workshops volunteers participated in. We can’t wait to go over every detail!

Big Plans Ahead!

Stacy Normand is a Cultural Programs intern at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine. She is blogging about the Youth Imagine Project. Read her previous posts here.

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks! It’s SAT weekend for high school juniors (good luck to all you wonderful high schoolers who are taking them!) and it’s finals week at USM. Needless to say, both the Youth Imagine volunteers and I have been extremely busy!  Despite our hectic schedules, we had a successful meeting at Portland High School this week. Here are some things are wonderful Youth Imagine volunteers are doing:

  • Elfriede is about to start work on her painting. It will detail all of the different vegetables and fruits in our greenhouse. Isn’t that awesome?
  • Munira and Hindia are going to work together to do a theatre/storytime program about bullying and culture – more updates later on!
  • Samia is going to help out with some tea programs that we have at the Museum. She knows how to make Sudanese and Egyptian tea. Make sure to come in this summer when she is doing these tasty programs!
  • Alias is going to help in the putting together of our new greenhouse.
  • Suzan wants to do a language program about Arabic. We are thinking she might write a visitor’s name on a piece of paper for them in Arabic, which they can then decorate.

This last week the Youth Imagine volunteers have been participating in a professional development workshop about job applications and resumes. It’s the time of the year when high school students are looking for part-time and summer employment. Do you remember what it was like to get your first job? Wasn’t it exciting? Sometimes the process of finding a good job in high school can be confusing. How can you tell what an employer is looking for? How can you market yourself when you don’t have any job experience? These are some questions we tried to answer on Tuesday.  We cruised around some online job listings, and discussed what types of jobs were appropriate for high school students, and what types of companies hire seasonal employment. Next week, we will be focusing on resume writing. Some of our kids have already gotten a head start on their resumes, which is awesome! We hope that these types of workshops will help our kids enter the job market. It’s a tough thing to get started in for a lot of high school students! 

I also hope that next week we can start picking dates for our students to come in and do their programs with our visitors, or work on the projects that will be displayed in the Museum. I can’t wait to see how all of their projects turn out!

Lesson Plans

Stacy Normand is a Cultural Programs intern at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine. She is blogging about the Youth Imagine Project. Read her previous posts here.

An aspect of the Youth Imagine Project is giving students professional skills that will help them achieve success, no matter what path they may choose to take in life. This Tuesday, Rahma and I drafted a rough draft of a lesson plan for her Where Does Your Food Come From? program. A lesson plan details the objective of your program, the materials needed and the script for the program that tells the reader things that they can say and do with the visitors. Basically, a lesson plan is a description of your project that can be used by others who want to do your program themselves.

Lesson plans are usually used by educators, and some of the things you learn by writing one, such as the format and content needed, are specific to the task.  However, some of the skills that come with learning how to write one can be used in almost any discipline. Writing a lesson plan means learning how to write clearly and concisely, which is valued in any discipline that requires communication.  Writing clearly is one of those things that appear easy, but once you start doing it you learn it is harder than it sounds. Clear writing includes correct spelling, grammar, and appropriate vocabulary. Can you think of a time someone didn’t communicate clearly? Wasn’t it confusing?

Next week, Rahma and I will work together to edit her lesson plan so that it is as clear as possible. In general, writing is a process, and creating a lesson plan is no different. Check in next week for more exciting updates!

Starting Projects

Stacy Normand is a Cultural Programs intern at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine. She is blogging about the Youth Imagine Project. Read her previous posts here.

Getting our hands dirty!
Rahma and I get our hands dirty preparing soil blocks.

It seems like everywhere we look, someone new wants to help with our new greenhouse! Alias, one of our Youth Imagine volunteers, has decided that he wants to help with the construction of the greenhouse – from helping plant the seedlings to constructing the raised beds that they will be planted in. On Tuesday, Alias, Rahma, Jamie and I made soil blocks to plant the seeds in. These small soil blocks will be placed in larger ones once they have grown a bit, and then will eventually be moved into the greenhouse. We are just waiting until it gets a little bit warmer! We had a lot of fun getting our hands dirty!

Last Wednesday, Rahma was able to do her education program with our visitors! She taught them about the different parts of a plant. She used a carrot and a strawberry as examples, and while she was teaching them, the kids got to snack on baby carrots! Yum! Rahma was very excited about how well her program went, and remarked that all of the kids were so smart! Both Rahma and Alias have stated that they would like to continue volunteering with us after their Youth Imagine Project term is over. We are very excited to add them to our list of volunteers! Stay tuned for more news next week!