The Museum & Theatre is always filled with children under five learning and discovering through our exhibits and activities. It is exciting to see the power of play grow stronger as research progresses! In this New York Times article, Benedict Carey explores new research in the development of children before the age of 5. For the better part of the last century, educators believed,
that children could not learn math at all before the age of five, that their brains simply were not ready.
Anyone who has visited us in the last week can tell that something BIG is coming to our Big Gallery! The Dinotracks! exhibit is officially extinct, and the Exhibits team has been working behind the scenes for months to prepare our next original exhibit, What About Whales?
This week, that work has moved from the design shop to the first floor as this exhibit takes shape. Dozens of games, signs, props, electronics and other components are being installed. Take a peek at a few photos of the exhibit in progress, and see if you can guess which piece is which! See the comments for answers.
1. Vertebrae from a whale’s back 2. Baleen from a real whale
3. Dock for whale watching 4. Build-a-Whale game
Our members will be the first to explore the whole exhibit at a private opening event on Thursday evening (reason #548 to become a member!). What About Whales? will open to the public on Friday, January 22nd at 10am.
I am very excited to welcome Hannah Wilhelm as the newest member of the education staff! Hannah graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2005 with a degree in chemistry. During college, Hannah worked as an assistant laboratory coordinator in a physics lab, tutored peers in chemistry, and served as an intern at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Since graduating, Hannah has worked at a variety of environmental education centers in PA and ME. Last year she was a Maine Conservation Corps Environmental Educator working with the Department of Environmental Protection. Hannah has a kind heart, a keen intellect and a passion for sharing her love of science with children and families. She joins a talented and committed group of colleagues. I’m confident that our Museum & Theatre members and visitors will be as excited about working with her as I am!
‘Sizzle….bubble….and pop’ were popular sounds and actions as our junior scientists met for a silly and slimy summer camp last week at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine. We made varieties of slimes from household materials. We turned liquids and solids into each other and experimented with gasses.We even turned our hands into paws and had relay races to study animal adaptations. Our mini explosions are over and our ‘science lab’ is now slime free, but the Silly Science campers now have some neat (and gooey) knowledge to hold on to.
From paper mache caterpillars inspired by Eric Carle, to Pop-Art portraits based on Andy Warhol, ten campers explored a range of materials and techniques during Creative Kids Camp in June. We looked at art from across the ages starting with ancient cave drawings. To truly understand the meanings of these images and symbols we turned our art studio into a cave adorned with dino fossils and dirt. We then mixed our own batch of paint from natural pigments and painted with our hands. We concluded the week as professional artists with an invitation only gallery opening in our Camera Obscura room. The walls were covered with inspired masterpieces, kids and adults alike.
Caps for Sale! Fifty cents a cap! Everyone knows the classic favorite by Esphyr Slobdkina and today we spent the morning making our own paper hats to wear on this hot summer day. Did you know that Caps for Sale was first published in 1940? Many parents remembered reading this book as children themselves, and everyone gathered around to hear it read aloud. This was part of the Portland Downtown series, and took place most Wednesdays in July. Check out the fun!
The rainy month of June might have been soggy, but it made for a perfect week of Fairy Camp at CMTM! Our Birthday Room was transformed into the Fairy Room, complete with a Toadstool Village, filled with homemade Fairy Houses. Our ten little fairies were quite creative over the course of the week, making everything from Fairy Wands to Fairy Stones to Fairy Boats. We had a very creative bunch of fairies, and each day we had Fairy Story Time, where each fairy took a turn making up a sentence in our story. The following is one of the stories from the week:
Once upon a time, there was a little fairy in the snow. She was lost. She flew onto a white flower. Suddenly a frog came and told her the way. And he could jump really high. He ate a fly right in front of that fairy! The fairy flew home. She brushed her teeth and went to bed. She had a really great dream! In her dream she met another fairy. The fairy was going to the grocery store. The fairy bought a really big clock! Suddenly her dream turned into a ball and she became in Neverland! She met Peter Pan and Tinkerbell! They decided to throw a party with lots of cupcakes and ice cream. Then they danced Fairy Dances. They also ate pizza because it was Tinkerbell’s birthday – she turned four and got four presents. She got a game, a scooter, a teddy bear and pixie dust. When the fairies went to bed, they had a treat. They talked about what a great day it was. Then they went to bed. She went to bed at Peter Pan’s house and then a ball came and she came back to her own house and her dream came back. And then she woke up and wrote a story about her dream. The End!
…As you can see, our fairies had quite the imaginations! We even turned some of our stories into Fairy Plays. We finished up the week with a Fairy Tea Party and a Fairy Parade throughout the Museum. All in all, it was a successful, fairy-filled week!
Come see our fourth Environmental Exhibit Collaborative (EEC) exhibit! Study the fossil footprints of the dinosaurs who once roamed New England and Eastern Canada in the early Jurassic. Learn about the methods scientists use to study and interpret tracks, including how modern birds help scientists to understand the behavior of ancient dinosaurs. The exhibit is tri-lingual, featuring English, Spanish, and French and was developed with the assistance of the staff of Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT.