I’m Ryan. Be one of my campers!

Ryan and a camper conducting a (very messy!) science experiement.About Ryan:

BS Wildlife Science, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) (Syracuse, NY)
MPS Natural Resource and Recreation Management, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) (Syracuse, NY)
From the time he was a young boy in his native state of New York (the upstate part!), Ryan has been captivated by the outdoors and all things science. Ryan has a variety of experience working with youth in science-related programs as a volunteer educator for the NYS Parks Department and as a science educator with his college. He sees science education as a way to engage youth in their natural surroundings and aims to make science something fun and enjoyable.

Here’s what Ryan has to say about his 2013 summer camps:

• Young Inventors (7/22-7/26) •

As a child, one of my favorite activities was to play with my Lego sets. I relished the excitement of building giant castles with secret folding trap doors and collapsing draw bridges. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was engineering: using my imagination and creativity to build something from nothing. The opening of the Child Inventor Service exhibit is a testament to the Museum’s mission to incorporate science, technology, engineering and math (known as STEM) into early childhood learning. This inspired me to create Young Inventors Camp, all about building, designing, and of course, inventing. I’m really looking forward to inspiring curiosity and creativity in the campers and watching what they will build with it. On the last day of camp, we’ll test our engineering skills in a special Egg Mobile Crash Test Derby. Everyone is invited to watch and cheer on the Young Inventors!

• Dinos Rock! (8/12-8/16) •

No childhood is complete without some infatuation with the giant reptilian creatures of long ago. Their size, diversity, and mystique make dinosaurs a great topic for a summer camp. In Dinos Rock! camp, we will be exploring other ancient animals like mastodons, giant ground sloths and even a cheetah that roamed the Great Plains of North America. The museum has many real fossils and replicas that we will examine for a hands-on experience. We’ll make our own fossil casts and become paleontologists as we venture on an exciting dig in the backyard.

Talk to Ryan:

Curious about Ryan’s camps? Contact Ryan at 828-1234 x229 or email him at ryan@kitetails.org.

Ready to register? You can do it online here or call Shana at 828-1234 x232.

New Exhibit: Child Inventor Service

There goes Sandy! She's an unstoppable inventor and the star of our new exhibit.

We’re in the home stretch of exhibit construction for Child Inventor Service, an exhibit that explores engineering through the eyes of Sandy, a young problem-solver, and her clubhouse full of exhibits and inventions. This is our first all-new, permanent exhibit since we opened We Are Maine in 2006, and we couldn’t be more proud! All of our staff – educators, exhibits and operations team members, development, marketing and administration – has been part of making this exhibit happen. The volunteers and philanthropy committee from Fairchild Semiconductor have been enthusiastic partners throughout many months of exhibit development, and they were essential to making the exhibit content accurate, authentic and fun. YOU have been a part of it, too! We’ve learned a lot from your feedback as members and visitors, from observing how you and your family engage with exhibits, and we’ve even prototyped components of this exhibit and brought them out onto the floors to get your input.

Thanks for your patience as that corner of Our Town has been under construction for the past few weeks. The exhibit will open to the public this Friday, June 15. (If you’re a member, you’re invited to attend a special exhibit opening party on Thursday evening, June 14 – email lucy@kitetails.org for details.)

For more info about the exhibit, I’ve pasted our press release below. And of course, to really understand what the exhibit’s all about, I hope you’ll come in and see it for yourself!

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Portland, MaineThe Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine will open Child Inventor Service, its first all-new, permanent exhibit since 2006. Resembling a child’s fantasy clubhouse crossed with a scientist’s laboratory, the exhibit invites children to use robotics, circuitry and other technology to devise creative solutions to problems in Our Town, the Museum’s child-size city.

The exhibit opening is the culmination of a fifteen-month collaboration with a team of volunteers (many engineers) from Fairchild Semiconductor, the exhibit sponsor and a key advisor. Fairchild is committed to supporting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) literacy among Maine’s K-12 students. The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine creates hands-on exhibits that inspire discovery and imagination through exploration and play. This unique partnership, in which the sponsor provided financial support and staff expertise, proved vital to determining the exhibit’s direction and purpose.

“The engineers told us that they have trouble explaining their jobs to their own children,” says Suzanne Olson, the Museum & Theatre’s Executive Director. “That inspired us. We got excited about combining our expertise with theirs to create a place where engineering is not only comprehensible, but fun.”

The Museum & Theatre and Fairchild want the exhibit to inspire a lifelong interest in science and technology, making a long-term impact on Maine’s students, and ultimately, its workforce.

“I think the kids of today are picking up technology really fast,” says Jim Siulinksi, an Applications and Systems Engineer and member of the exhibit development committee. “If we can help them learn how these technologies work, they’ll want to learn more. This is key to developing the next generation of engineers and technology workers. It will give them the power to shape their own futures.”

The exhibit stars Sandy, a child inventor who uses technology to solve problems for her Our Town neighbors. A private opening for Museum members and Fairchild staff and their families will be held on the evening of Thursday, June 14. The exhibit opens to the public during regular Museum hours on Friday, June 15.