Funday Sunday – Other Cultures

Funday Sunday returns for 2012. Except where noted, these popular family-friendly programs are offered in two sessions, beginning at 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm. Funday Sunday is included with the price of admission. The programs are appropriate for children of all ages, with adult help for children under age 5.

Central America – January 29
The Great Lakes Children’s Museum is teaming up with the International Student Club at Northwestern Michigan College to bring you and your children a cross-cultural exploration. Students from the Club will come to the Museum to share their Central American culture and heritage with us. There will be a special reading of Conejito, an English-language Panamanian folktale and special activity to accompany it, as well as Spanish language games.

New Orleans – Mardi Gras – February 12
The Great Lakes Children’s Museum continues its cross cultural exploration with an age-appropriate Mardi Gras experience. Karen McCarthy, French teacher from the Pathfinder School will lead songs and talk about some the heritage of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. We’ll have a pretend parade in the Museum with beads and doubloons. Children and families will be able to make a fancy mask—Mardi Gras style.

Ireland – St Patrick’s Day – March 11
Explore Irish culture and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as a family with music, stories and fun. Sing some traditional Irish songs. Learn about the adventures of gentle giant, Finn McCool (Fionn mac Cumhaill). Make a leprechaun shamrock to wear on St. Patrick’s Day. Decorate a potato to create a homemade Mr. Potato Head.

Turkmenistan – March 18
The NMC International Club will present another Funday Sunday at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum. Nargilya Gasanova, from Turkmenistan, will read a story, and share the culture and experiences of her homeland. Nargilya came to Frankfort as a high school exchange student and chose to return to northern Michigan for college.
This program will be offered in only one session at 3:00.

More to come…

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Holiday Happenings

Over the Christmas break we will be offering all kinds of special programs for school-age and preschool children alike. Unique activities will be offered from 11 am to 3 pm each weekday.

Countdown to Noon 2010

A perennial favorite is our Countdown to Noon on December 31 (more details below). To give everyone time to finish their projects, this activity starts right at 10 am, when we open. We spend two hours decorating the ball, filling the time capsule, and making hats and noisemakers. At noon we drop the freshly decorated ball and balloons from the ceiling to great fanfare and cacophony. Join us for the family-friendly celebration of the New Year.

Feed The Birds, Monday, December 26
Bring the birds up close to your window by making them treats to eat. We will be using oranges, seed, ice cream cones, cereal, peanut butter, dried fruit, and more. Yum tweet yum!

Snow Fun, Tuesday, December 27
Have some fun experimenting with and learning about snow and ice. Make and take a snow-”flakey” craft or two.

Tell Me A Story, Wednesday, December 28
A story will be read every hour on the hour, followed by an activity to go with it. Special showing and telling of Katy and The Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton at 11 am and 2 pm.

Michigan Mitten Day, Thursday, December 29
M is for mitten! Come and learn about our great state with a mitten scavenger hunt in the museum and “mitts”-on activities in the Great Lakes Room. Bring a pair of new mittens or gloves and we will donate them to Boots for Kids.

Snow Fun, Friday, December 30
Have some fun experimenting with and learning about snow and ice. Make and take a snow-”‘flakey” craft or two.

Countdown To Noon, Saturday, December 31
It’s midnight somewhere! Ring in 2012 at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum! Come anytime after 10 am to decorate the big ball and make noise makers and party hats. The countdown and ball drop will be at noon. That’s a whole 12 hrs before Time Square! Craft activities and time capsule making continue until 3 pm. To see more photos of our 2010 Countdown to Noon, visit our Flickr page.

Get Crafty! Monday, January 2
Are you just itching to make something? We will set out an extravaganza of craft supplies for you to experiment with. Everything from craft sticks to pipe cleaners! We will provide a creative assortment of scraps and really cool stuff for you to use to express your creativity.

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Whew! What a day!

That was the reaction at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, July 15 after closing.  The Museum was busy as is usually the case on a rainy, cold, summer day.  But, for whatever reason, yesterday busy turned into “extremely busy.”  A record setting 804 guests visited smashing the last record of 724 guests set back on July 2 of this year.

Here are a few snapshots of the activity level.  As you can see, it was a “hopping” place all day.

Kids at Water Station - Busy Day Close up Kids at Water Station - wide shot - busy day Kids in Freighter - busy day Kids in Puppet Theater - Busy Day Kids in Whats in the Bay - Busy Day

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Bubbles, Sand Art and Rockets… Oh My!

We’re OFF to see the wizard????   No wait!

We were NOT off – but there was “magic” in the air as kids from 2 to 100 enjoyed three activities provided especially for the Cherrytown Fun Fest Wednesday, July 9 at F&M park in Traverse City.

There was truly something for just about everyone.  Creative types enjoyed the sand art.  Energetic engineers enjoyed designing and testing their stomp rockets.  And curious types enjoyed exploring the new bubble curtain.

Cherry Town - Stomp Takeoff

Anne Drake (Museum Program Facilitator) gives the final countdown instructions to Dad & Daughter as they prepare to launch their stomp rocket collaboration.

Cherrytown Fun - Sand Art

It takes INTENSE concentration to create the “perfect” sand art!   Are you a “mixer”, a “stacker”, a “poker” or… perhaps a combination of ALL of those sand artist types???

Cherrytown Fun - Blowing Bubble

Blowing Bubbles is fun but it’s even MORE fun when the bubble is 3 feet by 3 feet!  The night saw a couple Bubble Whisperers – (in other words they managed to coax a full sheet bubble and then hold it for several seconds in SPITE of the wind). There were also Bubble Busters (basically folks who just enjoy POPPING bubbles) and Bubble Magicians (the folks who like to put their hand THROUGH the bubble without popping it).  Which type do you think YOU would be?

Cherrytown Fun - Kohls Volunteers

We managed to get a pic of four of the five FANTASTIC Kohl’s volunteers who helped make the magic happen! 

Thank you to all the Museum volunteers, board members, staff and the volunteer crew from Kohl’s for making the evening possible and FUN!  See you again NEXT year!

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Stuffy 1 Mad Science Mondays are in back and in full swing for the summer.  Every Monday from 1 to 3 pm through August 18 the Museum will offer kids and their adults a chance to explore science in a wacky way. Today was the kick off with What’s Inside?  Museum educator Anne Drake ran two sessions exploring Stuffy and then working on a craft with the participants.  Each week there’s something new planned. Next week we’ll be exploring (or is it ex-PLOD-ing) bubbles!!!! Mad Science is included with admission. For more information, drop by, check the Programs tab, or call the museum 231 932 4526.

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Building Bridges … One Step At A Time

For those who have visited the Museum this week, you may have noticed a small change.  Where the Weather Exhibit was, there are a number of black “walls”.

What’s behind the wall?   We are now in the process of adding indoor portion of Building Bridges.  The initial shelving was installed this week.  Volunteer artist Hesper Smyth will start working on a mural early in July.  In the mean time, we’re scurrying to find a volunteer(s) to help with putting the finishing touches on the “star” of the exhibit – the actual bridge mechanism.  Once all is painted and finished, we’ll open up the new exhibit which will allow visitors to explore bridge building going from a kid level all the way to the science concepts involved.

Pictured are candid shots of Larry from Paul Mauer Construction and Brian Mauer as they launched the first step of getting the new exhibit installation going.  Thanks Larry and Brian for the great work.

Bridges 1Bridges 2

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“Guardians” Gets a Green Light

Pictured: Don Schmuckal presents Mike Long with a check for $15,000.00 to be used to transform the Guardians of the Great Lakes project from a design to reality.

Schmuckal Check Pic

Like any exhibit, it started with a simple idea.  Traverse City is designated a Coast Guard city.  Since Children’s Museums provide warm and welcoming environments for children and adults to discover the world around them, it made sense to pursue an exhibit about the Coast Guard and their role on the Great Lakes.

Grant applications were written and submitted and over time the dollars have come in to support the project.  With the Art and Mary Schmuckal Family Foundation’s grant of an additional $15,000.00, the project is one step closer to fruition.

Guardians will cost over $100,000 to produce.  It is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2015 (with definite date to be published as the project unfolds).


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What Did I Miss???

There is a fine line between creativity and chaos.  If you missed the member night on June 6, you missed out on a little of both.

Members had a chance to try out our new Squirt-A-Shirt activity.  What’s Squirt-A-Shirt???  Simply put – take a squirt gun, fill it with acrylic paint that’s been specially prepared, hang a t-shirt on a hanger and fire away.  Voila – you have a custom work of wearable art.  Along with the memory of doing something you’d never dream of doing at home you have something that will bring BACK that memory – that customized t-shirt.

Browse the photos to “feel the fun.”    Then make the mental note to join in on the fun in the future.  Keep your eyes posted.  We’re all head down with the business of summer business – but we’ll look forward to seeing everyone in the Fall at our next Great Lakes Children’s Museum Member Night.

and childmom and child squirting tshirtsMom and daughter squirting tshirtTshirts drying in the sun

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Thank you for your Gala Support!

Thank  you to everyone (sponsors, attendees, donors and volunteers) who made this year’s Gala a success.  The event, hosted by The Inn at Black Star Farms, came very close to raising our goal of $40,000.

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GLCM Changes

After a nationwide search, the Great Lakes Children’s Museum Board of Trustees has hired a new executive director.  Michael (or Mike) Long started work on May 8 and has been busy getting to know the area and meeting anyone interested in talking about the Museum, about kids, about hands-on learning, and about life in Traverse City.

Mike is a Colorado native and brings expertise in creating “metropolitan quality” experiences in rural museums, having mentored 5 startup museums in Wisconsin between 2000 and 2008.  As the executive director of a startup children’s museum in Eagle River Wisconsin his most significant accomplishment was improving the organization’s net worth $1.8 million dollars between 1999 and 2008.  He understands what it takes to make a quality museum work.

Mike comes at a critical time.  He will inherit the implementation of three new exhibits between now and 2015.  In order, those additions are “Building Bridges” (Phase I coming very soon), “Sailing”, and “Guardians of the Great Lakes”.  At the same time, Mike hopes to expand Museum offerings to include new themes and programs and improve cross-promotion through the Museum Gift Shop.

Of course, all this change will mean HUGE need for new and excited volunteers.  If YOU are interested in volunteering, call Mike at the Museum (231) 932-4526 and let him know you’re interested!

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Make your reservations for the 2014 Gala Fundraiser: Building Brighter Futures

2014 Gala logoThe Great Lakes Children’s Museum is building brighter futures – with your help! Our fabulous Annual Gala is taking place this year on Saturday, April 26 at 6:00 pm. Hosted at The Inn at Black Star Farms, this elegant event is a must for your spring calendar.

The annual Museum Gala is our single biggest fundraising event of the year. In order to reach 2014′s fundraising goal of $40,000, we need you! Tickets are available now. Make your reservation online by clicking here, calling the Museum at (231) 932-4526, or talking to us in person during your next visit.

At the Gala page you will find information regarding advertising, sponsorship, corporate tables, auction donations, and more.

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Funday Sunday through April

Funday Sunday Logo - websiteFunday Sunday is offered from 1:30 to 3:30. It is usually in two sessions: one at 1:30 and one at 2:30. Funday Sunday is an opportunity for multi-aged families to engage together in a shared art or cultural activity on a Sunday afternoon. Activities are appropriate for children ages 2 and up; however, children age 6 and under may need adult assistance. Funday Sunday often includes a special guided hands-on craft activity that is more elaborate than the Museum’s regular crafts.

Amy Cyr – January 12, 2014
Winter Collages: Make paper collage winter pictures. Patterned paper will be cut into shapes and glued to a background. Details can be drawn on the pictures as well.

Ann Drake – January 26, 2014
Kaleidoscope Fun: Discover the mystery of kaleidoscopes and what makes them so beautiful. We will play mirror games and do crazy mirror experiments. You can make your own kaleidoscope to take home.

Kat Brown – February 9, 2014
Joyful Movement:
Join Kat for an afternoon of movement, music and playdancing! This class involves the whole family to participate in the fun and laughter! The objective is JOY! Who couldn’t live with more joy in it!

Karen McCarthy – February 23, 2014
Mardi Gras Family-Style: Learn about New Orleans culture in this child-friendly Mardi Gras celebration. Hear stories and music from New Orleans, learn to dance a Cajun two-step, and make Mardi Gras masks.

Dede Alderman- March 2, 2014
Musical Voyage: Take a musical trip around the world! Listen and play drums and percussion from around the globe, and learn songs and games. Join in the kid-friendly drumming circle. It will be fun for all ages.

Robin Bransky – March 23, 2015
Hand-Felted Egg Shakers: Using mild soap, water, natural sheep wool, and a plastic egg shape, you can make your own egg shaker! The process is a lot of fun and you come out with a unique musical instrument to take home.

Melissa Johnson – April 13, 2014
Gyotaku: Explore the swimmers of the Great Lakes and an ancient fish printing art form from Japan! Make your own fish flags using paint, fabric, and a few familiar fish models.

Tom Kaufmann – April 27, 2014
Instrument Petting Zoo: Kids of all ages can blow a horn, strum a guitar, bow a violin, play with rhythm instruments, and try some unusual instruments like a singing bowl and a theremin.

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