Remotely Operated Vehicles

Staff from the Grand Traverse Lighthouse were at the museum today to present programming on Remotely Operated Vehicles.  Participants got to see an operating ROV complete with camera, propeller, and servos.

Participants were also able to build their own vehicle from PVC Pipe.  As a special treat, the museum opened up the “deep section” of the water table.  Participants were challenged to build a vehicle which would fit through the structure AND still float.  The structure proved problematic – but nothing that a little children’s museum ingenuity couldn’t solve.  Add an indoor pool to the water table, add water and voila – a structure to test float the mini-ROVs.

Thank you to Amanda and Stef from Grand Traverse Lighthouse for making this available.  We look forward to many more programming collaborations this winter!ROV 2014 01 10-2

ROV 2014 01 10-1 ROV 2014 01 10

Countdown to Noon 2014

About 260 people braved the cold and blustery morning weather to attend the 2014 Countdown to Noon celebration.

Activity started as soon as the doors opened at 10:00 am with people bustling in and moving into the Great Lakes Room to make noise makers, hats and to decorate the giant ball.  At about 11:45 am, museum program facilitator Anne Drake hung the ball and gathered the crowd for the Noon dropping of the ball, which has become a Museum tradition over the years.

At Noon, the ball (and a TON of balloons) dropped with the assistance of volunteer Erick Drake and staff Martha Belfour.  Thanks Erick and Martha for making the day a fun time for everyone!

Here are pics of what you missed if you weren’t able to attend;

2014 12 31 Ball Drop 1 2014 12 31 Ball Drop 2 2014 12 31 Craft 2014 12 31 Decorating the Ball 2014 12 31 Noisemaker 2014 12 31 Waiting crowd 2014 12 31 Waiting for Countdown 2014 12 31 Waiting Happy Hat 2014 12 31 Waiting Kids Closeup 2014 12 31 Waiting Looking Up

Museum Receives Arts Program Grant

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum recently received a $712.00 grant from the Genuine Leelanau Charitable Endowment to fund one session of a new program called “Arts in Action.”

“Arts in Action” is designed to showcase art forms and artists in a way that allows guests to experience not only the explanation of the art but the art form itself.  Artists will be gifted at presenting their art form, but also able to delve into the “foundations” of the art form itself.  Artists will also be gifted at listening and answering questions from inquisitive guests as well as being able to mentor participants as they work their way through a self-paced immersion included as part of the program.

The inaugural ‘Arts in Action’ will be scheduled in January 2015.  Stay tuned for more information.

Drop And Shop – November 28

Are you a “day-after-Thanksgiving shopper?”  What if you had a place where your potty trained children could enjoy the morning in a group (4 children per sitter)?

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum will be offering “Drop and Shop” services the morning after Thanksgiving.  Sitters will be here, and the Museum will be open starting at 8:00 am.  The fee is $10 per hour per child.  Children (and the adult dropping them off) will receive wristbands.  Wristbands must match at pickup (in other words, no mom drop offs, and grandma or dad pickups).

You can reduce the sitting fee by purchasing items in the Museum store.  If your purchases total $50, your babysitting rate drops to $7.50 per hour per child.  At $100, the rate drops to $5.00 per hour per child.  Spend $150 and the rate is $2.50 per hour per child and $200 and over the rate drops to zero for up to 4 hours of sitting services.  The total fee will be calculated (and payable) at the time you pick up.

Sitters will be exploring the Museum exhibits with your child while you’re getting your other shopping done locally.  We will ask for your phone number during check-in and we will contact you should a situation arise that requires your attention.

Drop and Shop services end promptly at Noon.   Pre-registration is appreciated so we can arrange for enough babysitters.

Let’s Make Like a Leaf and…

Let’s Make Like A LEAF and …

Summer’s officially behind us as of September 22 (If you’re not sure of the meaning of that date google “Autumn Equinox Meaning”).  So as we have been looking at the colors starting to change, of course, being life-long learners we start to ask questions.  Some of our questions this time of year;

  • Why do leaves change colors and fall off the trees?
  • What determines the leaf color?
  • How do you tell a poplar leaf from an aspen leaf?
  • What is the difference between a leaf and a leaflet?
  • How can you tell when a tree HAS leaflets?
  • Why don’t PINE trees lose all their needles?

Those questions and any others that might come to your mind between TODAY and Sunday, October 12 will be answered by the Museum’s own Anne Drake.  Anne is just brimming with information and itching to get it out there about FALL and LEAVES and LEAFLETS and so much more.

The program starts PROMPTLY at 2:00 pm and will wrap up with a craft.  The purpose of the craft is to help kids (and adults) identify leaves and make something both will remember for years to come.  There is a $2.00 fee for the craft – and Museum admission (whether member or non) is required.

Please sign up in advance so we know how MANY craft sets we will need to prepare. Call the Museum at 231 932 4526 to make your registration today.

Leaf Project

Building Bridges is officially open

Bridges Opening 2014 09 26-1 Bridges Opening 2014 09 26-2 Bridges Opening 2014 09 26-3 Bridges Opening 2014 09 26-4


As promised, Building Bridges, the Museum’s newest exhibit opened to the public at Noon today (9/26/14).  The exhibit includes 4 stations to experiment with bridge construction, and a set of kid-sized building blocks which, when correctly assembled, form a bridge large and sturdy enough for Museum visitors to cross.  The exhibit backdrop is filled with diagrams showing all kinds of bridges with category names, and the forces engineers must consider when designing bridges.  Famous bridges from around the U.S. are included for guests to try their hand at bridge recognition.

An entire wall depicts the Mighty Mac (Mackinac Bridge) at night.  The mural was painted by Hesper Smyth who volunteered several of her nights and her own paint.  The Mac wall includes Mac Facts and a graph of how tolls have changed over time.  On the exhibit entrance, there are photographs from the Mackinac’s Bridge 3 year construction process.

Museum President Matt Missias, artist Hesper Smyth and Museum Executive Director Mike Long performed the “ribbon cutting” to officially open the exhibit.

One down, many more to come!

What Did I Miss?

September 25 was Member Night at the Museum.  26 attended and took a quick sneak peek at Building Bridges which officially opens at Noon on September 26 (Friday).  Building Bridges is a collaboration between Paul Maurer General Contracting Inc, Team Elmers, Museum personnel and volunteers.

Last night’s member night was a fun night – and I never cease to be amazed at the imaginations of children.  I saw new uses for the Bridges exhibit I had never anticipated…  It will be interesting to see what kids come up with as the Museum’s newest exhibit meets the public.

As with all Member Nights, the unique activity and snack were coordinated around the theme.  Last night’s theme was bridges so members snacked on bridge mix J and the activity was bridge building.  Each child built their own bridge (sometimes with the assistance of their adult(s)) to take home.  Pictures communicate the fun much more clearly than an article ever will so here’s what you missed in a few candid shots.

Member Night 2014 09 25 - 1 Member Night 2014 09 25 - 2 Member Night 2014 09 25 - 3 Member Night 2014 09 25 - 6 Member Night 2014 09 25 - 7 Member Night 2014 09 25 -4 Member Night 2014 09 25 -8 Member Night 2014 09 25 -9

The NEXT new thing at the Museum is the opening of Shore Prints.  Shore Prints is designed to allow children and adults to explore and identify the tracks of animals and birds common to the Grand Traverse Bay (along with a bit of whimsy and fun).  Shore Prints will open towards the end of October.  Watch for more information!

New Model Ship Makes GLCM Home Port

Next time you’re in the Museum, check around and you’ll see there’s a new model ship anchored on the Mezzanine.  The Le Superbe docked on 9/23/2014 in a slip directly above the water fountains.  The model has three masts, two decks and 76 guns – and lots and lots of sails and rigging.

LeSuperb 1 LeSuperb 2

The model was donated by Howard and Pat Yamaguchi of Traverse City.  It measures 57” in length, 18.5” in beam and 43” in height.

Le Superbe never sailed on the Great Lakes – as a matter of fact, it didn’t sail long at all.  She was commissioned in 1784 and sunk in a storm in 1795.

It joins two other models which are currently used as part of the Periscope exhibit.  Long term, the Museum hopes to incorporate ship models as a means to expose guests to aspects of marine history through the Periscope exhibit.

Learning … A Lifelong Process

Learning…A Lifelong Process

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum Staff and Trustees are living proof that learning is an on-going and never-ending process.  Exposure to new thoughts, and reminders of past learning are essential to the development of new and challenging exhibits and programming.

In September 2014, the Staff and Trustees benefited from $1,500.00 in professional development funding from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs regranted through Northsky Nonprofit Network.  Staff attended training on fund raising, computer training, and contractor relations.  Trustees attended training on Board Governance and grant writing.

“We are grateful to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Northsky Nonprofit Network for making the training possible,” says Michael Long, Executive Director.  “The Museum is at a critical stage and the learning from these courses will be immediately impactful on our operation.”

New Exhibit opening on 9/26

Great Lakes Children’s Museum members have an opportunity to take a sneak peek at the Museum’s newest exhibit on September 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.  The event is the focus of the Fall Member Night.   Like all Member Nights, admission is free to members.  Memberships are available for purchase the night of the event for any non-members wanting to attend.

“Member nights are sort of like an old-fashioned family picnic for a very big extended family,” says museum Executive Director Michael Long.  “We ask anyone who is attending to let us know ahead of time so we can have adequate refreshments on hand,” Long says.

Member nights feature activity normally not available during regular business hours.  In honor of the exhibit opening, members will be constructing their own versions of a bridge to take home.  Refreshment for the 25th will include Bridge Mix.  There will be an alternative for individuals with nut allergies.

“Building Bridges” will open to the public at Noon on September 26, 2014.  The exhibit focuses on the art and science of bridge construction.  There are brightly colored kid-sized building blocks which, when assembled correctly, form a bridge participants can cross.  A train track with multiple bridges, a K’nex station and a third station designed to illustrate the effects of tension, compression, gravity and load complete the exhibit learning.  Exhibit walls are filled with information supporting learning including bridge blue prints and diagrams.  There are also pictures of famous bridges from all over the world.

An entire wall is dedicated to the Mackinac Bridge.  A mural of the bridge at night, contributed by local artist Hesper Smyth, is surrounded by photos and text about the Mighty Mac’s history.

On Saturday, September 27, 2014, the Museum is hosting a bridge building challenge.  The challenge starts promptly at 1:00 pm.  Registered teams of 1 to 4 people will be asked to span a specific distance in a timed challenge using only spaghetti and marshmallows.  Registration is $5.00 per team and is limited to 15 teams.  To pre-register, call the Museum at (231) 932-4526 during business hours.  Registration will be complete once the Museum has received the $5.00 fee.  The registration fee does not include access to Museum exhibits.

“Building Bridges” is sponsored by Team Elmers and Paul Maurer General Contracting, Inc..  Volunteers contributed over 80 hours toward the exhibit’s completion.