Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Celebrating a Year of Service

The Museum reached a major milestone as its 20th AmeriCorps team completed a year of committed service in mid-August.  The 2015-16 AmeriCorps members served 19,000 hours as they:

  • Facilitated engaging problem-solving activities for 1,100 Head Start preschoolers
  • Engaged 200 elementary school-aged children with inspiring play-based math and science activities during after-school “Learning Clubs”
  • Welcomed 1,400 low-income children and family members to free Museum family nights
  • Engaged thousands Museum visitors in hands-on exhibits and developed interactive public programs
  • And much more! 

Tremendous thanks to our graduating AmeriCorps members for their year of dedicated service to children and families in need.

To learn more about the Museum’s AmeriCorps program, please click here.

The Museum’s AmeriCorps program is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service and Serve Rhode Island, with support from additional sponsors for the Head Start and Learning Club programs.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Mythical Creatures

Peek into the atrium walkway window boxes to discover imaginative scenes showcasing the whimsical world of mythical creatures – artfully felted dragons, fairies, gnomes, mermaids and more, created by AmeriCorps members Filipa Estrela and Rachel Storey.

Filipa and Rachel gave a glimpse of how the delightful display came to be:

Rachel: “We wanted the boxes to be fun and imaginative. To do this, we combined my love of making tiny household objects with Filipa's fascination with mythology. Our inspiration was our mutual love of all things tiny and adorable. We wanted to create a theme that would engage all children and inspire play, and we decided that fairy tales were the best way.”

Filipa: “My fascination for mythical things is really more of a childhood obsession. I grew up reading folklore from various cultures.”

Rachel: “Filipa was in charge of the creatures and I made most of the scenery. Filipa used wool roving, polyester filling and pipe cleaners to create the creatures. The scenery pieces were made from a variety of materials – there was a lot of felt and fabric, papier mache (with paper towels), household odds and ends, tape and plastic drinking straws. One of the most interesting materials used for our design was the bamboo. I made them by placing strips of masking tape on a drinking straw and then covering them with green paint.”

Filipa: “My top five boxes are maybe the swamp, the gnome house, the desert, the bamboo forest, and the rainforest... and the castle. Wait that's six...”

Rachel: “I am especially proud of the Viking ship, canyon and tundra boxes. They are all so colorful and all of these boxes involved several hours of carving with an Exacto knife."

Take a look and discover which is your favorite!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Puppets at Play!

Mischievous marionettes from the Museum’s historic Betty Huestis collection emerge from the pages of a storybook to frolic, play games and have other after-hours adventures at the library in a spirited scene recently created by AmeriCorps members Leigh Holmes and Hayley Munn.

Hayley shared some details about their inspiration and process:
“The idea for the new marionettes case display came from the Inkheart Trilogy, where characters can be read out of the story into real life. Leigh and I liked the idea of a library scene with mischievous animals escaping from a book. We choose the puppets based on their appearance and how they might engage in playful, unlibrary-like behavior. The monkey was a given, the camel worked well with the open desert scene, the spotted pony added fun color and pattern, and so on and so forth.

As for the bookshelf background, Leigh wanted to do a painting and we thought it would be fun to integrate real books. She also added in a sleeping kitty because she loves cats. The additional toys strewn about the books help set up the scene where the animals climb up the shelves, play Chinese Checkers and just make a mess.

The process of hanging the marionettes was very intricate and time-consuming. The puppets have very long strings that get easily tangled and must be handled carefully with gloves. It took a good deal of communication between who was hanging the string and who was holding the puppet in place to make the necessary adjustments.” 

Take a peek at these playful puppets on your next stroll through Strings Attached!