May 18 – International Museum Day

CPB - How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum II

About the Holiday

Created in 1946, the International Council of Museums established International Museum Day in 1977 to institute an annual event highlighting museums as “important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation, and peace among peoples.” The day also aims to unify “the creative aspirations and efforts of museums and draw the attention of the world public to their activity.” Each year a theme is chosen to spotlight a relevant issue. This year’s theme is “Museums and contested histories: saying the unspeakable in museums.” Museums around the world will take the opportunity to show how they “display and depict traumatic memories to encourage visitors to think beyond their own individual experiences” and promote peace and reconciliation for the future. To learn more visit the International Council of Museums website!

To celebrate today’s holiday show your support for museums by visiting and/or donating to your favorite museum!

How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum

By Jessie Hartland

 

“So…” asks a little boy visiting the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, “how did the dinosaur get to the museum?” Thus begins the tale—not of the dinosaur’s life, but of its journey from life to the museum exhibit hall.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-how-the-dinosaur-got-to-the-museum-talking-about-dinosaur

Image and text copyright Jesse Harland, courtesy of Blue Apple Books

One hundred and forty-five million years ago, the dinosaur roamed the plains of what is now Utah. Overcome by weather and evolutionary events, the dino is buried. It is only much, much later that this prehistoric creature is once again exposed. A Dinosaur Hunter finds one large bone and believes it to be from a Diplodocus Longus. He calls in the Paleontologist who confirms it. A team of Excavators arrives and unearths the rest of the skeleton.

The Movers pack the skeleton that was found by the Dinosaur Hunter, confirmed by the Paleontologist, and dug up by the Excavators. They load it onto a train that transports it to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Here, the bones are cleaned and preserved by the Preparators, who discover that the head and neck are missing!

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-how-the-dinosaur-got-to-the-museum-digging

Image copyright Jesse Harland, courtesy of Blue Apple Books

The Curator locates a plaster cast of a Diplodocus head at another museum, and work continues until the whole Diplodocus is assembled. That night while making his rounds in the dark, the Night Watchman trips over the skeleton’s tail and breaks it! In come the Welders to fix it. Finally, the Riggers can lift the dinosaur into the display.

The Exhibits Team creates an educational background for Diplodocus. Then with a final dusting, the Cleaners make the Diplodocus presentable. At long last, the Director invites the public into the museum. He gives a speech and makes a toast then opens the doors to the magnificent exhibit.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-how-the-dinosaur-got-to-the-museum-exhibit

Image copyright Jesse Harland, courtesy of Blue Apple Books

Jessie Hartland’s highly entertaining and educational text will keep kids riveted to the process of creating a museum exhibit even as they giggle at the mishaps. As each page and step in the process build on each other, readers will enjoy reciting along. Hartland’s bold, colorful, folk-style illustrations allow kids to see the lengthy and meticulous journey the dinosaur skeleton makes from burial spot to museum exhibit. Along the way, they view the desert landscape where the skeleton was found, view the tools used to excavate and preserve it, get a tour of the back rooms where the dinosaur bones are reassembled, and are given a front-row look at the finished display. 

For children interested in dinosaurs, museums, history, and a fun story, How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum is a great take-along book for museum trips and a wonderful addition to a young armchair traveler’s library

Ages 5 – 9

Blue Apple Books, New Jersey, 2011 | ISBN 978-1609050900

Learn more about Jesse Hartland, her books, and her artwork on her website!

International Museum Day Activity

CPB - Cookie Jar Museum (2)

Create a Museum Exhibit

 

Every item has a story. Maybe there’s a funny anecdote behind that knick-knack on your shelf. Perhaps your favorite serving dish holds sentimental value. How about your child’s best-loved toy or a drawing or craft they’ve made? A fun and educational way for kids to learn family stories and interact with their own history is to create a museum exhibit of objects in your home.

For teachers this can be a fun classroom activity that incorporates writing, art, and speaking as well as categorizing skills. Students can use objects in the classroom or bring items from home to set up museum exhibits. This activity can be done as a whole-class project or by smaller groups, who then present their exhibit to the rest of the class.

Supplies

  • A number of household or classroom items
  • Paper or index cards
  • Markers
  • A table, shelf, or other area for display

Directions

  1. To get started help children gather a number of items from around the house to be the subjects of their exhibit. An exhibit can have a theme, such as Grandma’s China or Travel Souvenirs, or it can contain random items of your child’s choice, such as toys, plants, tools, even the furniture they see and use every day.
  2. Using the paper or cards and markers, children can create labels for their exhibit items. Older children will be able to write the labels themselves; younger children may need adult help.
  3. Spend a little time relating the story behind each object: where it came from, how long you’ve had it, when and how it was used in the past, and include any funny or touching memories attached to the item. Or let your child’s imagination run free, and let them create histories for the objects.
  4. When the labels are finished, arrange the items on a table, shelf, or in a room, and let your child lead family members or classmates on a tour. You can even share the exhibit with family and friends on social media.
  5. If extended family members live in your area, this is a wonderful way for your child to interact with them and learn about their heritage.

May 18 – International Museum Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-homer-henry-hudson

About the Holiday

International Museum day was created in 1977 by the International Council of Museums to raise awareness that “museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” The theme for this year is Museums and Cultural Landscapes. Both nature and history comprise the cultural landscape that links museums to their surrounding neighborhood, towns, and beyond. As museums become more involved in their communities, they acquire the responsibility to protect, conserve, and interpret the cultural heritage inside and outside their walls. International Museum Day is growing—in 2015 more than 35,000 museums in 145 countries participated. Today visit one of your favorite museums and learn more about your cultural landscape.

Homer Henry Hudson’s Curio Museum

By Zack Rock

 

Everything has a story, the narrator tells readers, especially the Homer Henry Hudson Curio Museum, which he says has been described as “a colossal collection of curios, discovered, described, and displayed by that eccentric explorer extraordinaire: Homer Henry Hudson.”

Come in and experience the wonders inside. A dignified bulldog dressed in a dapper tweed suit and leaning on a crooked cane will greet you. His job is to keep the place clean and dusted. Although the museum is stuffed floor to ceiling, he knows the placement of every object, knick-knack, and curiosity. As you explore the museum’s holdings—its portraits, musical instruments, ancient artifacts, taxidermy animals, and other treasures, the caretaker sits silently, hoping you will read the display cards that Homer Henry Hudson has lovingly written out with a description and personal note. He even has his favorite “bits and bobs” that he would like you to see.

One of these is Item #0001, the Conausaurus Skull of a small dinosaur from the late Jurassic Period that HHH found in the soil of his family’s farm. This bony discovery made Homer Henry wonder what else the world held and sparked his love of exploration. Another is Item #0023, a Radial Tide Diviner once used by Calypsonian seers to predict the future based on tidal patterns. It was the discovery of the lost Calypsonian civilization with its valuable artifacts that funded Homer’s further explorations.

Item #3412, a Temple Montepaz Choir Finch with a C sharp trill that chanted to accompany the parrot priest, was a most unusual gift, bestowed on HHH for convincing the Parrot Priest to release a piece of wood stripped from the temple wall. This shard turned out to lead Homer Henry Hudson into his future—for better or worse. With renewed fire, HHH charged toward the promise of riches only to fly his plane into a mammoth stone figurehead, which resulted in injury and his life-long limp.

Item #3415, The Manneken Mort of King Ingmar, is perhaps Homer Henry’s most treasured possession. Composed of fabric bands that represent the stories friends and family tell when someone dies, this Manneken Mort contains hundreds of bands relating the life of King Ingmar. This object HHH acquired for bravery and self-sacrifice when he was younger and still full of enthusiasm for life.

The old bulldog thinks of this curio most. He wonders what his Manneken will look like and whether all the bands of his life been woven. He likes to think his Menneken Mort “would be  hundreds—thousands—of feet tall. It’d tower over the Taj Mahal, shame the Sphinx!” But he knows “few memorable tales are told of rusty old codgers who spent their days…leaning upon fear like a crutch.”

Though blind in one eye and nagged by trepidation, the old bulldog packs his suitcase, dons his hat and throws away his cane. As he walks out the door, past pictures of himself on his early expeditions of discover, he knows he might “meet with catastrophe,” be “swallowed by quicksand,” or “gnawed on by piranhas.” But he also knows “there’s no success without failures,” and he has had many successes.

Homer Henry Hudson boards the cruise liner Phoenix and sets out for adventure once more. After all, he well knows that everything has a story. So if you come by the Homer Henry Hudson Museum today, you will see a sign hanging on the door: The Curio Museum is CLOSED Until Further Notice.

Zack Rock has written a compelling and unique picture book for adventurers of all types and ages. Part motivation and part cautionary tale, this story of the once intrepid explorer turned tremulous caretaker has a mysterious, treasure-around-every-corner quality that will appeal to kids. The life of Homer Henry Hudson is told through the display cards that accompany some of the museum’s curios. As the story develops through the cards’ personal notes, readers learn of the museum’s true owner and the life-altering decision he makes.

Rock’s illustrations in greens and parchment-paper golds and browns have a high “Oh, Cool!” factor, as the odd, ancient, and unusual objects of the museum invite kids to explore every nook and cranny of the pages. The exhibits serve not only to fill the museum, however, they remind us how easily the future can get overshadowed and crowded out by the past.

Ages 6 – 10

Creative Editions, 2014 | ISBN 978-1568462608

International Museum Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-cookies

Peanut Butter-M&M Cookies

 

A good cookie is like a museum—full of interesting flavors, colors, and taste. Here’s a cookie recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups that exhibits all these traits! 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 cups m&ms
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (for extra chocolate)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Combine butter and peanut butter in microwave safe bowl and melt together for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Continue in 15-second increments until mixture is melted and smooth.
  3. In a separate large bowl whisk together flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. Combine eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and sugar. Mix on medium until combined and smooth. Turn mixer to low and slowly pour in your butter/peanut butter mixture. Continue stirring until combined.
  5. With mixer still on low, gradually add your flour mixture until just combined. Batter will be thick.
  6. Now add in your candies and stir until they are evenly distributed.
  7. Now form your batter into “golf ball” sized dough balls. You can also use a 3-Tablespoon scooper.
  8. Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart
  9. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes
  10. Cookies will be puffy, but should be golden around the edges
  11. Let cool on baking sheet for 2 -3 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.

Cookies & Cups has lots of creative and delicious goodies for special occasions or for just those times when you want to be good to yourself!

Picture Book Review

April 9 – Cherish an Antique Day

Once Upon a Memory by Nina Laden and Renata Liwska Picture Book Reivew

About the Holiday

When you look at an antique chair with its faded upholstery or a brooch handed down from your great-great-grandmother, do you ever think about the day when it was new? Imagine the excitement of sitting in the chair for the first time or opening the jewelry box on a shining pin. Today we remember our collective and individual treasured past, held in the objects of days gone by. Cherish an Antique Day is a perfect time to learn more about the stories of any antiques you may own.

Once Upon a Memory

Written by Nina Laden | Illustrated by Renata Liwska

 

This stunning, quiet book is so evocative in its premise that certain lines can bring a lump to your throat even before you reach the endearing end. A little boy sits in his playroom surrounded by his stuffed toys and pet dog, enjoying a tea party. A feather blows through the window, eliciting the question, “Does a feather remember it once was…a bird?” and then more musings: “Does a book remember it once was…a word?”

The simple patterned phrasing and rhyming couplets lend the story a surprising suspense as the reader tries to guess what one-time material or emotion transformed into another before the clever answer is revealed: “Does a statue remember it once was…stone? Does an island remember it once was…unknown?”

In the last pages the queries become more personal—“Does love remember it once was…new? Does a family remember it once was…two?” Adult readers will recognize where the reflective path leads, giving this book a deeper level of meaning for both adults and children: “Does the world remember it once was…wild? Will you remember you once were…a child?”

The question is not an idle one. In these busy, stressful times it’s good to remember what it meant—and means—to be a child.

Nina Laden’s subtly anthropomorphic world invites readers into a new realm of imagination as well as reality. Readers and listeners receive a new perspective on life as Laden’s poetic voice opens up a wide world of possibilities.

Renata Liwska’s illustrations are simply adorable and represent each couplet with depth and imagination. The feather that blows in the little boy’s window comes not from some single, random bird, but from a happy barber shop where an owl is getting a haircut. “Book” is both the volume lovingly read by the boy and the word painted on a busy bookshop sign. Liwska’s sweet bears, squirrels, beavers, birds, raccoons, bats and more as well as the tiny boy are rendered in gauzy browns, grays, reds, and yellows that are as soft and comforting as a favorite memory.  Once Upon a Memory would be a perfect companion on a walk, a trip, or during times of waiting, where readers and listeners could make up their own “once was” pairs. Its cadence also makes it a nice, comforting bedtime book.

Ages 4 – 7

Little Brown and Company, 2013 | ISBN 978-0316208161

Cherish an Antique Day Activity

CPB - Antique Day

Share the Stories of Your Antiques

 

Whether you have old photographs of great-great-grandparents or special heirlooms, today’s holiday is a wonderful time to share them and the stories behind them with children. The feeling of being part of several generations or holding history in your hands is exciting and comforting and can lead to more understanding and closer relationships.

Adults can collect a few family heirlooms and/or photographs to share with children. Children can choose which of their toys, books, or other favorite objects they think will last to become a cherished antique in the future.

Take time to get together and discuss the objects you’ve collected with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and some special treats.

February 22 – Museum Advocacy Day

CPB - How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum II

About the Holiday

Today is a day when we can show our museum curators and representatives in government how much we value museums. Without these grand (and sometimes small) buildings dedicated to preserving and teaching about our historical, scientific, and cultural achievements, our lives would be much poorer. Show your support for museum funding by visiting and/or donating to your favorite museum!

Another wonderful way to celebrate our custodians of history, science, art, and life is by reading the clever How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum / How the Sphinx Got to the Museum / How the Meteorite Got to the Museum series by author-illustrator Jessie Hartland.

How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum

By Jessie Hartland

 

“So…” asks a little boy visiting the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, “how did the dinosaur get to the museum?” Thus begins the tale—not of the dinosaur’s life, but of its journey from life to the museum exhibit hall.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-how-the-dinosaur-got-to-the-museum-talking-about-dinosaur

Image and text copyright Jesse Harland, courtesy of Blue Apple Books

One hundred and forty-five million years ago, the dinosaur roamed the plains of what is now Utah, Overcome by weather and evolutionary events, the dino is buried and much, much later once again exposed. A Dinosaur Hunter finds one large bone and believes it to be from a Diplodocus Longus. He calls in the Paleontologist who confirms it. A team of Excavators arrives and unearths the rest of the skeleton.

The Movers pack the skeleton which was found by the Dinosaur Hunter, confirmed by the Paleontologist, and dug up by the Excavators and load it on a train that transports it to the Smithsonian. Here, the bones are cleaned and preserved by the Preparators, who discover that the head and neck are missing!

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-how-the-dinosaur-got-to-the-museum-digging

Image copyright Jesse Harland, courtesy of Blue Apple Books

The Curator locates a plaster cast at another museum and work continues. The Diplodocus is assembled, but in the darkness the Night Watchman trips over its tail and breaks it! In come the Welders to fix it, and finally the Riggers can display the skeleton.

The Exhibits Team creates a background, lighting, and signs for Diplodocus, and the Cleaners give it a final dusting before the Director invites the public to view the magnificent exhibit with a speech and a toast.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-how-the-dinosaur-got-to-the-museum-exhibit

Image copyright Jesse Harland, courtesy of Blue Apple Books

Jessie Hartland’s bold, colorful illustrations offer a child’s-view perspective on the behind-the-scenes working of a museum, while her highly entertaining and educational text will keep kids giggling and reciting along as each page builds on the next to reveal the story of the men, women, and processes engaged in creating a museum exhibit.

Ages 5 – 9

Blue Apple Books, New Jersey, 2011 | ISBN 978-1609050900

Museum Advocacy Day Activity

CPB - Cookie Jar Museum (2)

Create a Museum Exhibit

Every item has a story. Is there a funny anecdote behind that knick-knack on the shelf? Does your favorite serving dish hold sentimental value? A fun and educational way for kids to learn family stories and interact with their own history is to create a museum exhibit of objects in your home.

For teachers this can be a fun classroom activity that incorporates writing, art, and speaking, and categorizing skills. Students can use objects in the classroom or bring items from home to set up museum exhibits. This activity can be done as a whole-class project or by smaller groups, who then present their exhibit to the rest of the class.

Supplies

  • A number of household or classroom items
  • Paper or index cards
  • Markers
  • A table, shelf, or other area for display

Directions

  1. To get started have children gather a number of items from around the house to be the subjects of their exhibit. An exhibit can have a theme, such as Grandma’s China or Travel Souvenirs, or it can contain random items of your child’s choice, such as toys, plants, tools, even the furniture they see and use every day.
  2. Using the paper or cards and markers, children can create labels for their exhibit items. Older children will be able to write the labels themselves; younger children may need adult help.
  3. Spend a little time relating the story behind each object: where it came from, how long you’ve had it, when and how it was used in the past, and include any funny or touching memories attached to the item. Or let your child’s imagination run free, and let them create histories for the objects.
  4. When the labels are finished, arrange the items on a table, shelf, or in a room, and let your child lead family members or classmates on a tour. You can even share the exhibit with family and friends on social media.
  5. If extended family members live in your area, this is a wonderful way for your child to interact with them and learn about their heritage.