Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hide & Seek of the Week

This week's Collection object is the Fisher Price classic Snoopy Sniffer! The very first Snoopy Sniffer was introduced in 1938 and was recently reintroduced in 2005 to celebrate Fisher Price's 75th anniversary. When Snoopy Sniffer is pulled along all four legs move, his tail wags and he makes a "woof-woof" sound!

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, click here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nancy Kolb Retires

Please Touch Museum's President and Chief Executive Officer, Nancy Kolb, retired on Friday, November 20 after 21 years as the museum's leader. Nancy had a lot to say about what her retirement means for her, the museum and its visitors. Read on for more!

Pinky: Hi Nancy! We're going to miss you at Please Touch! How did you decide you were ready to retire?
Nancy: This has been a long journey to get us here [Memorial Hall], it took 11 years! I'm leaving on a pretty high note and am turning it over to someone that's been here just as long and whose skill set better matches what the museum needs now.
But, I’m still going to be around. They aren't getting rid of me, that's for sure! Please Touch Museum will always have my heart. How could you not love a job where you ride a carousel and have a serious conversation with a three year old?

Pinky: What has your time at Please Touch Museum taught you?
Nancy: The museum has taught me the importance of a creative environment where everyone can be successful. I have one of the most remarkable staffs and it took the board, the staff [particularly the visiting staff], proper funding, our members and a good investment bank to get where we are today. We all have had a shared vision and that’s the key element in all of this.

Pinky: What will you miss the most about your time at Please Touch?
Nancy: I'm going to miss the kids and the carousel. I try to go on at least once a day! My time with the children is precious to me. I have a wonderful time conversing with them and their want to have fun is joyous! Whether I'm here or whether I’m not, they will be here. And I'll be back to talk to them from time to time.

Pinky: The carousel's my favorite too! What are your plans after you retire?
Nancy: I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I leave here. I'll spend more time with my grandchildren, work on my golf game, learn Spanish and do the inevitable traveling. Fun is a core value in the museum and part of my life.

Pinky: Thanks for talking with me today Nancy! You will be greatly missed and I hope you visit soon and ride the carousel with me and my puppet pals!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Now on display: The Enchanted Colonial Village!

Please Touch Museum kicks off the holiday season with a trip to the village-- The Enchanted Colonial Village!

Millions of families in the 1960s and 70s took holiday trips to Lit Brothers Department Store in Center City to shop and visit the Enchanted Colonial Village. For over 40 years, it has been a staple in Philadelphia and continues to delight children and adults alike. Designed by Lit Brothers display designer, Thomas Comerford, the Village was built by a German toy firm specifically for the department store. It is a 3/4 life-size display, which originally depicted 18 scenes of a small colonial hamlet preparing for the holidays. After Lit Brothers closed in 1977, the Sun Oil Company (Sunoco) bought the display, but was unable to find a new home for the Village. In '82, it was restored by Williamson Trade School of Media, PA and given to Longwood Gardens for their holiday celebration.

After a few other stops in the late 80's and 90's, Please Touch Museum purchased the Village for $1 in the year 2000 and restored the remaining eight scenes. To this day, the Enchanted Colonial Village provides families with a glimpse into the past, while giving them a chance to share their favorite childhood memories!

I recently talked to Milton Boone, Exhibit Technician Extraordinaire at Please Touch about the Village. Read on for more...

Pinky: So how long does it take to put up the Village every holiday season?
Milton: It usually takes about two weeks to get everything in the right place and set up all of the accessories.

What is the Village made of?
Milton: Mostly wood. The buildings are all made of wood. Even the people figures are made of wood and paper and painted. A lot of it has been updated... most of the figures have new technology inside to make them move. A lot of the eyeballs had to be replaced. Oh, and a lot of the clothing was updated, too!

And what do you like most about the Village?
Milton: I am always amazed by how many people remember seeing it for the first time at Lits and how much they enjoy it! Some visitors will even point out if something looks wrong- like a mechanism isn't working the way they remember it! It's a great holiday tradition.

Be sure to stop by and see this Philadelphia tradition before January 3, 2010! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hide & Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is Bob the Teenage Boy Doll! Bob, along with Suzette the Teenage doll, were sold exclusively in W.T. Grant stores during the 1950's as a less expensive version of Uneeda's wildly popular line of Tinyteen dolls.

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about Hide and Seek of the Week, click here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Celebrating Georgia O’Keeffe's Birthday

This Sunday, November 15th, Please Touch Museum will be celebrating the birthday of artist Georgia O'Keeffe!

Georgia O'Keeffe was born in Wisconsin in 1887 and was one of the most influential American painters of the 20th century. O'Keefe is mostly known for her numerous colorful paintings of flowers and other natural objects. Despite the natural focus of her artwork, her painting was not always purely representational, as she would often experiment with style and color to transform these natural objects into powerful and unpredictable abstract shapes.

In our Program Room, kids can see examples of Ms. O'Keefe's artwork and create their own watercolor paintings at our 'Paint a Flower' activity. This style of painting offers kids a chance to create their own representational paintings, which encourages development of their ability to make connections between images in paintings and real objects in the world, while additionally offering them a chance to experiment with different art materials, colors, and shapes.

We hope you’ll join us in our Program Room on Sunday for lots of artistic fun!

To learn more about the artist, visit the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum's website.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2009 Great Friend to Kids Awards

Did you know Please Touch Museum honors very special people every single year with its Great Friend to Kids (GFTK) Awards? 2009 marks the 14th Annual GFTK Awards and I am so excited to share the winners with you!

All of these individuals have made outstanding contributions to enriching the lives of children. They have inspired, served, educated, and entertained kids of all ages, and by recognizing their efforts Please Touch Museum hopes to inspire others to make similar efforts in the community.

Drum roll please. . . .

The 2009 GFTK Award winners are:

Phillie Phanatic
Anne Hamilton
Shire Pharmaceuticals
Cordella Hauser
Tom Toscani

The Great Friend to Kids Award was initiated in 1991 by the Association of Children's Museums to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions toward strengthening education for children. National Great Friend to Kids Award winners include Fred Rogers and Marian Wright Edelman. Please Touch began presenting its own award in 1996 to coincide with the museum’s 20th birthday. Most recently, Nancy Kolb was presented with the Great Friend to Kids Lifetime Achievement Award on October 3, 2008.

Want to learn more? Click here!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hide & Seek of the Week

This week's Collections object is a 1983 Row Boat Smurf! Smurfs were created by Belgian cartoonist, Peyo in 1958. However, these little blue creatures didn't gain widespread popularity until the creation of the 1980s Hanna-Barbera Productions cartoon The Smurfs.

Put on your looking eyes and see if you can find it during your next visit! For more info about hide and seek of the week, click here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall Fun in the Program Room

Now that November is in full swing, be sure to stop by the Program Room for loads of Fall Fun activities!

Kids can experiment with an interesting art process at our “Crayon and Watercolor Resists” activity. Use wax crayons to create designs on a piece of paper and then paint over them with watercolor paint! Since wax is water resistant, the paint will only absorb into the paper around the colored designs, creating an interesting and beautiful pattern. It’s tons of fun!

The “Quilt Mosaic” activity lets children utilize square and triangular tiles, pieces of paper, and other collage elements to create their own unique ‘quilts’ on sheets of construction paper. Did you know Quilt making has a long history in America? It was a popular form of folk art for the first generations of our country, and continues to be practiced today! Quilting is also a good way to reuse something that might have otherwise been thrown away. Can you think of other art forms that can use recycled materials?

Here's a sample masterpiece from one of our visitors:

Get into the holiday spirit by participating in our “Holiday Cards and Mail Art activity!” Blank greeting cards and envelopes are used as a canvas and turned into beautiful masterpieces. Celebrating holidays is an important part of family life, and this activity gives kids a creative way to participate and learn about the importance and fun of sharing special time with their families.

If you enjoy the activities you find in the program room and want to take what you learned home with you, our Kids Store has a great selection of arts and crafts materials to choose from. The Kids Store items of the month are “Stone By Stone” and “Mosaic Clock Kit,” two exciting activities that emulate the art of ancient mosaics!

So come by our Program Room this month and celebrate the coming holidays, the fall season in which they happen, and your family to share them with!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Hide & Seek of the Week

I hope everyone had a great Halloween! It's Monday and that means it's time for Hide and Seek of the Week!

This week's Collections piece is a 1981 Topps Tug McGraw Baseball Card. McGraw joined the Philadelphia Phillies in 1974 as one of their most reliable relief pitchers. In the 1980 World Series against the Kansas City Royals, McGraw struck out Willie Wilson to clinch the Phillies first World Series Title.

Try and find it during your next visit! For more info about hide and seek of the week, click here.

We're all about learning through play.

Join Pinky, one of Please Touch Museum's resident puppets, on an inside look into all the fun, educational things happening at Philly's Children's Museum. This blog is not just about what we do at the museum, but about the educational philosophy behind why we do what we do.