How are you connected to the Montshire?
We live in Norwich with our three children ages 13, 8 and 4. We have been members for four years since we returned to the Upper Valley. Our son has attended multiple summer camps and Laura has also has helped with the annual auction.
Why do you choose to be involved?
There are many great organizations to support in the Upper Valley. We prioritize being involved with the Montshire because it is such a unique gem in our community and was a major reason why we choose to move back to the Upper Valley. The Montshire has something to offer everyone in our community and brings people of all ages and ilks together around a shared joy of the natural world.
When was the first time you came to the Montshire?
We were childless medical students attending a gala event for Dartmouth Medical School. We had such an exciting evening. Socializing amongst live creatures, mind puzzles, soapy bubbles, and other interactive activities with adults was a very interesting, enjoyable, and memorable way to spend an evening and celebrate a special occasion.
What is your favorite Montshire experience?
Matt: The Penny Vortex [Gravity Well]. It can occupy me, and any of our children for nearly an hour on any given day.
Laura: A Night at the Museum. Our sixth grader, Lydia and 10 of her school friends celebrated the end of their elementary school journey by exploring the entire museum without other visitors on a memorable evening and sleepover.
What do you wish everyone knew about the Museum?
That unlike any children’s museum we've ever been to around the country, you can go there on multiple days in a single week and not be bored and the kids are thrilled to go back. And, parents should know, it will be a relaxing experience. No having to hover over your kids to make sure they don't break something, harm themselves or get lost. It is not capturing kids attention by being a frenetic place, but rather a calm and inquisitive space.
Is there one word you would use to describe the Museum?
What do you think the Montshire will be like in ten years?
The center of inspiration for nature preservation and scientific inquiry in our community.
We hope that in 10 + years, our oldest child will want to get married at the Montshire.
What do you find most rewarding about volunteering and visiting at the Montshire?
Every single person involved in the Montshire, from the welcome desk staff, to the maintenance staff, to the administrators, to the camp counselors, have been pleasant, informative, helpful and even inspiring in their knowledge and commitment.
What is the best kept secret at the Montshire?
Matt: The fog machine on the third floor. It is like a secret little corner where the Carl Sandburg poem Fog lives, "The fog comes on little cat feet...". It is mesmerizing to wave your hands through the fog and blow it into evaporating shapes.
Laura: Montshire camp at Storr's Pond: the best local summer camp experience for our 8-year old, in his and our opinion.
What is your favorite Montshire story to tell?
A few years ago, we won an experience on the Dartmouth War Canoe at the Montshire Auction. At our 10-year Medical School reunion, 30 of our friends and their family members boarded the canoe for a serendipitous trip down the Connecticut River, stopping not far from the Montshire on Gilman's island for the afternoon. Matt and I shared glowing stories of how lucky we are to raise our family in a place where we could share this wonderful experience.
Which other museums do you enjoy visiting?
This is tough - many other museums wear us out, especially with kids, because we feel we either wait in line (which never happens at the Montshire), chase our kids from one activity that occupies them for half a second to the next, or have to constantly remind them to not touch things. We have brought our kids to many children's museums, science museums and aquariums in other cities across the country, all of which we enjoyed - ONCE but our family never begs to return like they beg for the Montshire.