Out & About: Montshire Museum’s bubble videos bring a little pop science to kids at home

  • While Upper Valley residents may not be able to visit the Montshire Museum of Science's popular bubble exhibit, pictured above, staff from the nonprofit organization are working on connecting with visitors remotely through videos featuring science experiments and activities. (Montshire Museum of Science photograph) Montshire Museum of Science

Valley News Calendar Editor
Published: 3/28/2020 9:46:01 PM
Modified: 3/28/2020 9:45:59 PM

After the Montshire Museum of Science closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, staff immediately started thinking of ways they could keep bringing the charms of the Norwich-based nonprofit organization to children.

They started with bubbles.

Anyone who has been to the Montshire is familiar with its beloved bubble exhibit, where visitors can create and play with the soapy globs. While the Montshire’s exhibits are directed at children, people of all ages (myself included) find them fun.

Last Monday, Montshire staff — practicing social distancing themselves from their homes — began creating a series of videos and activities about the science of bubbles.

“We were trying to think about what things would translate across this platform online but also what specials about the Montshire that people want to have those memories or connect with,” Lisa Brahms, director of education at the museum, said in an interview on video-chatting service Zoom.

The first video featured science educator Katie Price, who used props she had left over from Halloween to explain the science of suds. A recipe for making your own bubbles was posted on the museum’s website and its Facebook page.

“Our educators are so connected with the community, so it’s great to have videos of them, their familiar faces, engaging with the kids from their own homes,” Trish Palao, the Montshire’s marketing and communications manager, said in an interview.

Throughout the week, new activities related to bubbles were posted, including a scavenger hunt around the house for bubble wands (Hint: Slotted spoons can be pretty fun) and how to use straws, string and soap to create a giant bubble. (I can’t wait to try this one out.)

“What we’re working toward is getting visitors to take these ideas and send us their contributions back,” Brahms said.

Beginning Monday, the theme will switch to seeds. To find themes, the museum is “really trying to look across science domains and kind of tap the expertise of our staff,” Brahms said.

They’re also keeping it casual and sticking to items people usually already have in their homes. If not, they’re encouraged to improvise.

“I think there’s a need for different activities and it’s nice to be one of the resources that parents can turn to during this time,” Palao said.

Every day, the staff is brainstorming new ways to stay connected to people and find a little joy during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s pushing us to be creative, which is fun,” Brahms said.

Editor’s note: For more information about the Montshire activities, visit montshire.org/online-resources.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.

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