Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Great Bubble Blow-Out

On Saturday, October 25, the Children’s Museum of St. Johns (CMSJ) debuted its newest hands-on, interactive activity for children at Ancient City Kids Day, a festival for children sponsored by EPIC Community Services. CMSJ joined numerous other family-focused organizations sponsoring booths at the festival featuring numerous activities and games for children, food, and performing arts.

“The Great Bubble Blow-Out” is literally a “festival of bubbles,” according to exhibit designer and CMSJ board member Charlene Cross, and will be featured at CMSJ’s “museum without walls”—a series of tents pitched on the grounds of the Francis Special Events Field in downtown St. Augustine.
Kids rotated to various “bubble stations” where they can made monster (huge) bubbles, body bubbles, bubble windows, and skeleton bubbles. They experimented with different utensils— including just their hands—to blow all kinds of bubbles, learn bubble “magic” tricks, and even make a bubble as big as they are.

“Bubbles are just good clean fun,” says Cross, who was an exhibit designer at the Baltimore Museum of Science prior to relocating to St. Augustine. “And adults love them as much as kids do.”

She also pointed out their educational value: “Bubbles—their structure and dynamics—are studied by scientists, mathematicians, and architects.” Case in point: the National Aquatics Center, built for the 2008 Summer Olympics held this summer in Beijing, China , with its translucent, blue-toned outside skin resembling a cube of bubbles.

Participants were encouraged to experiment with their bubble creations, ask questions, and examine the results: Can you blow a bubble inside a bubble? Look at the places where bubbles meet—can you make a bubble with straight sides? What do things look like through a bubble wall?
In addition to bubble stations, kids also tried their hand making bubble art. By blowing bubbles into a solution of paint and bubble solution, they created a nexus of colored bubbles, which they will transferred to paper. This art will be used to decorate the Children’s Museum float for the St. Augustine Christmas Parade on December 6. All activities offered at Ancient City Kids Day were free to the more than 1,200 participants in attendance, thanks to event sponsors.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Message from our President

Dear Friends,
It is with great enthusiasm that the Children's Museum of St. Johns begins its second year, and I am excited to continue working to achieve the vision of the founding members of our organization: to create a facility within St. Johns County that offers interactive experiences for children and families which inspire creativity and a lifelong love of learning.

Year One is Distinguished with AccomplishmentsLast year was filled with accomplishments: we became a legal entity by filing our Articles of Incorporation with the State of Florida; we were designated an official tax exempt 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization by the IRS; we launched our website,; we put together an exciting hands-on exhibit, "Walk Like a Timucuan", which was offered to community children at Ancient City Kids Day 2007 and at the 2008 Lighthouse Festival; we held a series of community roundtable meetings to generate feedback from the community on our mission; we hosted "Just Tri It!", our first annual kids' triathlon; we assembled a wonderfully dedicated 16-member board of directors; and we established the CMSJ Community, a nearly 1,000-person mailing list of individuals interested in helping make CMSJ a reality.

We truly appreciate all groups and individuals who have made contributions to CMSJ, both financial and otherwise. Though we made a tremendous amount of progress last year, we are still working to achieve our goals and CMSJ will become a reality only with continued support. We will look to you, the CMSJ Community, as a source for volunteers, feedback, and advocates who can help to generate awareness and enthusiasm for CMSJ within St. Johns County.

Goal Number One for Year Two-Finding a Home for CMSJ!
One of our primary goals for this year is to locate a physical site for CMSJ. We have a Site Selection Committee dedicated to achieving this goal. Led by one of our newest board members, Mary Ann Dufresne, they are working hard to find a site that is easily accessible for both residents and visitors, meets our aesthetic goals and mission statement, and invites children to learn through fantasy and play. We will keep the CMSJ Community apprised of any new developments regarding site selection and perhaps seek to obtain feedback from you regarding potential locations and amenities.

Please Join Us for Upcoming Events!
We have many exciting events planned for 2008-2009. On Saturday, October 25, 2008, CMSJ will debut its newest hands-on, interactive activity "The Great Bubble Blow-Out" at Ancient City Kids Day. On Saturday, December 6, 2008, CMSJ will sponsor a float in the St. Augustine Christmas Parade. On Sunday, December 14, 2008, CMSJ will host a holiday fundraiser at the Limelight Theater, a matinee performance of a family favorite - "Annie Junior!" CMSJ will participate in the Annual Lighthouse Festival in March 2009, and CMSJ will sponsor its second annual kids' triathlon, "Just Tri It!", in Spring 2009. Additional details regarding these events will be posted on our website and announced in our online newsletters.

Thank you again for your support. Your continued interest and enthusiasm is a vital component in the creation of CMSJ. With your help, CMSJ is certain to become a permanent and valuable fixture in our community.

Jennifer Koppman
President, Children's Museum of St. Johns