Monday, December 17, 2012

Staff Profile: Sharon Rogness

Name: Sharon Rogness

Position: Member Services Coordinator

Hometwon: Moses Lake, Washington

How long have you been at CMOM: 4 and a half months

Favorite exhibit: the Fire Truck

What was your favorite book as a child and why? The Nancy Drew Series--I loved her sense of adventure and her fearlessness.

Hobbies: Yoga, running, photography, and watching Tiger basketball

First museum ever visited: Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport, MS

Fun fact: I was Mrs. Mississippi in 1996!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Program Spotlight—My First Book Club

Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., the four-and-under set gathers for My First Book Club. For this program, guests hear a story (this week, I read the spectacular If You Give a Pig a Pancake--we're big Laura Numeroff fans here at CMOM) and make a craft based on the story (we made pig puppets, as seen above). Then, the kiddies have a healthy snack. Next week, we’re reading the very funny I’m Not Santa. Hope to see you there. My First Book Club is for kids four years old and under.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Staff Profile: Chara Mitchell

Name: Chara Mitchell

Position: Programs Assistant

Hometown: Memphis, TN

How long have you been at CMOM?: 7 months

Favorite exhibit: The Kroger grocery store, of course!

Favorite book as a child: Ramona and Beezus

Hobbies: Party planning

First museum ever visited: The Children’s Museum of Memphis and the Pink Palace

Fun fact: I met Muhammad Ali when I was four years old.

Monday, November 26, 2012

25 Things to do at CMOM

New hula hoops!
 Once again, here are 25 things to do at our musuem!

1. Play checkers on our giant checkerboard
2. Check out the splash park construction (it's opening May 2013!)
3. Have a hula hoop contest with our new hula hoops
4. Take a picture at the new Pinwall
5. See how high you can climb on the climbing wall
6. Climb through the house at The Campground
7. Measure your height and weight in Growing Healthy
8. Arrange and rearrange the organs of the Growing Healthy doll (it’s a little tricky)
9. Build a skyscraper in Creative Construction
10. Play with the new and improved flight simulator
11. Visit the Village Toymaker gift shop
12. See the circulatory system in action in Growing Healthy
13. Check out the giant thermometer in Growing Healthy
14. Grab a partner and play with the musical see-saw
15. Come to Mini Maestro (December 5, 8, 12, and 19)
16. Experience Nature Art Walk (Dec. 1, 15, and 22)
17. See what you can win in Bozo’s Grand Prize Game (Dec. 13 and 16)
18. Join in all the Reindeer games (Dec. 2 and 20)
19. Check out our new 10 Mississippi River facts sign and learn fun facts about the river
20. Check out the quarter of the Northern Mariana Islands (did you know they have one?)
21. Look out for a fun science project on our Mobile Mad Science cart!
22. Make Alex juggle bean bags
23. Play the matching game in Windows to the World
24. Identify the nursery rhymes in the Once Upon a Time quilt
25. Have a toddler basketball challenge in Playscape

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Staff Profile: Alex Smythe

Alex is a jack of all trades!
Name: Alex Smythe

Position: Visitor Service Coordinator

Hometown: Midtown Memphis, TN

How long have you been at CMOM: I have been working here for a little over a month.

Favorite exhibit: I really love the Tree House, I think the paper plane launcher is really fun. Watching kids try to figure it out then when they finally launch a plane and seeing their faces light up is just a great feeling.

Favorite book as a child/why? There was a series called “Redwall” by an author named Brian Jacques. The series was an easy-to-read fantasy about mice living in a kingdom trying to defend themselves against the evil rats. It was a great read. In fact, I picked it up recently to see if it was as good as when I was a kid and I still really enjoyed it.

Hobbies: Too many…I fly traction kites, Photography, soccer, and I am a carpenter.

First museum I ever visited: My earliest memories of museums were both of the Children’s Museum of Memphis, as well as the Pink Palace. I loved museums as a child, I was fascinated in everything and always wanted to learn and understand.

Fun Fact: Before working at the Children’s Museum I was a professional photographer, and I had a darkroom for developing 35mm film in my basement when I was growing up.

Friday, October 19, 2012

2525 Central--A History

When I first started working at CMOM, I became fascinated with the history of our building, which was formerly a National Guard Armory. I wanted more info about the building, so I trotted to the library, looked up some articles about the building, and wrote an article. The article is on our website, but I’d like to include it here as well--because, after two years, I'm still fascinated. And maybe, dear reader, you are too. So here it is:
National Guard Armory
A Short History

Many Memphians are aware that before The Children’s Museum of Memphis occupied 2525 Central, the building was home to a National Guard armory. However, the journey to CMOM has some interesting facts that may have been forgotten.

Plans for a National Guard armory date back to 1932. Construction of the armory was completed 10 years later, and in September 1943, the building was dedicated. The armory housed the 115th Field Artillery. Governor Prentice Cooper was in attendance at the dedication, and called the building “the finest armory in Tennessee” (The Commercial Appeal, 9/7/1943). Also present was Associate Justice Frank H. Gailor of the Supreme Court of Tennessee. Gailor presented the armory to the State Armory Commission, and it was accepted by Adj. General T.A. Frazier, commanding general of the Tennessee State Guard. Mayor Walter Chandler also spoke at the event. Interesting fact: Hollywood Street was previously called “Huguenot.”

By the late 1970s, the building had outlived its usefulness to the Tennessee National Guard. The city and county then engaged in a “squabble” over who would get the title of the armory (Roy Hamilton, Memphis Press-Scimitar, 4/16/77). The city of Memphis gained the title, and construction of a new armory in South Memphis began in the early 1980s. Several plans for the property were discussed; the main plan was for the property to be used for additional parking for the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and the Mid-South Fairgrounds. However, the “possibility of renovating the old armory to handle the sale of state auto tags and city stickers has also been discussed” (Hamilton). Interesting fact: the mayor at the time was Wyeth Chandler, son of Walter Chandler, who was mayor of Memphis when the armory was dedicated.

In 1988, the city agreed to lease the armory to the future Children’s Museum of Memphis for $1 a year. A Commercial Appeal article noted that the “squat masonry building” was no longer used by the National Guard (Thomas Jordan, The Commercial Appeal, 11/16/88). However, the building is not only an interesting figure in Memphis history, but has since hosted thousands of smiling children. Interesting fact: Dick Hackett, mayor of Memphis in 1988, is now CEO of The Children’s Museum of Memphis.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hello September!

Pretty fall leaves
September is here! This means that autumn (my favorite season, by the way) is almost here. September at CMOM will bring some exciting things! For starters, we will be open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Labor Day (September 3). On September 15, there is the Children’s Choice Presidential Election, from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Children can cast their vote for president in this interactive, educational program about voting and the presidential election. They will register to receive their own voting card, create campaign buttons and posters for their favorite candidate, cast their vote in a real voting booth and take part in interactive games, crafts and activities to introduce the presidential election process and our judicial system. Spin the wheel to answer trivia questions about our past presidents and win prizes. All votes will be counted and results posted on our website and in The Commercial Appeal.

 Later this month, there is the second annual Children’s Ball. The Ball will be on September 28, from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. More info can be found here.

Stop by CMOM this month!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Staff Profile: Felicia Peat

Felicia is reading Green Eggs and Ham to enraptured visitors!
 Name: Felicia Peat

Position: Director of Education and Programs

Hometown: Memphis, TN

How long have you been at CMOM? Since May 1993

Favorite exhibit: CMOM-TV

Favorite book as a child: Amelia Bedelia

Hobbies: Reading and swimming

First museum ever visited: The Pink Palace, on a school field trip

Fun fact: I have had stories published. Also, I was Miss LeMoyne-Owen College—the only “Mrs.” to ever become Miss LeMoyne-Owen College—while serving with the Student Government Association of the school.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reading Blast Off!

Here at CMOM, we love to read. A lot. And you do too, right? So take part in our Reading Blast Off! Challenge on Friday, July 20. The event is from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Come into the museum to enjoy face painting and balloon art by Parties with Pizzazz and receive a free book to start reading 7 books in 7 days or 7 chapters in 7 days. You may pick up your reading form at the admission desk or download it from the Education page on our website at All completed forms must be turned in to The Children’s Museum of Memphis admissions desk by July 31 to receive up to $7.00 in Blast Off Bucks that may be used in The Village Toymaker Gift Shop CMOM location. See you there!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lost & Found

Here at CMOM, we occasionally discover lost items...including barrettes! I noticed this when I first started working here, and at the beginning of this year, I decided to see how many barrettes could be collected in a few months.  Turns out, quite a few! And such a variety! Some of my co-workers learned of my little "collection," and brought me some of the hair ornaments you see in the picture. By the way, if you see one that belongs to you, let me know!

P.S. I know this is a little odd, and I am grateful that my co-workers are awesomely non-judgemental of my idiosyncrasies!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jammin' to the Music!

We're lining up an all-star cast of continuous stage performances for our second annual Jammin’ to the Music event, which is this Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. We'll have pony rides, rock climbing wall with bungee trampolines, moonwalk, face painting, crafts, and concessions. Also, music by Brittany Russell, Lil P-Nut, The Friendzies, Lady Trinity and Thunderpunch is sure to rock the front lawn! The event is sponsored by Amerispan Tents, Inc., Blue Bell Creameries, Inc., Bunny Bread, King Cotton and Kroger. Members Free; Non-Members $15 (Cancelled in case of rain).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Staff Profile: Vania Rentrop

Name: Vania Rentrop

Position: Gallery assistant/cashier

Hometown: Memphis, TN

How long have you been at CMOM?: Almost two months!

Favorite exhibit: the Treehouse

Favorite book as a child: Corduroy by Don Freeman. I felt that my adventurous (mischievous) nature was conveyed well within those pages.

Hobbies: In my spare time, I enjoy baking and cooking. I also consider myself a bookworm and a camera nerd.

First museum ever visited: The Pink Palace

Fun fact: I have visited all 48 continental U.S. states in my dad's 18-wheeler.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring at CMOM

Dear reader, it’s been so long since I’ve blogged! So sorry. Spring is here (yay!) and some fun things are happening at CMOM this month. In honor of Earth Day, we are doing Eco Art on April 21 and April 27, at 11 a.m. Also, Jammin’ to the Music is April 28, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. There will be pony rides, rock climbing wall with bungee trampolines, moonwalk, face painting, crafts, concessions, and music by Lil P-Nut and The Friendzies! Sponsored by Amerispan Tents, Inc., Blue Bell Creameries, Inc., Bunny Bread, King Cotton and Kroger. Members Free; Non-Members $15 (Cancelled in case of rain). Stop by CMOM this month!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Seussical Birthday

Get excited, dear readers! This Friday, March 2, CMOM is celebrating Dr. Seuss' birthday with a variety of activities (from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.) Kids can make their own elephant ears (like Horton), participate in a scavenger hunt, listen to Dr. Seuss stories...and meet a very special guest! Don't forget to wear red and white like the Cat in the Hat. We hope to see you there!

By the way, here's my favorite Dr. Seuss quote (from The Cat in the Hat Comes Back):
When our mother went
Down to the town for the day,
She said, "Somebody has to
Clean all this away.
Somebody, SOMEBODY
Has to, you see."
Then she picked out two Somebodies.
Sally and me.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Henri Rousseau

For today's Fabulous Fine Art, we focused on Henri Rousseau (1844 - 1910), a French painter. He is best known for his jungle paintings. The kids made their own jungle scenes--and each one reflects the individual's imagination (that's very important to us here at CMOM)!

Sorry about my shadow in the above picture. Next week's Fabulous Fine Art focus is the spectacular Andy Warhol. The program is every Saturday at 11 a.m. See you there!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Mitten

Today for My First Book Club, we read The Mitten by Jan Brett. The story is based on a Russian folktale about a series of animals who seek warmth in a cozy mitten. We then made our own mittens, and filled them with all the animals in the story. Join us for next week's My First Book Club. We'll be reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar. See you there!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Snowy Day!

Today for My First Book Club, we read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. The author won the 1963 Caldecott Medal for this wonderful story. In the story, Peter looks out the window and sees tons of snow. So we made our own Snowy Day window scenes with fingerpaint. Next week's story is The Enormous Potato. See you there!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Staff Profile: Rena Gatewood

Name: Rena Gatewood
Position: Gallery Assistant
Hometown: Memphis, TN
How long have you been at CMOM? Two months
Favorite exhibit: The Dentist's Office
What was your favorite book as a child? Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Hobbies: Bike riding and reading
First museum ever visited: The Pink Palace
Fun fact: I started out as a teen volunteer during the summer of 2011.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Goodnight Moon

Today for My First Book Club, we read Goodnight Moon, and made "Goodnight Moon" mobiles. Such a great story by Margaret Wise Brown. My First Book Club is every Tuesday at 10 a.m. Next week's story is The Hat by Jan Brett. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

Today for Book Worms, we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Then we made our own coconut trees using markers and foam alphabet letters. While doing the craft we listened to "Chicka Chicka Funk" (a fun little rendition of the story). It was a blast! Next week for Book Worms, we're reading Clifford, the Big Red Dog. See you there!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Balancing Act is Leaving on January 15!

Come see this fun exhibit before it leaves and learn to balance things...just like Jana!