Pride Month At the Museums

June is Pride Month, and while celebrations may look a little different this year, many area museums are finding unique ways to honor and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community through virtual events, activities, and exhibits. Check out our curated list for ways to participate in Pride at home: 

Peabody Essex Museum:

Celebrate Pride virtually with PEM’s Pride Party Sunday Tea Dance on Sunday, June 21 starting at 5:00 pm. Read more details about this live-streamed Pride celebration/Summer Solstice/Father’s Day dance party extravaganza here.

Boston by Foot:

On Tuesday, June 23 from 7:00 – 8:00 pm, join Boston by Foot for a special virtual event, “Boston’s LGBTQ Past, celebrating gay and lesbian history and culture in Boston from the 1840s through the 1980s. Learn more about this free event here.

Boston Children’s Museum:

Create your own “Love Is” Hearts to celebrate what love means to you with this activity from the Boston Children’s Museum’s Daily Activity archive. Be sure to check out their Facebook page throughout the month for more Pride-related activities for kiddos.

Harvard Art Museums:

View “Duchess Milan, 69, Los Angeles, CA,” a recently acquired piece from artist Jess T. Dugan’s “To Survive on this Shore,” a series of portraits and interviews with transgender and gender non-conforming older adults.

Museum of Fine Arts:

Tune in on Sunday, June 28 at 2:00 pm for a musical and visual performance from singer-songwriter Anjimile and artist Jess T. Dugan, as part of the Sound Bites: Nancy Lee Clark Concert Series. Learn more about this event here.

And read about Paul Cadmus’s Stone Blossom: A Conversation Piece, and the glimpse he gave into the lives of members of the LGBTQ+ community in mid-century America.

For more ways to celebrate Pride Month, check out the June is Pride Month collection of ebooks and audiobooks on Overdrive/Libby, as well as hoopla’s collections of LGBTQ ebooks, audiobooks, movies, music, and more!

We’re Going on a (Backyard) Safari!

Spring has finally sprung! In New England, that means that nice weather is (hopefully) here to stay and we can all enjoy the great outdoors. It also means that you can observe wildlife galore enjoying the spring sunshine, too. Luckily, our friends over at the Museum of Science, Boston Children’s Museum, and Zoo New England have created some fabulous resources for your family’s flora and fauna explorations.

A great place to start your backyard safari is by listening to the Museum of Science’s Pulsar: A Podcast episode on “Observing Wildlife in Your Backyard.” Biologist Colleen Hitchcock of Brandeis University offers tips and tricks for observing and identifying wildlife that you may see around your house. It is also particularly helpful for observing nature in more urban or highly populated areas, as this episode was originally broadcast as a resource for the City Nature Challenge at the end of April. Be sure to also check out some of their fantastic Family STEM Activities, especially Outdoor Explorers and Ecosystem Exploration, and the Museum’s guides to bird flight pattern identification and butterfly watching for more great activities and ideas for exploring nature in your backyard!

The Boston Children’s Museum also has some wonderful activities designed to get kids outside and in touch with nature. In their Activities Archive, you can find resources for getting creative and going on a National Geographic Neighborhood Safari or Nature Scavenger Hunt. The Museum’s Beyond the Chalkboard educational resource site also includes many great ideas for exploring nature, including how to figure out what wildlife shares your habitat.

Finally, head over to Zoo New England for a wide-array of ideas to connect with nature. Learn how to turn your backyard into a certified wildlife habitat or build a habitat for your favorite animal (if your favorite creature is a butterfly, use their guide to creating a butterfly garden). For the birdwatchers out there, check out the Zoo’s guide to birding in your own backyard, and how to make a bird feeder for your feathered friends. For even more fun, their Kid’s Corner site has lots of awesome nature-inspired activities, including instructions on how to identify trees through touch!

And, of course, we’ve got you covered for all of your bird-watching, butterfly-garden-building, and backyard-exploring reading needs — all free, with your library card, through our Overdrive/Libby and hoopa e-collections:

Pamela Hickman’s Nature All Around series: Trees, Plants, and Bugs

Counting Birds by Heidi E.Y. Stemple

My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valério

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jaqueline Davies

Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons

Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer

Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement by Stephanie Roth Sisson

Can You Hear the Trees Talking? by Peter Wohlleben

Winged Wonders by Meeg Pincus

Common Critters: The Wildlife in Your Neighborhood by Pat Brisson

Kids in the Kitchen: A Curated Collection of Cookbooks and Activities to do at Home

Our friends at the Boston Children’s Museum, the Museum of Science, and Institute of Contemporary Art have been hard at work creating fun and educational STEAM content that you can do at home, even in the kitchen. We’ve rounded up the best-of-the-best kitchen science activities for the whole family to try!

Watch Boston Children’s Museum’s Kitchen Science for Kids YouTube series, which includes how-to videos on making butter, composting with kitchen scraps, and fermenting your own veggies. Their Beyond the Chalkboard site is another great resource for food-related activities, from becoming an effective food detective, to designing a healthy dip for fruits and veggies, to making art with food. Be sure to also check out their daily activity archive for more wonderful and engaging content! 

At the Museum of Science, learn about acids and bases using blueberries and other ingredients in your kitchen! Take a peek at their #MOSatHome page for even more fun family STEM activities, virtual exhibits, and presentations (including a snake taking a bath!). 

And over at the Institute of Contemporary Art, check out their guide for eco-dyeing fabric for crafting using fruit and veggie scraps and other kitchen materials. Interested in more great activities? Their Art Lab at home has everything from DIY flip books to virtual quilts (maybe made with all that fabric you just eco-dyed).

After you’ve tried these awesome activities, work on those kitchen and nutrition skills with this curated list of cookbooks for junior chefs:

On hoopla:

Stir Crack Whisk Bake: A Little Book about Little Cakes by America’s Test Kitchen

This interactive board book walks little bakers through making the tiniest of sweet treats — cupcakes!

Plant, Cook, Eat!: A Children’s Cookbook by Joe Archer & Caroline Craig

This cookbook takes you from the garden to the kitchen with handy tips & tricks for starting a kitchen garden and how to turn your harvest into healthy, delicious, kid-friendly meals.

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke 

Using basic kitchen ingredients, everyone from toddlers to big kids can whip up these exciting experiments at home!

On Libby:

Cooking Class by Deanna F. Cook

Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, this instructive cookbook teaches budding mini chefs basic kitchen techniques and over 50 yummy recipes.

National Geographic Kids Cookbook by Barton Seaver

Part craft and activity book, part how-to and cookbook, master chef Barton Seaver’s National Geographic Kids Cookbook teaches you how to start a kitchen garden, host a family cooking competition, and everything in between.

On hoopla & Libby:

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids

From the pros at America’s Test Kitchen come over 750 kid-tested and approved recipes for all skill levels with the goal of empowering young chefs to feel confident in the kitchen.

On Overdrive and hoopla

The Forest Feast for Kids by Erin Gleeson 

*a hoopla Bonus Borrow through today

This colorful cookbook includes the most kid-friendly recipes from the vegetarian hit The Forest Feast

Music, Museums, and More!

If the coronavirus has cancelled that dream concert you’ve been waiting FOREVER to get tickets to, then it’s time to start that family band and get the show on the road (or at least your living room). Check out these great resources to get inspired and groovy at home with music!

Boston Children’s Museum Drum Circle

Make glass xylophones to learn about sound and vibrations, make a guitar using your body and string, or participate in a virtual drum circle with the Boston Children’s Museum.

Listen to professional musicians play from the Museum of Fine Arts’ collection of over 1,300 instruments, including a harpsichord from 1736, a 19th century fiddle from China, and a slide trumpet from 1835.

Learn from the masters with the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Home School, which includes instrument demonstrations, Youth Concert lesson plans for mini Mozarts and tiny Tchaikovskys, virtual lessons with BSO members, and episodes from WBUR’s Circle Round podcast in partnership with the BSO as part of their Concerts for Very Young People series.

And speaking of Circle Round, check out this excellent, award-winning podcast created for children ages 4 to 10. Each episode adapts a folktale from around the world and turns it into a sound- and music-rich radio play. Listen to Episode 21, ‘What Am I Hearing?’ with composer Eric Shimelonis as he goes through all of the instruments he uses to create music for the podcast.

For further exploration into music and the people that create it, take a look at these great titles for children, available through Libby and hoopla:

On hoopla

Bats in the Band by Brian Lies
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss (audiobook)

Plus check out the hundreds of albums, from Raffi to Disney, available on hoopla Kids

On Libby:

Pete the Cat’s World Tour by James Dean
Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle
Who Was: Popular Musicians by Various (audiobook)
When the Beat was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill

On hoopla & Libby:

Trombone Shorty by Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews 
Check out the ebook or audiobook on Overdrive/Libby and the ebook, movie, or Read Along on hoopla. 

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle
Check out the ebook on Overdrive/Libby or the audiobook, movie, or Read Along on hoopla.

Boston Children’s Museum April Make-A-Thon Challenge

Looking for creative ways to keep your little ones engaged at home? Missing visits to the Boston Children’s Museum? We’ve got you covered!

Boston Children’s Museum presents their first ever Make-A-Thon. The challenge: during the month of April, invent and build something that can help somebody using recycled materials. Check out the Museum’s website for more information.

For some inspiration to get your little global citizens and mini makers going, check out the following titles, available (free with your Marblehead library card!) through our e-collections:

On hoopla:

Inventions That Could Have Changed The World…But Didn’t! by Joe Rhatigan

Simple Inventions series by Liz Huyck

Rad Recycled Art: Easy-to-Make Recycled Projects by Emily Kington

Crafting With Recyclables by Dana Meachen Rau

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (also available on audio — check out the movie and Rosie Revere’s Big Project Book for Bold Engineers, too!)

On Libby: 

Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff

The Kids’ Book of Simple Machines by Kelly Doudna

Smithsonian Maker Lab by Jack Challoner

Good luck and happy inventing!

Visit Our Museums — Virtually!

Did you know: the Abbot Public Library offers free or reduced passes to fourteen of the Boston area’s best museums and attractions?

While these organizations are closed for the time being, they have been working hard behind-the-scenes to bring the museum experience to your home! We will be collecting fun activities and virtual tours created by museum staff and sharing them here with you, along with ways to get the most out of your virtual visit using the library’s digital services. In the meantime, please show our museum partners some love by visiting their websites and social media — there is a lot of wonderful content to find there!

To stay inspired and engaged at home, check out these websites: 

Boston by Foot

Boston Children’s Museum

Cape Ann Museum (our newest museum pass!)

deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum

Harvard Art Museums

The House of the Seven Gables

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Arctic Fox at Stone Zoo

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Science

New England Aquarium

Peabody Essex Museum

Zoo New England

Check back here to the Abbot Public Library Blog for other ways to use the library and to enjoy cultural institutions from home!

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum