Coffee with The Concord Museum Woke Me Up to a World of Family Fun and Education

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a morning coffee social at a lovely home in Concord to learn more about the family programs planned at The Concord Museum.  Susan Foster, the Director of Education at this wonderfully historic place, gave an informative and contagiously lively presentation about upcoming family programs and how we as parents can make the most out of a family visit to the Museum.

Living less than 10 miles from the Museum, and being in the business I am in, I was appalled at how little I knew about this gem of an attraction.  The Concord Museum’s outstanding Americana collection has been recognized for its national significance by curators, historians, educators and visitors for more than a century.  The Museum displays these treasures in self-touring history galleries, period room settings and decorative arts galleries.  Special exhibitions explore topics as rich and varied as clockmaking, tea drinking, toys and memories, the Concord grape, and maps of early America.

I suppose I have been avoiding a visit because a) my 2-year old can be a bit destructive; and b) I had this perception that my 4-year old might be bored.  Boy was I wrong!  Ms. Foster enlightened all of us about the dizzying array of holiday festivities this month which are representative of the family initiatives this museum spearheads all year long.

This past weekend was Piecing it Together, a celebration of quilts, which was our ZipPick of the Week in last week’s ZipNews.  This wonderful exhibit involved an interactive display of antique quilts, hands-on activities, storytelling and fascinating demonstrations.

Starting Friday and running through January 2, Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature cannot be missed.  Organized by the Guild of Volunteers, thirty-five fanciful trees decorated with inspiration from classic and contemporary children’s books will be on display.

On Friday evening, plan a date night and toast the 15th annual Family Trees with a champagne welcome (7:00-8:00) and a visit to whimsically decorated trees.  Spark your holiday spirit with cocktails and the culinary creations of Chef Ben Elliott. Bid on themed holiday stockings filled with gifts. Fund special Concord Museum projects through the Giving Tree.  The cost is $150 Benefactor; $100 Friend.  Reserve your table by calling (978) 369-9763.

Now the trees are only the beginning!  On Saturday, December 4, meet some of the wonderfully talented authors and illustrators whose books inspired this festive exhibit for Author/Illustrator Day at Family Trees. These special guests will be located throughout the Museum near their “Family Tree,” to talk with visitors and sign copies of their book. Included are Clare Beaton, illustrator of One Moose, Twenty Mice; Gregory Maguire, author of Leaping Beauty and honorary chair of Family Trees; Lee Kingman, author of The Best Christmas; Ed Emberley, author of Chicken Little; Terry Golson, author of Tillie Lays an Egg; Peter Reynolds, author and illustrator of The Dot; Carolyn Curtis, author of I Took the Moon for a Walk; Susan Meddaugh, author and illustrator of Martha Speaks; Dan Page and Mark Bellerose, author and illustrator of I’ve Lost My First Tooth. Author/Illustrator Day is free with Family Trees admission.

Also beginning on Saturday at 1:30 and 2:30, Meet Classic Picture Book Characters each weekend day from December 4 through January 2. The schedule is as follows:

• December 4 & 5 – Spot! This forever young puppy, who always seems to find himself a new adventure, celebrates his 30th anniversary in 2010.

• December 11 & 12 – Martha, the loquacious pet pooch, is also the star of a popular PBS series.

• December 18 & 19, 26 – Toot and Puddle! These two delightful pig friends are the main characters in ten highly acclaimed picture books.

• January 1 & 2 – Llama Llama! The beloved Llama Llama series of books is brought to life with this charming character appropriately dressed in red pajamas!

On Saturday, December 11, reserve your space for a Morning with Santa!  Spaces are limited.  Enjoy conversation and a photograph with Santa, a visit to Family Trees with a special treasure hunt, and a whole roomful of engaging seasonal activities including face painting, treasure hunts, cookie decorating, letters to Santa and more!

You can view The Concord Museum’s  calendar of events or visit Ziptivity to learn more about their upcoming events for not just you, but the kids too!

Who?                    The whole family!

What?                   The Concord Museum

Where?                Cambridge Turnpike at Lexington Road, Concord, MA  01742

When?                 December 3 – January 2.  Museum hours: Monday-Saturday 9-5; Sunday 12-5. The Museum is closed at 1:00 on December 24 and all day December 25. The Museum is open on New Year’s Day!

How much?        $6-$15 per person.

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