Children’s Museum of Bloomsburg opens new Native American exhibit
Where: Children’s Museum, 2 West 7th St., Bloomsburg
Contact: 570-389-9206, the-childrens-museum-org
Regular museum hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays
Allan & Carla Messinger, Diane Wukovitz, Tonya Boston Sagar & Ann Marie Peckham, (3 women were chief planners for the Native American room)
Carla and Allan Messinger from Native American Heritage Programs worked with the staff and volunteers from the Children’s Museum of Bloomsburg to prepare an interactive Native Room sharing Lenape and other mid-Pennsylvanian Native Cultures. A dedicated group of volunteers became eager to help museum visitors learn about the people who inhabited the land along the Susquehanna and Delaware river for thousands of years.
Thanks to researchers, artists, designers and people with technical know-how, visitors can press a button and see a map light up, delineating the pathways Native Americans traveled between Nescopeck and Bethlehem, between Minisink and Philadelphia along with many other journeys. The program Seasons of the Lenape by William Sauts Bock, a famous Lenape artist and book illustrator whose works are exhibited in major private and public collections worldwide, including United Nations buildings, US State Department, and US Embassies, plays in the room.
Standing before a winter/spring exhibit, you can put on a pair of headphones and hear a woman’s voice explain how she gathered sap from maple trees and heated it to make syrup at that time of year. As you listen, you can admire co-Karl Beamer’s sculpture of the sap collector as well as a mural that depicts the woman’s husband, wearing snow shoes on a hunting trip.
The summer/autumn display contains more Beamer sculptures, including a boy poised to scare crows away from his family’s crops. Listen through the headset and a boy’s voice will explain that’s his baby sister hanging from a tree, strapped into an AMBESON (cradle board) and entertained by strands of seashells. The shells would have amused the baby when they moved with the breeze, Boston-Sagar said. “Like a mobile.” There is also a discovery activity table in the room and an sample longhouse in an adjacent room.
Native American room summer fall: planners and technical, native American room: Front row–Karl Beamer (muralist and sculptor), Tonya Boston-Sagar (research and development of diorama), Phil Pelletier (builders, carpentry, technical), Ann Marie Peckham (planner, composition), Diane Wukovitz (research, coordinator, graphics) Back Row: Vic Klein (technical)
(Additional: Ann Marie has been muralist at Museum for years–she did the mural in the longhouse, Diane has been serving as VP of Exhibits for years and spearheads projects)