SUNY Poly Children’s Museum of Science and Technology to Open New Native Voices: New England Tribal Families Exhibit

SUNY Poly Children’s Museum of Science and Technology to Open New Native Voices: New England Tribal Families Exhibit

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 09:39
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Media Contact: Catherine Gilbert, SUNY Poly CMOST VP | | (518) 235-2120

TROY, NY -- SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s (SUNY Poly) Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) is announcing the opening of the Native Voices: New England Tribal Families exhibit on Thursday, June 29, 2017. The experience provides an introduction to native communities around New England. By visiting five different communities from northern to southern New England, museum visitors are able to learn about Native American traditions and how modern families balance contemporary life with preservation of important cultural identities.
“SUNY Poly CMOST is proud to offer this powerful, hands-on exhibit that shows a more multi-dimensional view of tribal families’ history and current experiences than is often provided in textbooks and schools to many students,” said SUNY Poly CMOST VP Catherine Gilbert. “We are thrilled that this approach to education will offer children and their families a chance to further appreciate and understand rich cultural histories and how they impact all of us today. Significantly, CMOST is grateful to our local sponsor Community Resource Federal Credit Union for their support that has allowed us to inspire our visitors with this exhibit.”
Created by Boston Children’s Museum (BCM) and sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Ocean Spray, this exhibit represents a unique collaboration between native advisors and the Museum’s exhibit design team. It builds on 60 years of collaboration between the Museum and native tribes in New England. The hands-on activities, compelling immersive environments, and evocative artifacts, both old and new, provide a great way to learn about how all cultures preserve important values and hand them down from one generation to the next.
Native Voices: New England Tribal Families takes visitors to SUNY Poly CMOST through four New England seasons and shares stories, songs, and cultural materials that illustrate strong and enduring connections between tribes and their traditional homelands. Visitors will meet members of the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot of Maine, the Narragansett of Rhode Island, and the Aquinnah Wampanoag and Mashpee Wampanoag of Massachusetts through a tour of environments and through engaging activities. Visitors can toboggan down a hill in Maine with young members of the Penobscot tribe, practice beading in an artist's studio on Cape Cod, meet students in a classroom at the Nuweetooun Tribal School in Rhode Island, explore a cranberry bog and the Aquinnah Tribal Museum on Martha's Vineyard and follow a journey to Pow Wows across the United States and Canada. Taking attendees far beyond the usual tales of the "people who met the Pilgrims," this hands-on exploration introduces five thriving New England communities as they work to balance cultural traditions with life in a modern world.
“Native Voices represents the best we have to offer as it brings together the Museum’s world class collections, our outstanding exhibit design and production team, and our renowned education programs in a groundbreaking exhibit that showcases the rich history and culture of New England’s native communities,” said Carole Charnow, President & CEO, Boston Children’s Museum.
Part of BCM’s stunning collection of cultural materials from New England tribes is highlighted in the exhibition. The Museum’s extensive permanent collection of 50,000 objects includes 6,000 items representing Native American communities, much of it purchased from contemporary native artists dating back to the 1920s. The dynamic contrast between old and new – traditional beading on deerskin compared with an elaborately beaded pair of Keds sneakers is part of the charm of this exhibition.
“The NEH is pleased to be a supporter of what promises to be an outstanding exhibition. One of the agency's current interests is projects that promote cross-cultural understanding and that enable people to appreciate different world views. Native Voices will accomplish that in creative ways, and it will involve entire families in exploring cultural traditions that are not well known but which are nonetheless a vital part of our shared national experience,” said John Meredith, NEH Senior Program Officer, Division of Public Programs.
As a part of Ocean Spray’s ongoing commitment to educate consumers about the taste, health, and heritage of the cranberry, Ocean Spray enables the exhibit to travel to museums such as SUNY Poly CMOST, enhancing it and providing insight into the importance and role of the cranberry in Native American tradition through educational and informative displays and activities that consist of:

  • Cranberry Bog Photo Wall with cranberry fact windows
  • Walkable Cranberry Bog Mat
  • Working Cranberry Bounce Board
  • Live Cranberry Bog in a box

“Ocean Spray is thrilled to partner with Boston’s Children’s Museum on such a wonderful exhibit filled with New England culture and tradition,” said Ken Romanzi, Ocean Spray’s chief operating officer, North America. At Ocean Spray we pride ourselves on continuing tradition established by our growers more than 80 years ago and are proud to support local Native Americans by educating families on their values and culture.”

Native Voices: New England Tribal Families was created in collaboration with a distinguished Native American advisory board of tribal members, historians, and academics.
"As a Narragansett woman, mother, and leader, I believe it is extremely important to educate the public regarding our history, culture, arts and sciences that tell our story over time of where we have been, who we are, and how we will prepare our children for the future," said Loren Spears, Native Voices Advisory Board, Narragansett, director of the Tomaquag Museum and Neewetoun School.
Native Voices: New England Tribal Families debuted at Boston Children’s Museum in Summer of 2012 before embarking on a three-year tour including stops in Norwalk, Connecticut; St. Paul, Minnesota; San Jose, California; and Long Island, New York. All exhibit text is written out in Spanish and English. In addition, native languages are featured throughout the exhibit.
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About the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology
Chartered by the Board of Regents on behalf of the NYS Education Department in 1954, the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology (CMOST) is the area’s only science center designed specifically for children. In pursuit of our mission, CMOST provides an engaging, child-directed learning environment which enables children to learn and grow through play. Designed for children ages 18 months through the tween years, the Museum enables children to investigate, observe, analyze, and build in a pressure-free environment by pairing innovative educational tools and techniques with engaging exhibits and facilitated programming to support active learning. CMOST offers a unique suite of STE(a)M learning experiences including school and community programs; mini-make workshops; summer and vacation day camps; camp-ins; and daily Museum Educator facilitated activities that help children make important connections between science, the world and everyday life. Beyond the Museum, CMOST’s Traveling Programs feature hands-on STE(a)M activities, turning classrooms, libraries and community centers into learning labs.
About Boston Children’s Museum
Boston Children’s Museum exists to help children understand and enjoy the world in which they live.  It is a private, non-profit, educational institution that is recognized internationally as a research and development center and pacesetter for children's exhibitions, educational programs and curriculum.  Boston Children’s Museum incorporates two strategies – engaging families and building communities – to impact five outcome areas for children: Creative Kids, Curious Kids, Global Kids, Green Kids and Healthy Kids. More information about Boston Children’s Museum can be found at
About National Endowment for the Humanities
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge, and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, museum exhibitions, and programs in libraries and other community places. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available on the Internet at
About Ocean Spray
Ocean Spray is an agricultural cooperative owned by more than 600 cranberry growers in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and other parts of Canada as well as more than 50 Florida grapefruit growers. Ocean Spray was formed over 75 years ago by three cranberry growers from Massachusetts and New Jersey. Florida grapefruit growers joined the Cooperative in 1976. Ocean Spray is North America’s leading producer of canned and bottled juices and juice drinks, and has been the best-selling brand name in the canned and bottled juice category since 1981. Ocean Spray posted fiscal 2008 sales of $1.9 billion.