The Chesapeake Children’s Museum is constantly offering special events and weekly activities. In honor of Black History Month, Uncle Remus Stories will be featured in a program at Chesapeake Children’s Museum. The history of these stories is almost as fascinating as the tales themselves. In 1880 Joel Chandler Harris started publishing stories told to him by elderly slave men during his childhood in Georgia. Audiences of all ages (and eventually twenty-seven languages!) warmly received the amusing adventures of Br’er Rabbit that probably were derived from animal tales as ancient as Aesop and Chaucer. In 1946 Walt Disney animated the animals and combined the cartoons with human actors for the first time to create “Song of the South.” The movie was denounced by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as romanticizing slavery and perpetuating demeaning stereotypes. Also indicative of the times, the actor who played Uncle Remus, James Baskett, won an honorary Oscar for his role (the first Oscar awarded to an African American) but could not attend the premier of the film in Atlanta because in the time of segregation, no hotel would give him a room.
The art of storytelling is universal to all cultures. Despite the controversy surrounding “Song of the South” (Disney “retired” the film during the Civil Rights era), the Uncle Remus Stories happen to capture the craft as it was used in a specific time and place in American history – the mid nineteenth century plantation of the south. We hope you agree these stories have timeless lessons for us all.
Saturday, February 9: Uncle Remus Stories
As was the custom of the times, an honored “Uncle” retells the folktales spun on Georgia plantations in the 1800’s. Children (and former children) will be entertained by the lessons to be learned from Br’er Rabbit and his associates. Crafts and other activities will follow. Recommended for ages four and up. 10:30 am. Free with admission.
Sunday, February 10: Chinese New Year Celebration
Greet the Year of the Snake in traditional red clothing and learn other customs related to this nearly five thousand year-old holiday. In China, it’s also everyone’s birthday! Come for storytelling, crafts, and a close encounter with the new year’s honored animal – the Snake! 2 – 4 pm. Free with museum admission.
Friday, March 1 (10 am): Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
Sunday, March 3 (2-3:30): Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
Guest readers (including Mother Goose!) share their favorite Seuss books. Related crafts include painting with oobleck (the weather wish gone horribly wrong) and fanciful hats (the likes of which eventually liberated Bartholomew Cubbins). All ages. Free with museum admission.
Friday, March 8: Lead On, Harriet
Saturday, March 9: Lead On, Harriet
Meet a famous Marylander and take a ride with her on the Underground Railroad. This is the 100thanniversary of Harriet Tubman’s death – the date of her birth is unknown. This program received an award from the Four Rivers Heritage Area in the category of Heritage Program or Event in 2006. Recommended for ages 9 and up. Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts will fulfill requirements for the Underground Railroad patch. Pre-registration is appreciated. 7-9 pm. $10.
Mondays: Baby Sign Language
See how easy it is to communicate with a baby when you add American Sign Language! For adults with babies, ages 4 months to two years. 10 – 10:30 am. Try out a session for $6 (adult and child) or sign up for a full six week class for $30. The class will be repeated, so don’t worry if you have to miss a session.
Tuesdays: Culture Club
Explore the world through hands-on activities using language, art, food, games, music, and clothing from diverse cultures. Different topics each week. 10 am. Free with admission.
Thursdays: Creek Critters
Parents and children alike will enjoy learning about the local environment with indoor and outdoor activities. See what critters live in our woodlands and creek. Share stories, songs, games and crafts. Ages 3 to 10. 10 am. This program is free with admission.
Fridays: Art and Story Time
We are eager to share the passion for great children’s literature and creative visual expression with our younger visitors. Children ages two to five-years-old and their accompanying adults can share books, flannel board stories, puppets, and acting out stories along with related art and craft activities. 10:30 – 11:30 am. This program is free with admission.