Thirteen Moons – An Abenaki Child’s Year

Thirteen Moons – An Abenaki Child’s Year EXHIBIT

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover creates a special art exhibition of the every day life of a child living in an Abenaki village prior to the arrival of Europeans. “Thirteen Moons – An Abenaki Child’s Year” is on view March 4 through September 3, 2017 and uses photography, drawings, diagrams, scale models, artifacts, text, and stories/myths that illustrate the Abenaki experience. The art exhibition is structured around the thirteen months of the lunar calendar.

Thirteen Moons – An Abenaki Child’s Year

“When we decided on the topic of Wabanaki culture from before European contact for this year’s MOSAIC exhibition, I knew it would be challenging but it has also been very rewarding,” shared Tess Feltes, CMNH Gallery 6 Curator. “Research was challenging. Because the Wabanaki had no written language, I couldn’t find first-person accounts. This culture was passed down through stories and a rich oral tradition. So when the estimated 500,000 people living in this area in the 1500s were wiped out by either disease, warfare, or driven from their villages for colonial settlement, their ‘voice’ was silenced. Existing documents were written by colonists and were distorted by fear, ignorance and cultural bias, reflecting the colonists’ own concerns.”

With the help of Native American consultants Denise and Paul Pouliot of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People, Joyce Heywood, President of the New England Native American Institute, and the Mount Kearsarge Museum in Warner, NH, the exhibition and related programming took shape. In addition, the art on view in Gallery 6 was created by talented local artists Jeannie Brett, Cori Caputo, Joyce Johnson, Taylore Kelly, Vita Lane, Robert Squier, Teri Weidner, Joe Reardon, and Pamela Tarbell and feature images of what an Abenaki child might see or experience in a typical lunar year.

The museum’s Naturalist Study exhibit also relates to the “Thirteen Moons” exhibition by incorporating Wabanaki artifacts including toys, baskets, tools, and a life-size stuffed beaver on loan from the Woodman Museum in Dover. Also in that space are interactive Native American paper dolls which visitors can dress with traditional clothing worn by children from across the many tribes living in the United States before European contact.

The museum’s Muse Studio, a space specifically designed for art and creativity exploration, will host crafty drop-in projects related to “Thirteen Moons” all spring and summer.

The MOSAIC exhibition will be on view through Sunday, September 3 and is sponsored by Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the Fuller Foundation.

As always, no admission fee is required to view the art in Gallery 6. Regular admission applies for families who wish to also explore the rest of the Museum. To learn more about this art exhibition or about the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire please visit


About the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire

The not-for-profit Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is located at 6 Washington Street in Dover and offers two levels of hands-on, interactive exhibits for children from newborn to middle school. Children can explore a wide range of subjects, from dinosaurs, music and aeronautics to world cultures, art and natural history. Open year-round, the Silver LEED-certified museum specializes in creating memorable family learning experiences and works closely with schools, social service agencies and educators. The museum also hosts a variety of live performances, workshops, classes and special events for families. For more information, please call the museum at (603) 742-2002 or visit


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