November 3, 2014
A special gem in the Monadnock region, the Mariposa Museum is a cultural center, a social engagement organization, a trip around the world, and a venue for world class performances from the region and far abroad. Music and performance have been part of the Mariposa since it first opened in 2002. The Performance Center on the second floor was originally a church sanctuary, offering excellent acoustics where musicians require minimal, if any, amplification. Local musicians, including Animaterra, Hunt and Allison, Apple Hill String Quartet and Lachrimae have all performed here. Memorable concerts in the past few years include Sarah Lee Guthrie (Woody’s granddaughter) and Johnny Irion, the Bullock Brothers gospel group (celebrating Black American Spirituals with artist and children’s book author Ashley Bryan), and La Donna Musicale.
On November 8, the Mariposa hosts the Ugandan Kid’s Choir. The group is on national tour across the U.S. and contacted the Mariposa as a venue. “The timing worked for our World of Chocolate exhibit,” said Karla Karla Hostetler, museum director. “[World of Chocolate] looks at the chocolate industry, in part through the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which turns 50 this year), and also through the way the world is connected through chocolate. Uganda has a small cacao growing industry which is a growing part of its economic strategy. By bringing the Uganda Kids Choir, we’re drawing attention to this country and its unique heritage and also some of the other Charlie Buckets in the world – the young performers in this choir all come from economically challenged backgrounds. This is a wonderful way for them to share their talent and see the world, and we are proud to be hosting them.” The concert, organized by Childcare Worldwide, a child sponsorship organization and ministry, supports educational programs in Uganda, features African folklore, music and dance. Tickets for the concert are $15.00; advance reservations are recommended.
The Mariposa – which in Spanish means butterfly, asymbol for transformation in many cultures -- has artifacts from six continents, including a musical instrument collection that visitors are welcome to play. Special exhibits of folk art and fine art, performances, film, and discussions are all part of the museum’s programming. The day of my visit the first floor was transformed into Willy Wonka’s Invention Room where three boys were catching “cotton candy” balls from the Cloud Candy Inventing Machine. Upstairs in the performance area, three Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in India were sitting on the floor, creating a sand mandala of peace symbols from around the world, while visitors sat and watched, wrote, or meditated. Other monks from the delegation were taking a break downstairs, which also houses a gift shop of clothing, crafts and jewelry from around the world.
In addition to its exhibits and presentations, the Mariposa has a thriving education program. During the past academic year, 2400 K -6th grade students visited the Mariposa with their classes. And in their own schools, more than 3000 middle and high school students saw the play Dreaming Again, a production by the NH Theater Project and presented by Mariposa, about New Hampshire’s immigration story from 300 years through present day. Another project underway is the Yes Program (Youth Empowered through Service) at ConVal High School, where young people learn about community needs and how nonprofits are meeting those needs. The YES program is a six-week unit in an American Government class, required for graduation. The Mariposa also offers professional development to teachers and curriculum trunks full of books, lesson plans, and artifacts designed to bring cultures, and in particular immigration, to life from a young person’s point of view in the classroom.
The Mariposa is joining many other museums in moving beyond the brick and mortar and examining their relevance to the community. “We are twelve years old, and while the space we have here in Peterborough is small, the topics we are addressing and the audience we need to reach are large,” Karla said. “Understanding each other as we experience having to share resources, communities, and the earth is the issue of our time; it is necessary for our survival on this planet. Museums are where families and communities come together, both within and beyond a physical building and structure. We are continuing to be committed to serving the Monadnock region while looking to what we can do around the state – especially in partnership with schools and teachers. We are a state wide resource.”
The World of Chocolate exhibit is on display through January 31. Mariposa Museum is located on 26 Main Street in Peterborough and is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For tickets and more information about these special events and Mariposa’s programming, go to mariposamuseum.org.
What is Monadnotes?
Monadnotes promotes live music opportunities in the southwestern New Hampshire area. We list musicians, venues, community ensembles, and events in Keene, Peterborough, Milford, Henniker and surrounding towns, as well as in the greater Connecticut River Valley and Pioneer Valley regions. Monadnotes has the most complete calendar listing of events and continues to expand. Contact us to be listed on our website.