“The Power of Children” Exhibit is an unique collaboration

Photo provided.
Anne Frank. Photo provided.
Ruby Bridges. Photo provided.
Ruby Bridges. Photo provided.
Ryan White. Photo provided.
Ryan White. Photo provided.


KEENE, N.H. – Cheshire Children’s Museum and Keene State College Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery are collaborating on an important exhibit titled “The Power of Children.” It features the story and voices of three courageous children and their involvement in a trio of world-changing events.

Anne Frank amidst the terror of the 1940’s Holocaust, Ruby Bridges as a first-grade student in newly desegregated Louisiana schools in 1960, and Ryan White as a young teenager with hemophilia who, in 1984, became the face of AIDS and whose impact lives on today in federal Ryan White funding for people living with HIV/AIDS.

The exhibit explores the problems of isolation, fear, misinformation and prejudice through unique, personalized, explanatory exhibits that engage viewers to immerse themselves in the lives of these three role models. The CCM is the only children’s museum (except the originating museum in Indianapolis, IN) and one of just two locations in New England that will host this important 1800 square foot exhibit.

Through audio-visual presentations, original artifacts, and hands-on interactive displays, visitors will get to know each child’s story. The CCM will also feature live performances from local actors along with immersive environments that will bring the guests into the spaces where each child felt safe.  The exhibit aspires to show the power that voice, words, and actions can have when people are faced with hatred, racism, and discrimination. At the exhibit’s end, visitors are challenged to find ways that they can make a difference.

The CCM exhibit will open to the public on Sept. 1 and conclude on Oct. 20. It is geared toward adults and children ages eight and older. There is a fee for admission.

A speakers’ series will occur in conjunction with the exhibit:

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m., Congregation Ahavas Achim, 84 Hastings Ave, Keene

Kati Preston is a Holocaust survivor and will present, “Holocaust to Healing” sponsored by C & S Wholesale Grocers. For more information visit http://www.katipreston.com/.

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 6 p.m., Cheshire Children’s Museum, Keene

Sandra and Rich Wallace, authors of a book on Keene civil rights hero, Jonathan Daniels; “Blood Brother:  Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights.” For more information visit http://sandraneilwallace.com/.

Thursday, Oct. 6, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, Keene State College, Keene and 6-8 p.m., Cheshire Children’s Museum, Keene

Jeanne White-Ginder, mother of Ryan White, will share her story and mingle with parents and children. For more information visit http://www.theaidsinstitute.org


Simultaneously, the Thorne Gallery will host an exhibit from the New York Public Library entitled, “Why We Fight:  Remembering AIDS Activism,” from Oct. 3 – Dec. 3.  This archival show in the 35th year of the AIDS pandemic focuses on the contributions of those artists and activists whose work was undertaken in New York City, an early epicenter for both the recognition of the disease and the grassroots response to the epidemic.


Brian Wallace, Director of the Thorne Gallery, hopes that the exhibit will provide an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and the community to engage in acknowledging such an important historic milestone.  “As our community seeks solutions to challenges such as addiction, injustice, and isolation, it is instructive — and, we hope, inspirational — to look at past creative collaborations such as the AIDS quilt and other forms of activism and engagement. The Thorne is happy to work with campus partners, with our friends at CCM and across the region to help keep these stories alive.”


The 12’x12’ section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt which includes a memoriam panel for Ryan White will also be on display in the Thorne Art Gallery Oct. 4-6, and the Cheshire Children’s Museum Oct. 7-10.


“The collaboration between the museum and Keene State College is a wonderful example of how people in our area work together for the betterment of our community,” says Deb Ganley, CCM Executive Director.  “I hope that people will take the time to see ‘The Power of Children’ and think about the impact these three children have had on the world and challenge themselves to make our community and the world a better place.”


“The Power of Children” is made possible through “NEH on the Road,” a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The exhibit has been adapted and is touring nationally by Mid-America Arts Alliance. “The Power of Children” was organized by The Children’s Museum. Indianapolis, Indiana. Additional funding provided by Keene State College and private donors.


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