Names: Karen DuBois & Stephanie McCaull
How connected to Montshire?
We are the Montshire Benefit Auction co-chairs (and members).
Why do you choose to be involved?
Karen: Over the years, everyone in our family has benefited from the Montshire. My husband and I both came when we were children, and now our kids and their cousins love visiting the Montshire.
Stephanie: I believe strongly in supporting science education, which the Montshire provides to Museum visitors of all ages and to schools throughout the Upper Valley. The Montshire is also an amazing resource—a world-class science museum right in our back yard!
When was the first time you came to the Montshire?
Karen: When I was 7 years old, and the museum was in the old bowling alley near the Ray School!
Stephanie: In 1998, when I was a student at the Tuck School of Business, I was curious about the big building across the river. I was amazed when I walked in and saw it was a hands-on science museum, just like the ones in Boston and NYC that I loved to visit as a child.
Karen: I just love the leafcutter ants. It’s amazing to see insects farming, growing their own food!
Stephanie: My favorite exhibit is whatever one currently captures children's attention and imagination, but I have to admit that the Bubbles is one that we all enjoy together. My personal favorites are the leafcutter ants and the bees. And of course the outdoor Science Park is a favorite all summer long.
Is there one word you would use to describe the Museum?
What do you find most rewarding about volunteering at the Montshire?
Karen: I find that the Montshire attracts a dynamic, engaged group of people—so, I love working with the other volunteers and museum staff. They bring innovative ideas and energy to the experience.
Stephanie: Volunteering for the auction has been so rewarding because I've gotten to know many of the people who work "behind the scenes" at the Montshire. I have been amazed at the education initiatives and partnerships the museum has undertaken, and at the dedication of the team of people who make it all happen.
What is the best kept secret at the Montshire?
Karen: It's not really a secret, but the variety of unique items at the auction always surprises me.
Stephanie: You can rent the Montshire—it's a festive venue for events, and it's fun to have the Museum all to yourself.
What is your favorite Montshire story to tell?
Karen: A few years ago, we were visiting the outdoor water exhibit. An older child taught my daughter how to connect pipes and manipulate water flow. Then, I watched her turn to a group of younger children nearby and teach them what she had just learned. I love that interaction between visitors —I think the Museum lets kids become the teachers for one another.
This fall I was at a meeting at the Montshire and saw a beautiful bald eagle, slowly circling above the Museum and the river. It just seemed so appropriate to the setting, and I loved that we all stopped the meeting to watch the eagle.
What do you wish we could do more of in the future?
Karen: I love the outdoor education programs that you have for kids in the summer. I’d love to see more offerings for a wider range of kids, perhaps with a focus on bringing outdoor experiential learning to rural schools and communities in our region.
Stephanie: More education and activities that involve the trails and the natural setting of the Montshire. My daughter's experiences with the Outdoor Discovery summer camps really opened my eyes to the richness of the "natural museum" that surrounds the Montshire’s building.
Which other museums do you enjoy visiting?
Karen: We lived in New York City for many years and still have family there, so we enjoy the big museums there— our kids particularly love the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Stephanie: Locally we love Marsh-Billings Farm and further afield we love the Museum of Natural History. I grew up visiting the Museum of Natural History on a regular basis, so I feel very fortunate that my kids are now growing up with the Montshire.