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Lakes Region's 'attic' in Wolfeboro plans a summer full of activities

WOLFEBORO — Visitors seeking a unique travel experience this summer are invited to tour the 102-year-old Libby Museum on Route 109.

Not only does the museum, open from June through Columbus Day, have an eclectic collection of artifacts — from Egyptian mummy hands to preserved wildlife specimens — it offers many fun activities for kids of all ages.
 
Museum Director Lauren Hammond said this season’s program schedule features art, science and nature-based classes for children and adults. The programs and classes all begin after July 4.
 
A new Watercolor for Adults class begins weekly starting July 9. Kids 8 and up can learn how to fashion hand puppets and make a movie with Ryan Noonan and Peter Pijoan of Wolfeboro Community Television. Nature programs include the new From the Earth workshop series with Brian Stockman, with classes on building a lean-to, fire-making and crafts such as loom beading. A new science-based series, Chasing Rainbows, offers workshops on science concepts created by Thomas Edison, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci and Rachel Carson.

  “Offering arts and science, as well as nature-based programs, seems like a good fit for us,” said Hammond.

 The museum was founded by Dr. Henry F. Libby, a dentist, inventor and naturalist, in 1912. Born just miles from the museum site in 1850, Libby once wrote that his life began anew for him when he turned 40 and began studying nature and anatomy. He began to sketch and draw — and to collect things such as butterflies and moths. Over the decades, his collections of natural specimens and oddities grew.

Most recently, the museum acquired a 2-by-2-inch piece of cloth from an Egyptian mummy that Libby’s great-granddaughter, Priscilla Griffin, donated to the museum. Hammond said the item was found in a box that included a handwritten account of a man’s visit to Egypt and his quest to acquire a mummy. Hammond said the mummy was donated to a natural history museum in Montreal. But the piece of cloth was stored, then somehow given to Libby. The museum has another unusual artifact from Egypt — two right hands from mummies.

Special events
 
The museum will host three evening lectures this summer. The first is What Lies Beneath, with diver Hans Hug Jr. of Exeter on June 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Reservations are advised; admission is $5 for this event.
 
On Thursday, Aug. 7 from 7 to 8 p.m., Robert Goodby, associate professor of anthropology at Franklin Pierce University, will help attendees identify their Native American artifacts and will talk about the Libby Museum’s collection.

On Sunday, Aug. 10 at 7:30 p.m., Sally Cornwell will lead a Tales and Moonlight Walk through local trails.
 
On Sunday, July 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the museum will host Honey Bee Day with lectures and demonstrations, activities, games, crafts, face painting, honey tasting, free honey ice cream and free admission to the museum.
 
The Artists in the Gallery features local painters, potters, a photographer and a multi-media artist. Artists receptions will be held June 8, July 13 and Aug. 8. Check out the schedule on the museum’s page on the town’s website, www.wolfeboronh.us.
 
“The museum is an eclectic collection of oddities,” she said. “It’s the Lakes Region’s attic.”

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