Hands-on Happenings

Children at the museum
Hands-on Happenings


Our hands-on programs are designed for children ages 5-12 and their families. Hands-on activities highlight different parts of the Museum's permanent and temporary exhibits and collections. Participants will make arts and crafts to take home and see demonstrations or performances where noted. Annual favorites include Safe Halloween, Chemistry Day and Festival of Health. ALL PROGRAMS ARE FREE.

Contact Annette Hoppenworth at ahoppenworth@kvcc.edu, or call (269) 373-7955 to find out how you can become a Museum volunteer. Volunteers are recruited throughout the year.   All volunteers are required to fill out a background check.

  • 8th Annual Storytelling Festival: Growing Stories
    February 7, 2020: 5-8 p.m.
    February 8, 2020: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
    The Kalamazoo Valley Museum announces this year’s lineup for the 8th Annual Storytelling Festival. Join us February 7 and 8 for two days full of world-known professional storytellers who will capture your hearts and take you on a journey beyond words. Growing Stories, this year’s theme, includes family stories that grow from one generation to the next, stories that sprout from another, tales that connect us like vines, and stories bigger than us to entertain children and adults alike. Authors, publishers, and storytellers come together to help grow stories.

    The Festival opens up Friday night during Art Hop, February 7 at 6 p.m. Hear author, radio journalist, and storyteller Joe McHugh perform with his wife, Paula McHugh, a rich trip through history called The Time Travelers. Using stories, music, and images of original artwork inspired by American folk songs, the two help us travel through time. Learn of colorful characters, including frontier trailblazers, Civil War soldiers, gold seekers, medicine show pitchmen, and many more.

    Allison Downey returns to the Festival at 7 p.m. with her own blend of music and stories. As a singer-songwriter, writer, and educator, she brings a unique personal experience to her music and stories that goes deep and moves the heart to a new level of warmth and understanding.

    A vendor fair will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 8, with Michigan authors, educators, and gardeners. Mama Edie, percussionist, speech pathologist, and storyteller, takes to the stage at 11 a.m., sharing stories on “The Vines That Hold Us Together.” Pulling from her rich African Native American background, she will share through music and sign language in Spanish and English. Kelvin & Co. will be here with BBQ sandwich box lunches for purchase, so plan to stay the whole day.

    New this year is a Storytelling Panel at 12:30 with Joe McHugh, Randy Pearson, Jenifer Strauss, and Judy Sima. Bring your lunch into the Theater as our panelists share how to become a storyteller, where inspiration comes from, techniques to share your stories, and the brain development behind oral stories. There will be a time for questions and answers, too. Donna Marie Todd weaves stories of family and gardening full of humor and imagery at 2 p.m.

    Back by popular demand, Adam Mellema takes to the stage at 3 p.m. His energy and depth know no end, and his stories will leave you wanting more. Arif Choudhury closes the Festival at 4 p.m. He is a professional storyteller, comic, and filmmaker who shares stories of growing up in a Bangladeshi-Muslim family in the suburbs of Chicago. His stories examine the lighter side of ethnic and religious identity, diversity, multiculturalism, and assimilation. Discover how stories can bring us together, help us grow, and define who we are individually and as a community.