More Than Exhibits: Learn New Things with Fun Museum Programs

By Meghan E. Gattignolo 

When was the last time you visited your local museum? Maybe you brought your kids to Explorers Landing to play last summer, or maybe you haven’t visited since that school field trip in fifth grade. A lot has changed at your local Customs House Museum & Cultural Center, and it is probably time for you to plan another trip. 

Museums are wonderful places to learn and grow, and that doesn’t stop after childhood. The Museum has recently added a few wonderful programs to the list of offerings, and one is surely perfect for you or your family.  

Programs for Adults 

Think you’re too old for museum programs? Think again! The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center has programs designed just for you!  

Sundays @ 3 

Miss the lecture halls of your college days? Continue learning with the new Sundays @ 3:00 lecture series. This Sunday, April 7, Dr. Jack W. Sites Jr. brings us a riveting discussion about the Galapagos Islands. April brings both Arbor Day and Earth Day, so it’s never been a better time to learn what makes the Galapagos Islands so unique in the landscape of nature conservation and ecotourism. Dr. Sites is an alumnus of Austin Peay State University, retired biology professor from the Zoology Department at Brigham Young University, and is now an adjunct professor at Austin Peay.   

The Galapagos Islands: A Model of Conservation Success and Ecotourism with Dr. Jack W. Sites Jr. will be in the Turner Auditorium from 3-4pm on Sunday, April 7. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged. Just remember: admission or Museum membership is required to tour the Museum.  

Enjoy lectures and conversations with different experts every first Sunday of the month at 3pm. Find the full series schedule here on the museum’s website and don’t miss the one that captures your attention. 

Sunday Studio with Sarah Spillers 

Curious about learning to paint, but anxious about the investment? Here’s a new opportunity just for you and not available anywhere else in town. Join us on the third Sunday of each month from 2-4:30pm for Sunday Studio with Sarah Spillers, an accomplished artist whose work has been featured on exhibit at the Museum, on sale in Seasons: The Museum Store, and in shows at the DAC on Franklin Street. 

In partnership with Austin Peay’s Community School of the Arts and made possible by Google Data Center Grants, the Museum hosts Sarah Spillers as she leads an art class for curious adult learners. This month’s project focuses on the rainy spring weather, and themes change every month. This class is totally free, but requires registration to ensure a spot and materials are available. April is sold out, so keep your eyes peeled on our website and Facebook page for information about May’s class. For ages 16+. 

Programs for Kids and Families 

Need some quality time with the kids and tired of doing the same old things? The Museum has you covered with light-hearted and fun family art programs. 

Storytime & Craft 

Twice a month, bring your child to the Museum’s Storytime & Craft program! Every first and third Thursday of the month, spend time with your little one with a different themed program. Listen to some stories together and then make something fun! The next opportunity for Storytime & Craft is Thursday, April 18 at 1:30 pm. The focus will be Earth Day, with planet-themed stories and a windsock craft made from recycled materials.   

Storytime & Craft is always free with Museum membership, or included with admission price. 

Family Art Saturday 

With so many wonderful art exhibits available at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center every month, the emphasis on art programming is an important focus. The Museum even has a special room dedicated to making art with the family, and once a month in the Family Art Studio, a special art project is available for parents and kids to make together.  

On Saturday April 27, two time slots – 10am-12pm & 2pm-4pm – will give you chances to get creative with the kids. This month, learn a clever painting technique and make some baby chicks with a fork as your paintbrush. 

As Clarksville grows, the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is constantly growing and improving its offerings to the community, too. Always stay in the know about Museum events and programming, as well as new exhibits, special days and unscheduled closings by following the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Also, keep an eye on the website for more detailed information.  

Meghan E. Gattignolo is a freelance writer and longtime Clarksville, TN resident. She loves to obsess about historical subjects and annoy her family daily with unsolicited random facts. Meghan holds a History B.A. from Austin Peay State University and lives in town with her husband and two children. 

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