Winter happenings at The Institute for American Indian Studies

The Institute for American Indian Studies is offering a series of January events that will help families warm up to this chilly season of the year. On Tuesdays through February 12 from 10:30 a.m. through 11:30 a.m. for example pre-school children will enjoy the wonders and joy of traditional Native American stories. Why does Bear have a short tail? Who is Gluskabi and from where did his superpowers come? And why is Coyote known as a “trickster?” An added treat is that the stories are told in a beautifully replicated 16th century indoor Sachem’s house. The story hour is included free with regular museum admission of $5 Adults; $4.50 Seniors; $3 Kids; IAIS Members Free. www.iaismuseum.org

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On Saturday January 19 and Sunday January 20 at 2 p.m. guests will enjoy a Winter Film Festival that features a documentary called Reel Injun. Native American peoples have long been a topic in Hollywood filmmaking, but the picture presented of them was not always flattering or accurate. Most westerns of Hollywood’s Golden Age presented “Indians” as either ruthless savages with no sense of honor or fools who were lost without the help of the white man. Adding insult to injury, they were usually played by white actors in make up. In the 1960s movies began to show a more positive and realistic portrayal of American Indians and Native American actors were given a greater opportunity to present their story in television and the movies. Director Neil Diamond (a member of Canada’s Cree community) offers a look at the past, present and future of Native People on the big screen in this documentary. The film is included free with regular museum admission of $5 Adults; $4.50 seniors; $3 Kids; IAIS Members Free. www.iaismuseum.org

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Also on January 26 from 12 noon to 2 p.m. it is time to put on your winter boots and go on a Winter Tracking Walk. Certified wildlife tracker Andy Dobosof Three Red Trees School of Natural Living will lead you through the winter woods to discover how the animals live in this stark time of year. He will also demonstrate some of the skills ancient people employed to survive during the winter months. Fee: $8 Adults; $6 IAIS Members; $4 Children. www.iaismuseum.org

About IAIS
Through discovery, research and education, the Institute for American Indian Studies enriches contemporary society by engaging the public and making more visible the history, cultural values, beliefs and living traditions of the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere, especially those of the Northeast. With its museum, archaeology, research and unique collection, IAIS creates a focal point for the community by preserving the knowledge of the continuing stories of these indigenous peoples.

For area information www.litchfieldhills.com

Atka the wolf visiting New Canaan Historical Society

On Saturday, January 12 at 3 p.m. Atka, a beautiful white wolf will pay a visit to the New Canaan Historical Society in conjunction with the current exhibit, “Little Red Riding Hood Visits the Historical Society,” on display until March 2.

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Little red Riding Hood is a fairy tale that has fascinated generations from the 1800s to the present day. To celebrate this tale, collector, Peg Rice has amassed all things “Little Red” and much of her vast and impressive collection is on display at the New Canaan Historical Society located on 13 Oenoke Ridge in New Canaan.

On January 12 at 3 p.m. the Society will welcome a special guest on behalf of Little Red Riding Hood Atka, a wolf ambassador from the Wolf Conservation Center. The program begins with an informative and entertaining look at the history of wolves in North America, their biology and the mythology that surrounds them. Atka is a beautiful wolf that loves to meet people, and, as a great “wolf teacher,” he will educate all in attendance on the importance of his wild “brothers and sisters”! Atka always receives rave reviews and never fails to impress children and adults alike!

Atka is the oldest ambassador wolf at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC). He arrived at the WCC from Minnesota when he was just 8 days old. The WCC staff, volunteers, ambassador wolves and Eno raised him. Eno was the WCC’s resident German Shepherd and ambassador wolf nanny.

Atka’s visit will be an indoor event and is appropriate for all ages Atka: $10 per person
Seeing Red exhibit: $5 per person Atka + Exhibit: $13 per person. Reservations are not necessary. For additional information http://www.nchistory.org. For regional information www.visitwesternct.com.

About the New Canaan Historical Society
Founded in 1889, he New Canaan Historical Society has carried out its mission “to bring together and arrange the historical events of the town of New Canaan, the genealogies of the families who have lived in the town, to form a library and to collect relics and curiosities, to form a museum.”

About the Wolf Conservation Center
The Wolf Conservation Center teaches people about wolves, their relationship to the environment and the human role in protecting their future. It was founded in 1999. For more information visit http://nywolf.org.

January Events at Stepping Stones Museum for Children

At the Stepping Stones Museum for Children, the new year begins with the final days of the show titled Native Voices: New England Tribal Families that will end on January 6th. This unique exhibit is an introduction to Native Americans living in New England today. By visiting five different communities from northern to southern New England, visitors learn about Native American traditions and how modern families balance contemporary life with preservation of important cultural identities through stories and songs. Free with museum admission.

Opening on January 21 is a show titled Framed: Step into Art™ that was produced by the Minnesota Children’s Museum for the members of the Youth Museum Exhibit Collaborative (YMEC). This exhibit allows you to enter the framework of famous paintings and experience art like never before. Art viewers become art as they physically enter a scene and are encouraged to interpret, express and connect with art. They can ride a giant chicken attached to a wagon, set up a camp in the Canadian Rockies, prepare dinner for a group of hungry farmers. They can become an art gallery director, selecting and exhibiting art in their own gallery, as well as explore the exhibit through Art Hunt Cards.

January’s Around the World program focus’s on India. Stepping Stones takes children and parents to 12 different places around the globe, bringing the culture and its people to life. Now in its fourth year, the Around the World Performance Series presents professional artists, musicians, dancers, storytellers and youth performers representing a variety of cultures and traditions.

In its first year, the Museum’s quarterly Accessibility Day program proved to be so popular that they are now offering it on a monthly basis. Accessibility Day falls on Jan. 12 from 9 am – 11 am and offers free admission for families of children with special needs.

On Wednesday, January 16 parents are invited to the Parent Zone from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm where they will learn simple techniques to help their children with numbers, estimation and describing and comparing shapes. This is a parents only workshop. Free childcare for children 3 and older. Free dinner included. Limited space. Registration is required.

On January 25 the Stepping Stones Museum Presents the Story Book Pajama Party from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event will consist of a compelling reading the tale in front of a large screen showing the pages in the book for all to see. After the story, the reading is brought to life when children meet the storybook character (bring your camera). There will also be a hands-on craft activity and a musical parade featuring the storybook character. Dinner is available for purchase in the museum’s cafe.Members $10/person, Non-members $12/person. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Space is limited, registration recommended.

Stepping Stones Museum for Children is located at 303 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT, exit 14 North and 15 South off I-95. Museum hours are Monday-Sunday from 10 am-5 pm. Admission is $15 for adults and children and $10 for seniors. Children under 1 are free. To learn more visit steppingstonesmuseum.org or call 203 899 0606.

For regional information visit www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com.