Berkshiremuseum Press Release
For Immediate Release: August 1, 2013
Media contact: Lesley Ann Beck, Director of Communications
413.443.7171 ext. 28;

Berkshire Museum presents Countdown to Kindergarten
This evening of Kindergarten readiness for parents and children is free and open to the community

[PITTSFIELD, MA] ― All the experiences of a first exciting day at Kindergarten will be replicated at the Berkshire Museum on Saturday, August 17, 2013, during WeeMuse: Countdown to Kindergarten, from 5 to 7 p.m. WeeMuse is funded in part by TD Charitable Foundation and generous individual supporters of the Berkshire Museum. Presented in partnership with Pittsfield’s Transition Team, the event is free and open to the community.

Designed for children to enjoy with their parents or caregivers, children getting ready to start Kindergarten can try taking a ride on a school bus or packing their backpack. Countdown to Kindergarten includes model classrooms and activities that invite children and their parents to have a typical kindergarten experience. Adults can ask staff “teachers” questions they may have about the kindergarten registration process, child development milestones, and how to help their child be ready for school. Special performances, guests, and activities for the whole family will be part of the event. Light refreshments will be served. Presented in partnership with the Transition Team of Pittsfield.

A special play, D.W. Counts Down to Kindergarten, will be offered at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. In this lively performance, Arthur’s younger sister gets help from her family and friends as she prepares to enter Kindergarten. Perfect for 4-year-olds and their families. D.W. Counts Down to Kindergarten is presented by City Stage Co., Inc., and in partnership with the Boston Children’s Museum. The play is a ticketed event: free tickets are available beginning at 5 p.m. day of performance at the Museum’s Front Desk.

WeeMuse is the newest educational venture at the Berkshire Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate in Western Massachusetts. The exceptional educational programs already in place at the Museum provide more than 16,000 educational experiences for students and teachers each year. Now the Museum will be using its extensive resources to assist early learners through WeeMuse.

“The Berkshire Museum offers programs for people at every stage of their life. There is no more important audience than our youngest citizens during a time when they are developing their learning skills and WeeMuse is the leading edge of our education efforts to meet their needs,” says Van Shields, executive director of the Berkshire Museum.

Developed in collaboration with key community partners including Berkshire County Head Start and Pittsfield’s Transition Team, made up of early childhood educators and childcare providers dedicated to helping children get ready for school, WeeMuse serves pre-school children and their families in Berkshire County. WeeMuse places a strong emphasis on literacy skills. The first event, a Museum-wide Pajama Night held last November, was a huge success, with community leaders and educators acting as storytellers and readers for the more than 400 children and parents who attended, free of charge. And everyone went home with free books. The most recent event, WeeMuse: Night of Science, brought more than 400 people to the Museum to participate in thrilling, fun science experiments like walking on water and making liquid nitrogen ice cream.
In addition to core WeeMuse projects such as creation of a year-round early childhood curriculum, professional development workshops for teachers, and publication of the book Welcome to Kindergarten, several community outreach events are planned. WeeMuse: Count Down to Kindergarten Night on August 17 will be followed by the return of WeeMuse: Pajama Night on November 1, 2013; and WeeMuse 10 Days of Play in February 2014.

About the Berkshire Museum
Located in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts, at 39 South St., Berkshire Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit or call 413.443.7171.
In association with the Smithsonian since 2013, Berkshire Museum is part of a select group of museums, cultural, educational, and arts organizations that share the Smithsonian’s resources with the nation.

Established by Zenas Crane in 1903, Berkshire Museum integrates art, history, and natural science in a wide range of programs and exhibitions that inspire educational connections between the disciplines. PaperWorks: The Art and Science of an Extraordinary Material will be on view June 15 through October 27, 2013. Objectify: A Look into the Permanent Collection is currently on view. Little Cinema is open year-round. Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, Worlds in Miniature, Aquarium, and other exhibits are ongoing.
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