Behind the Scenes of Happy Noon Year

hny4Every year, Boston Children’s Museum celebrates the New Year with a special event called Happy NOON Year. For many of our visitors, it is challenging to stay up and ring in the New Year. To help be inclusive in this celebration, we invite families to celebrate with us and count down to the noon hour on December 31st. One of the traditions of this event is to drop a Museum staff-made ball during the countdown. My colleague Steve and I agreed to take charge of its creation this year, and our mission was to make the best, greatest Happy Noon Year ball ever with our master plan of decorating a 4-foot tall clear beach ball!

First, and probably most importantly, we had to make sure that we could actually drop the giant ball. Thanks to our awesome Facilities team and their creative mechanism, we confirmed that the ball could be dropped from the ceiling to the front of the Climber, where visitors would be gathering for the countdown.

Now on to decoration. Our vision was to make it shiny, just like the ball that is dropped in Times Square. Glitter would be a good material to use, but as many of you know, glitter gets everywhere and is really hard to clean up afterwards.  With great respect to our Housekeeping team, glitter on the outside of the ball would not be appropriate. Oh, but wait! How about we put glitter on the INSIDE of the ball? To be honest, we weren’t quite sure if this would really work. However, creativity and healthy risk-taking is an important part of the spirit of the Museum’s Educators.  So we went ahead with our idea, just to see what would happen.

hny1First, we inflated the beach ball so we could spray the glue inside.  It sprayed wide enough, but aiming at the right angle to get to the hard-to-reach spots was a challenge. Then, using a funnel, we slowly poured the glitter inside the ball and shook it hard! The process was repeated many times until the entire inside of the ball was covered. It may sound simple, but remember, the beach ball is gigantic, so it took a lot of effort. For example, some of the glitter blew back out as the beach ball deflated and shaking the huge ball was really not that easy!

hny2Slowly, but surely, our dream of the shiny glitter beach ball came true.  We worked on this project in the middle of the staff office space in front of the door that leads to the Museum.  We drew quite the crowd between other Museum staff asking us what we were doing and visitors watching from the outside and excitedly commenting on the massive size of the beach ball and wondering why these two grown-ups were struggling to distribute the glitter inside the ball as evenly as possible.

Finally, the ball was finished and we pasted “Happy Noon Year” with construction paper.  Despite the initial skepticism, it turned out to be a perfect shiny Happy Noon Year ball!

The morning of New Year’s Eve, before the Museum opened, the Facilities team set up the Noon Year ball on the ceiling outside the Climb.

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Visitors that day celebrated by making New Year’s hats and getting their sparkling water to be ready for the Noon Year toast. We gathered in the Museum lobby, and counted down. 10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! 4! 3! 2! 1! Happy Noon Year!  Much to our delight, the shining glittering ball dropped to the excited faces of visitors below and we all sang Auld Lang Syne.

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Although the moment of the ball-dropping was short, we spent hours of preparing and planning for that important moment of joy and delight.  We love seeing visitors smile and share the moments together. All that effort was well worth it!

You can see a video of the ball in action by clicking here.

We wish you a happy and healthy year of 2017!

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