Rainy Day Pivot Makes for Delightful Lantern Celebration

December 7, 2022 by Kyle Clifford

When a rainy day deterred plans for an outdoor Full Moon Lantern Celebration at The Old Manse on Wednesday, December 7, The Umbrella’s Arts & Environment Department brought the outside in. 

As the event transitioned from a night under the light of the full moon, complete with telescopes, a bonfire, and a silent, meditative walk through the meadows at The Old Manse, The Umbrella staff and members of the Steering Committee rallied to ensure that this indoor event would be just as magical for the participants.  

Attendees were welcomed upstairs to partake in a lantern-making craft, created and led by Arts & Environment Instructor, Therese Roeser. Fueled by hot chocolate donated by Dunkin Donuts, participants created beautiful lanterns using natural materials to mimic trees on a starry, winter night. 

After the craft wrapped up, the attendees brought their lanterns into the Black Box theater, drawn in by the soundscape of nature at night with owls hooting and a video of nighttime trail cam footage featuring animals like deer, bears, coyotes, and even a moose! The theater glowed with luminarias, thanks to volunteer Karen Kashian, who helped assemble them.

As everyone settled into onto the risers with their hot chocolate and lanterns, storytime began. As members of the staff read the stories listed below, illustrations from each of the books were projected onto the big screen, creating a wonderful visual experience. The slideshow was operated by Development Associate, Katie Leary.  

  • Sarah Shiner (Marketing Associate) – Welcome to The Night, poem by Joyce Sidman 
  • Catherine Shortliffe (Engagement Manager, Fruitlands Museum and The Old Manse) – Night and Moonlight, essay by Henry David Thoreau  
  • Melissa Greven (Office Administrator) - Owl and the Moon, from the book, Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel 
  • Madeline Miller (Director of Arts & Environment) – A Big Mooncake for Little Star, book by Grace Lin 
  • Megan Connor (Major Gifts Officer) – Owl Moon by Jane Yolen 

Special collaboration with C.C. King (Steering Committe Member), who operated the owl puppet during this reading   

The night wrapped up with an interactive lantern activity led by Education Program Manager, Rebecca Campbell.

The theater went dark as she asked everyone to cover up their lantern. Then, after making a wish, one by one, the participants uncovered their lanterns, and the space was aglow with light again. 

The Arts and Environment team is appreciative of everyone who jumped in to assist with this event, and to all of the participants who braved the rain to spend this time under The Umbrella. 



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