NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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February 13, 2014

Popping in on Poppins

'A Spoonful of Sugar' celebrates Disney movie

There is a scene in “Mary Poppins,” the Disney movie starring Julie Andrews, where several characters jump inside a picture.

Bert, the chimney sweep played by Dick Van Dyke, has drawn an image of the English countryside with chalk on a sidewalk. With magical assistance from Mary Poppins, he and the Banks children — Jane and Michael — are able to leap into the world he has imagined.

Visitors can now repeat this experience at “A Spoonful of Sugar,” a new exhibit at the Wenham Museum that celebrates the movie’s 50th anniversary.

“We’ve chosen some of the iconic scenes from that movie and re-created them,” said Jane Bowers, exhibitions curator.

Visitors are invited to enter three scenes at the exhibit as if they were walking into the movie; a fourth scene will remain out of bounds.

“‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ is one of the first songs that is sung by Julie Andrews, while she is helping clean up the nursery, so we’re creating the Banks children’s nursery,” Bowers said. “It is toys from our own collection and furnishings roughly of the right period. That’s the hands-off part of the gallery.”

A second, interactive version of the nursery has more contemporary toys but is equally messy and invites children to clean it up.

“When Poppins arrives, it is a complete mess, the toys are scattered, and she sings the song to help the children clean up,” Bowers said. “We’ve designed it so they can make as much of a mess as they want to.

“But, like Mary Poppins would want them to, they are encouraged to clean it up. You can take a chore and turn it into something fun to do — that’s the lesson Mary Poppins is trying to teach in ‘Spoonful of Sugar.’”

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