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Concord, NH – Ben Kilham of the Kilham Bear Center in Lyme, NH will pay a visit to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, NH, on the Autumn Equinox - Saturday evening, September 23 – to discuss his and his family’s work in rehabilitating bear cubs, as part of the NH Humanities’ Big Read program centered on Andrew Krivak’s novel, The Bear. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the evening will begin with A Year under the Stars, a planetarium show at 6:15 p.m. about the constellations depicted in Krivak’s novel, followed by Ben Kilham’s presentation. At the conclusion of Kilham’s talk, there will be additional showings of A Year under the Stars. Gibson’s Bookstore will be on hand with copies of The Bear available for purchase, NH Humanities will be onsite with information about the statewide Big Read program, there will be activity stations for kids and families throughout the museum, and – pending clear skies – the Discovery Center’s Observatory will be open for views of planets, moons, stars and nebulae in the night sky. The Autumn Equinox Celebration is free, but donations are welcome and pre-registration is highly encouraged.


Ben Kilham and his family have been rehabilitating and releasing injured, orphaned and abandoned black bear cubs from New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts brought to the Kilham Bear Center by the NH Fish and Game Department since 1993. Ben and his nephew Ethan are the primary bear caregivers, with Ben’s wife Debbie lending a hand with the youngest cubs.  For more information: As the Kilham Bear Center’s goal is to prepare the cubs for life in the wild, human contact is limited, and visitors are not allowed. Consequently, learning about the Bear Center directly from Ben Kilham is a rare treat.


NH Humanities’ statewide Big Read program invites the public to explore how people share stories, understand the world, and envision a better future for New Hampshire. Through free local book discussions, lectures, poetry, and programs that blend the humanities, arts, and science, the intent of the Big Read is that generations of Granite Staters will gather to read, think, and understand a shared story of New Hampshire. NH Humanities is one of 62 organizations nationwide selected to receive a 2023-2024 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grant. More information is available at The Autumn Equinox Celebration at the Discovery Center is made possible through a generous grant from NH Humanities. 


Dedicated to NH Space Pioneers Christa McAuliffe and Alan Shepard, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center features 21st century interactive exhibits on aviation, astronomy, Earth and space science, a full-dome, all-digital planetarium and a variety of science, technology, and engineering and mathematics programs. The engaging, robust educational programs are geared towards families, teens, seniors, students, community groups and lifelong learners. For more information, visit