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dsp_mini_maker_faire_graphic2013Today the Call for Makers went live for Maker Faire Bay Area, and that means faire season has begun.  And not just in the Bay Area.  Call for Makers are open and active for over 20 Maker Faires right now (see below). 

There were 61 Maker Faires around the world in 2012 and 2013 seems on track for something close to 100. A good number of them are being initiated by science and children’s museums, often in collaboration with local makers or makerspaces.

One such museum is Discovery Science Place in Tyler, Texas, which is hosting the Tyler Mini Maker Faire on March 23. Lead organizer and C.E.O. Phil Lindsey shared that the Maker Faire has “energized the town like nothing else.”  Tyler’s Mini Maker Faire has a diverse and driven volunteer organizing committee of 21 folks from in and around Tyler.  “This is the only time in my museum career that I’ve had to say whoa! to slow some volunteers down,” Lindsey says.

Tyler doesn’t have a makerspace just yet, but the organizing team did recently make a recruiting field trip to the Dallas Makerspace. The team was so blown away by the energy and incredible range of tools there—everything from a forge to homemade CNC router to a darkroom to rooms for electronics. The museum is now considering either opening their exhibit shop on weekends to the community or turning over 2,000 square feet of exhibit space to become a makerspace.

Another museum-led fair just around the corner is Jerusalem Mini Maker Faire (March 18 & 19), organized by the Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem. The museum is putting on a week-long maker event called iMake, hosting workshops and offering hands-on making to thousands of kids out for Passover break. The iMake week will culminate with the first-ever Jerusalem Mini Maker Faire.

It’s exciting, seeing museums embrace makers. Makers have a lot to offer museums: content, teachers, community, new technologies, and passion. Museums have audience, resources, space, and teaching expertise. They often have a mission to offer experiential learning and many have in-house makers (exhibit developers), as well as a shop. The two are really a match made in maker heaven.

Other cities with Maker Faires that are organized by or in partnership with museums include Adelaide (Australia), Cedar Rapids (IA), San Luis Obispo (CA), Columbia (SC), Dublin (Ireland), Singapore (Singapore), Sonoma County (CA), Manchester (UK), Eugene (OR), Portland (OR), Orange County (CA), Ottawa (Canada), Pittsburgh (PA), Lewiston-Auburn (ME), and Derby (UK). World Maker Faire New York, Maker Faire Detroit, Maker Faire UK, and Maker Faire Kansas City are also all produced in concert with museums/science centers.

Pending fair applications Oslo (Norway), Nashville (TN), Mendocino County (CA), Danbury (CT), Santa Rosa (CA), and Bethesda (MD) are also by or in concert with museums.

Below are fairs with open and active Call for Makers; events in bold are sponsored or produced in collaborations with museums.

For a complete list of upcoming fairs, visit makerfaire.com.  New events are being added weekly.

Sabrina Merlo

Sabrina is the Maker Faire Program Director. She works on stage content for the flagship fairs (Bay Area & New York), and also runs Maker Faire’s licensing program for locally and independently produced “Mini” Maker Faires. She also co-creates the East Bay Mini Maker Faire in her town, Oakland, CA.


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