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Site of the Washington, DC Mini Maker Faire. Photo credit: Elvert Barnes

Site of the Washington, DC Mini Maker Faire. Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes

On Sunday, June 8th, the first DC Mini Maker Faire will take place in our nation’s capitol, showcasing American innovation, ingenuity, and creativity—and giving Makers at the grassroots a chance to connect with Makers inside of our most powerful federal institutions. The DC Mini Maker Faire will kick off a series of Making events in Washington, to be book-ended by the White House Maker Faire.

Mitch Altman Teaches Soldering at the first Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire. Photo Credit: Becky Stern

Mitch Altman Teaches Soldering at the first Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire. Photo Credit: Becky Stern

It’s no surprise that an activity like Making, which may initially have been a response to the oppression of mass production, is now a thriving economic and cultural force. This is really exciting to see, and even more wonderful to be a part of. I have marveled at the impact on kids who learn to solder for the first time, or are introduced to the wonders of 3D printing.

Maker Faires Around the World, from http://makerfaire.com/map/

Maker Faires Around the World, from http://makerfaire.com/map/

As the Maker Movement has gained momentum across America and around the world, what was once a very solitary activity confined to individual garages has grown into a massive connected community drawn together in person at Maker Faires, Maker Spaces, meetups, and makeathons, as well as in various online communities where Makers share ideas and projects.

My enthusiasm for the Maker movement and the magic of these in-person events was one of the reasons that I teamed up with Brian Jepson to create one of the first Mini Maker Faires, in Rhode Island five years ago. We launched with a small event in September 2009 (a few weeks after the first Mini Maker Faire: Ann Arbor) in the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, and a full-scale event a couple days later. That attracted the attention of Jonathan Danforth, who took what we learned and applied it to launch the North Carolina Maker Faire in 2010. Now there are dozens of successful Mini Maker Faire events around the world that bring people together and demonstrate the power of Making.

DC Mini Maker Faire

DC Mini Maker Faire!

The DC Mini Maker Faire has evolved along a similar trajectory, and has garnered broad support—including from Ideaspace DC, the Mayor’s office, The Capitol Riverfront, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowships Program, Maker Media, corporate sponsors, and numerous volunteers from across many of our federal agencies. As a co-organizer of this public event, along with AAAS Fellows Dorothy Jones-Davis and Warren “Trey” Lathe, and Brian Jepson from Maker Media, I’m excited to help bring to life a new Mini Maker Faire that features a diverse group of exhibitors from the Washington, DC metropolitan area. This promises to be a very exciting day!

As word has been leaking out about our event for the past few months (it is Washington, DC, after all!), Makers have filled our inboxes eager to participate. But we still have plenty of space for more Makers like you! If you are in the DC metro area, join us by answering our Call for Makers.

Kipp Bradford

Kipp Bradford is a technology consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for making things. He is the Senior Design Engineer and Lecturer in Engineering at Brown University, where he teaches several engineering design and entrepreneurship courses. Kipp is also on the Technical Advisory Board for Make Magazine.


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