mf silver springs crowd

Six miles north of the nation’s capital lies the town of Silver Spring, Maryland, home of the interactive KID Museum, organizers of the first Maker Faire in the Washington, D.C., area.

The inaugural event in 2013 drew an amazing 12,000 attendees, exceptional for a first-time event and perhaps indicative of the enthusiasm of the local Maker community. Last year’s Faire drew 14,000 attendees, and this year is guaranteed to be even bigger. The third annual Maker Faire Silver Spring takes place this weekend, on Sunday, September 20, and will feature 80 hands-on exhibits.

KID Museum’s Emma Sussman Starr shares the backstory:

“KID Museum was still a ‘museum without walls’ in 2013 and a Maker Faire was a great way to bring to the community the type of interactive programming we were interested in doing at our museum, so we brought the first Maker Faire to the D.C. region. Since then, the Maker Movement has caught hold. The Silver Spring Maker Faire was so popular that it put ‘Maker’ on the map for people here. Now, there’s the National Maker Faire in D.C., and a number of Makerspaces have sprung up. KID Museum has since opened its doors (we’ve been open since last October) and we offer hands-on Maker programming for children ages 6 to 14.”

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For this year’s Faire, the organizers have put together a robust program with a focus on hand-on exhibits, in particular for young Makers. Here are three highlights:

Toy 2.0 Challenge

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This year in partnership with the makers of Hexbugs, KID Museum is debuting the winners of the Toy 2.0 Challenge, which features the intricate and fun toys designed by area youth. Last spring, finalists were selected based on creative design ideas for inspired toys. All summer, Young Makers have been meeting with KID Museum mentors to help perfect their toy design and develop a working prototype. During Maker Faire Silver Spring, all 10 of the finalist toys will be on exhibit in the toy gallery and the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite toy invention.

RaspberrySTEM

RaspberrySTEM

The RaspberrySTEM educational system was invented when electrical engineer Brian Silverman was looking for a way to get his kids interested in the world of electronics. Unable to find his ideal kit available for sale, he prototyped his own and teamed up with his lifelong friend Jason Steinhorn to create what is now RaspberrySTEM.

e-NABLE

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e-NABLE is a global network of volunteers who are using their 3D printers, design skills, and personal time to create free 3D printed prosthetic hands for those in need with the goal of providing them to under-served populations around the world. The area will include 3D printers in the process of printing hands and displays of workable hands and components.

In the 3D Printing and Health Innovation area, there will be demonstrations of several medical advancements that are created through 3D printing machines. Individual inventors, government agencies, corporations, and non-profits will be showcasing medical advancements that have been invented to better the health of the world’s population through accessible technology.

If the images from previous years are any indication, there will be no shortage of smiles, hands-on learning, and inspiration.

For all the information you need to join the fun at Maker Faire Silver Spring, head to their site.