Craft & Design Education
Maker Faire @ The Tech Exhibition Creates New Context For Making

Last night, I attended the closing reception for a Maker Faire exhibit at The Tech Museum in San Jose. Lath Carlson and a team of curators at The Tech came to Maker Faire Bay Area in May and selected a set of makers and their exhibits to display this summer. The link above has a complete list of the featured makers. I took some photos as I walked around.

Link: My Slideshow on Google+

I found it interesting to see these maker-made exhibits in a different setting. Russell the Giraffe was caged, unable to roam around and play music. His maker, Lindsay Lawlor, wasn’t there in person to tell us about the latest modifications. Nonetheless, seeing Russell in the lobby was a delightful experience. Even out of the context of Maker Faire, these maker-made exhibits speak to you differently than professional museum exhibits. You can clearly see how they were made and I hope that it helps people think that they could make interesting things such as the ones were on display. Carlson said that the makers were really pleased to see their work on display in a museum. (I must admit there were one or two items that I didn’t see at Maker Faire myself — there’s so much at Maker Faire.)

Carlson said that about 40,000 people visited the exhibition this summer, many of whom knew nothing about Maker Faire. He said the exhibit attracted a good deal of interest, especially among kids visiting as part of summer camps and families. The Tech had about five staff members in the area interacting with visitors, talking about the maker-made exhibits and conducting hands-on workshops. One day, there could be a traveling “Maker Faire” exhibition and perhaps The Tech might want to repeat this exhibit next summer. One idea I had is how might we feature a set of exhibits like these in schools, adding something to a school lobby and offering inspiration to teachers and students to become makers themselves.

Congratulations to The Tech Museum of San Jose and all the participating makers.

Link: Maker Faire exhibit at The Tech Museum in San Jose.

Tagged

DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

View more articles by Dale Dougherty