Making is one of the strongest ways for children to learn and grow.

Have you been a part of our “makerspace” yet?

In our unique collaborative makerspace, the Innovators LAB, we create design challenges to nurture creativity, problem solving, skill building and learning. Our creative team works alongside artists, architects, engineers, and other resident professionals to develop open-ended, skill-building projects that explore real world issues. Designed for children ages 6-13, our Innovators LAB provides opportunities to experiment with a variety of ideas, materials, and hands-on techniques. Since opening last year, we have explored topics such as buoyancy, electricity, balance, geometry and more.

But…what is a “makerspace” and why is it important in our Museum?

Makerspaces are physical spaces that create a community where people share skills and knowledge, and work together to develop new projects. In their comparative case study of three different makerspaces, researchers Sheridan et al. found that these spaces “create a feeling of self-directed participation, a strong community support for learning, and a sense of identity as a member of the community.” Being a “maker” in these “spaces” involves working with new tools and procedures, finding problems and solutions to work on, and taking on leadership and teaching roles. While active in the makerspace, children are encouraged to share their skills and creations with the members of their group as well as with the wider world.

Makerspaces combine concepts of artistic and academic education to spur creative growth. Children are allowed the opportunity to explore engineering and scientific ideas and then apply these understandings to an artistic and imaginative piece of work. By fostering self-directed learning, makerspaces encourage students to be their own teachers and explore their own interests. Children can decide “which learning arrangements suit their needs, what to work on, when to work on it, and whether and how they want to continue.”

With so many different ways to participate, the work that is done in a makerspace “fuels engagement and innovation… and leads to innovative combinations, juxtapositions, and uses of disciplinary knowledge and skill.” Children move from passive users to active creators by designing their own project and completing their own product – in their own way.

Open making any time!

The Innovators LAB is open daily for exploration! Visitors and members 6 years old and up are welcome to join us in the Innovators LAB for open making at any time. With a wide variety of tools and materials, paired with the technical expertise of our Teaching Artists, visitors can create just about anything they can imagine. Visit us in the Innovators LAB on the main level and design your own creation during your next visit!

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