Join the Maker Movement: Newark Museum Opens Permanent Gallery Devoted to MakerSPACE

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Newark Museum unveils new gallery devoted MakeSPACE.

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We encourage and help facilitate the making of things that are inspired by explorations of the Museum’s collections and by our guests’ own interests.

Since its founding, the Newark Museum has joined art, technology, science and industry with self-guided, hands-on and interactive learning experiences. This is the foundation of the newly expanded MakerSPACE at the Newark Museum, designed to encourage visitors of all ages to make connections with the Museum’s collections and their own creativity.

Highlights of this new facility include an exhibition space that mixes works of art and natural specimens with hands-on opportunities to “play” with materials and make something. Examples of how the space connects the Museum collection with making, are the various mini incarnations of Hiram Powers’ The Greek Slave, including one created with a MakerBot Replicator Printer.

Additionally, there is a digital media lab, equipped with computers, 3D printers, Arduino circuits and software demonstrations, as well as a dedicated space for “mini-makers” that invites early learners and their caregivers to explore and imagine.

“We encourage and help facilitate the making of things that are inspired by explorations of the Museum’s collections and by our guests’ own interests,” said Steven Kern, the Museum’s Director and CEO. Visitors can make a variety of objects using low-cost everyday tools and materials as well as state-of-the art technologies to develop innovative designs and solutions for creative problems, scientific inquiries and design challenges.

MakerSPACE at the Newark Museum launched its first pilot program in 2012 with the support of Cognizant Corporation’s Making the Future initiative, in partnership with the Big Picture Schools in the Newark Public Schools. Twelve high school students from Newark’s Innovation Academy participated in a 14-week class that supported the school’s curriculum. Student projects ranged from custom-designed and printed T-shirts to original video game design, complemented by the students designing and printing their own 3-D game controller along with programming and soldering the controller’s microprocessor.

“The Museum’s collections provide a unique environment for creativity and making,” said Sonnet Takahisa, the Museum’s Deputy Director of Engagement & Innovation. “The raw natural materials in the science collections and the works in the historic and cultural collections can serve as inspiration for today’s makers. Visitors are invited to explore and understand how things were traditionally made, and challenge them to find new ways to transform materials.”

Museum Educators facilitate the experience and guide makers along the creative process, leaving room for experimentation, concrete experiences, critical reflection, and refinement of concepts and techniques. This maker-led process helps visitors connect with the Museum’s collections and cultivates critical observational skills. These learned skills enable visitors to view the objects in the galleries with a greater understanding of the tools and techniques used, as well as the historical, political and social contexts of the work’s creation.

For further information, visit http://www.newarkmuseum.org.

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Lisa Batitto
Newark Museum
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