What's the Point of a Museum Maker Space? - #mcn2012make


Fri, 11/09/2012 - 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Track: G. Evaluation, Labs, Production, External Engagement
Room: Municipal


  1. Name: Miriam Langer
    Title: Professor/Center for Cultural Technology
    Organization: New Mexico Highlands University
  2. Name: Chris Weisbart
    Title: Exhibitions
    Organization: LA Country Natural History Museum
  3. Name: Karen Wilkinson
    Title: Director, Tinkering Studio
    Organization: The Exploratorium
  4. Name: Don Undeen
    Title: Manager of Media Lab
    Organization: Metropolitan Museum of Art
  5. Name: Charlie Walter
    Title: Executive Director
    Organization: NM Museum of Natural History & Science



There’s a growing interest in creating open-ended experiences through maker activities for all ages /demographics in museums. In some cases this is a formal dedicated space with structured programming, in others it might be a “pop-up” activity situation, either on or off site.

This panel will invite maker space directors from different types of museums in various stages of implementation to give short presentations on the goals of creating the space, the successes and failures along the way, and offer advice for anyone interested in bringing this type of program into their museum. It will then turn to a discussion of how maker/hacker spaces might function differently in science museums, vs. art or history museums. The discussion will feature how to start this kind of project, fund it, and some early evaluation and assessment.

Watch Live Webcast at http://mcn.wmbly.com


Session Description:

This will begin as a panel presentation with representatives from five existing museum maker spaces. The panelists will introduce their museum, the history and reasons that the space was implemented. They will each discuss the goals, specific projects, any demographic and evaluation, and some highs and lows of the experience. But rather than just talk about their spaces, they will engage in a discussion about what types of museums would benefit from a dedicated hacking space, versus the idea of using maker projects as community  outreach “pop-up” activities, either in the museum space or elsewhere.
Just like the issue of where and in what department the digital work belongs, panelists will discuss what departmental affiliations have worked, or not worked, in their respective institutions.
The second part will be an open discussion for all those interested in either introducing their current project,  or wondering how to get started/funded. Curriculum tips/resources will be shared.
This will be a part of the “maker activity” track at MCN.

Panelists confirmed are:
Karen Wilkinson - TinkeringStudio,The Exploratorium,
Chris Weisbart- LA County Museum of Natural History  & learning labs consultant
Charlie Walter – Executive Director, NM Museum of Natural History & Science
Don Undeen - Manager of Media Lab, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Mariano Ulibarri- Graduate student, New Mexico Highlands University Media Arts, Founder of Parachute Factory Community MakerSpace

Session Info

  • Type: Full Panel
  • Keywords:
  • Relevance: Those with maker spaces who want to engage in a discussion, those with underutilized fablabs/maker spaces, anyone who thinks their museum could benefit from or is considering opening a space for open-ended building.