Newark Museum, in Newark, NJ, is one of the hidden family travel gems of New Jersey with lots to do in a manageable space that doesn’t overwhelm kids, including a great planetarium, Dynamic Earth geology exhibit, and fun “Generation Fit” space where kids can burn off energy while learning about health and fitness.
Its newest addition to its family-friendly programs is a new permanent Makerspace. It helps kids appreciate the museum’s art and culture exhibits by letting them create personal versions of the art they see in the museum using clay, building materials, and even 3D printers. Guest blogger Ken Dowell of OffTheLeash checked out the cool new exhibit for Playground:
What do you do in a makers’ space? You make stuff. In the Newark Museum that might mean using state-of-the-art technology like a 3D printer or time-tested tools like modeling clay and building blocks.
The museum’s newly-opened Makerspace is a hands-on exhibit with interactive activities for children of all ages. But don’t let that stop you from bringing your teens. Once they get to know the museum’s 3D printers they’re likely to forget to look at their phones. At least for a couple hours.
Makerspace offers its visitor the proposition “if you can think it, you can make it.” The two-room facility is well stocked with some familiar materials ranging from aluminum foil to bubble wrap. But it also offers tools like silk screens, sewing machines, DC motors, dremel tools, microscopes, and soft circuits. And, of course, numerous laptops and 3D printers.
Funded by Teaneck-based Cognizant Technology, Makerspace will be an important part of the museum’s education programs as well as its summer camp. It recently hosted a 14-week class for 12 high school students from the Newark Innovation Academy. But it’s also open to the public during museum hours.
Makerspace complements another exhibit at the museum, Newark: Maker City. As this country industrialized, Newark city was a major manufacturing center, a leading producer of leather, beer and precious metals as well as numerous other commodities. The museum exhibit celebrates that history. But while those industries have long since left Newark, Makerspace is introducing the city’s school children and visitors to the new approach to manufacturing offered by the maker movement.