Related Blog Posts


Parts, Purposes, and Complexities with Cardboard Automata

There are many different approaches that can be explored with any of our tinkering activities, and in our constant effort to develop and refine our own practice we like to vary our own ways of presenting things, and try out new stuff.


Made in the Tinkering Studio: Cardboard Automata (and more)

Continued from Karen's post about Automata and related to the CoP hangout "Let's Talk Automata" from two weeks ago (you can watch the recorded hangout here on YouTube), I wanted to share some more automata that were created in the Tinkering Studio. Some are in photos, some are in videos.
Here we go!


Automata (and then some...)

You may have noticed the radio silence on our end, as witnessed by a serious lack of blog posts. This was because our website was hacked, not that we didn't have lots of things to share with you.  We're happy to be back in business now and I'll kick things off with what should end up being a barrage of blog posts from the team, showing you what we’ve been up to for the last month or so.


Cardboard Automata With High School Explainers

Hi my name is Mario and I'm the tinkering studio intern. I work closely with The Tinkering Studio and High School Explainers. I help lead workshops alongside the High School Explainers.


New Explainer Trainings

This past week, we hosted two workshops for new explainers this will soon be facilitating activities with us in the tinkering studio. The high school explainers built cardboard automata which is the current activity in our workshop on the weekends. The field trip explainers worked together to create a large scale chain reaction, something that we hope to start prototyping on the floor in the next month or so.


A Curious Automata

We're starting a whole week (including the weekend) of automata in the tinkering studio so in honor I thought I'd share this beautiful example that was constructed as part of a series of CURIOUS soical media posts of exhibits and activities around the museum. The sound effects are great too!


Automata Examples

photo 1

Over the past several years of doing automata, we've developed some "classic" motion examples for participants to check out as they are starting to design their creations.


Happy (tinkering over the) Holidays

Just a little holiday greeting from your friends at the Tinkering Studio ~ we hope you get some time to tinker over the holidays (learn a new tool, start a project, make something, show someone else how to make something)!


Pre-Conference Tinkering Workshops at ECSITE

For the past two days, Karen, Mike and I have been in Gothenburg, Sweden, leading workshops with museum professionals from institutions all over Europe and beyond. On Tuesday, we had a full day of activities, reflection and discussion to try and give participants an introduction to tinkering. And today we joined THE group's pre-conference session by sharing an activity and talking about how this type of experience can inform our practice of training floor staff and explainers.


Getting ready for ECSITE tinkering workshop in Gothenburg, Sweden

This week Mike, Karen and I are in Gothenburg, Sweden leading a couple pre-conference workshops and contributing to a maker space which will run throughout the ECSITE conference. Yesterday we arrived in the city and spent a little time prepping for today's workshop. The day be focused on an giving an introduction to tinkering activities and sharing ideas about what first steps some museums can take to begin to try these ideas at their institutions. I thought I would share a few scenes from our workshop prep.


While waiting: an impromptu cardboard automata session

As mentioned earlier, news of Crown Prince Naif's death on the morning of the day the festival was supposed to start catapulted the nation into a mourning state, and the decision was made to cancel the opening and postpone it until Wednesday. So, all of a sudden, we found ourselves with some extra time on our hands.


Beyond the museum: Tinkering with Cardboard Automata

Lately in the Tinkering Studio we’ve been thinking about how to translate the work that we do in the museum to settings like after school programs and community centers. Cardboard Automata is one of our most "venerable" activities: it started as part of the PIE project, and so we've had quite a long time to experiment with it, and have developed some expertise on how to successfully organize and facilitate it.


From our friends at Cabaret Mechanical Theatre ~ Paul Spooner's Mechanisms Booklet

Sarah sent word of a booklet Paul created about mechanisms used in his automata that's now available online. Every automata enthusiast is sure to treasure this little 18 page gem! You can download it from Cabaret's site for the next few weeks at no cost (after October 1st cost goes up slightly).


Tinkering with monks: cardboard automata video

Three days of tinkering with Tibetan monks condensed in three minutes of video. Enjoy!