Benji’s War Reenactment

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Meet Benji. He's a 12 year old history buff, with a particular affection for wars. Mostly American Revolution, but also other stuff, Civil War and the like. He's been into it for a long time, in fact it turns out that Deanna was his counselor when he was six, and remembers him asking her for a face painting about the war of 1812.


#LEGOTinkering Balance Continued

Since our #LEGOtinkering balance workshop at East Bay Maker Faire, we've been continuing to test out ideas and try new things around the phenomenon of balance using LEGO pieces with visitors to our Tinkering Studio workshop. I wanted to share a few of our more recent experiments as well as raise some questions that we still have about how to best support tinkering through this activity.


Making of the Ecsite 2016 Maker Space

For the past four years, I've been part a group of tinkerers working with the Ecsite organization to create a pop-up makerspace for the annual conference of museum and science center professionals.


New Materials Carts

Over the past two and a half years, we've tried to be constantly evolving the tinkering studio environment to best support our programs and activities. Because we're out on the floor facilitating activities alongside explainers, we've been able to identify and develop solutions to the needs that arrive.


Chain Reaction Prototyping

We've started prototyping Chain Reaction as the next activity in the tinkering studio! Over the past few years we've tried out this activity for special events, workshops and conferences, but only as a one-time experience.


Marble Machine Environment Update

Marble Machines is one of our tried and true tinkering studio activities, but we are constantly experimenting to figure out the best way to take this venerable workshop activity and make it run smoothly on the museum floor. We went through several iterations in the prototype space in the palace of fine arts and have lived with a version in our new home for a little more than a year.


Experimenting with the marble machines space design

Experimenting and iterating with the space design is one of the things we'd like to keep trying constantly. Last week, we have started to make some changes in the Marble Machines area. We had observed many issues in the marble machine area since our opening and had been tweaking a little bit, but never made a major environmental change in the space. One of the big issues is that the space gets messy and congested easily, and sometimes it could communicate chaos and mess and send unwelcoming message to visitors.


Setting up the Booth in Moscow

While Ryan was facilitating chain reaction at ECSITE in The Hague, Nicole, Karen, Mike, and I were getting the booth ready for the Polytechnic Museum Festival in Moscow.

The Tinkering Studio itself

The Tinkering Studio as a physical space on the museum floor is the hub through which we prototype, test, and iterate all of the experiences we offer. We spend a lot of time with our activities at the prototype stage to craft an experience that has the qualities we care about, but whenever we are developing something new we try to bring it out on the museum floor and test it with visitors as soon as possible.


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