Connecting Making to the Heritage of a City
Be A Maker (BAM) is the makerspace of the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The staff of BAM seek to make and uphold a connection to the city in which they are located through the activities of the makerspace. Mike Cook, BAM’s Director of Maker Experiences, on connecting to the industrial heritage of Milwaukee: “There are a lot of kids whose parents work in industrial jobs. We have a long history of making in this city.” While the connection to Milwaukee’s past industry does not literally manifest itself in every program, BAM is grounded in a belief in the value of putting authentic tools in the hands of learners.
Aligning Making to a Larger Campus Vision
The makerspace at the Kenan Science Library at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill was originally designed to meet the needs of the science students on campus. Over time, its role on campus extended beyond the science students to become a hub or catalyst for maker-related activities in the university. To meet its goals, the makerspace staff had to think differently about how they served the campus community. They are now developing an interdisciplinary campus-wide maker-program called Creator Space, to serve a wide variety of students and needs.
Defining Success in the Process of Making
The Ingenuity Lab is a program and exhibition at the Lawrence Hall of Science, the University of California-Berkeley’s Public Science Center, that is addressing the challenge of measuring success. Since the program focuses more on process than on the final product, evidence of success is found in the extent to which the learners engage in various phases of the process. Success with making activities also rests outside of the program; the Ingenuity Lab collects and receives photographs of projects that visitors and participants work on on their own. By approaching challenges in creative ways, with learners’ own skills and talents, the program believes that people may find solutions that are unique to their own interests and perspectives.