TJ McCue

TJ McCue, Contributor

I write about makers and inventors and creators.

3/22/2012 @ 12:39PM |631 views

New York Hall of Science Opens New Maker Space

Cigar box guitars at Maker Faire 2011.

Cigar box guitars at Maker Faire 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) recently announced the opening of Maker Space, where schools, families and aspiring makers from across the The New York area will learn the tools and techniques of “making” in its many forms. It is a place for collaboration, community and cooperation in trying new ideas and learning from peers.

What’s particularly important to me about this new makerspace is that a large public organization sees the opportunity. That DIY, 3D printing, CNC laser cutting, and other emerging digital technologies are not “fringe” but mainstream.

NYSCI is launching programs to promote the do-it-yourself (DIY) culture. Making projects is not only technology, of course, and often involves traditional DIY disciplines like arts and crafts, woodworking and metalworking, too. Maker Space will be a venue with activities touching on all of these disciplines. Programs will be produced by NYSCI and also developed in collaboration with guest artists, developers, hackers and others from across the broader Maker community. The sweet spot, in my view, will be that collaboration and outreach into the existing communities that are growing rapidly in New York City (and beyond).

Prior to its official launch, Maker Space hosted singer-songwriter Björk to present the Biophilia Education Series as part of the artist’s month-long New York City residency. In addition to six performances at NYSCI, Maker Space was the site of a three-week education program that introduced 60 Queens middle-schoolers to the fundamentals of music composition through the use of iPads, Lemurs and other digital music-making tools.

“The culture of Making is perfectly aligned with the mission of NYSCI. Curiosity, creativity, and collaboration all come together in the activities we have planned for the Space, and the network of makers that will work with us in this new venue represent an inspiring pool of talent to give our visitors—especially young children—the tools they need to nurture the innate human tendency to be creative and see the world differently.”  –Margaret Honey, President and CEO of NYSCI

Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) through its Making the Future education initiative contributed to the NYSCI Maker Space. The initiative recognizes the importance of encouraging young people to develop skills like creativity, innovation and collaboration that will prepare the next generation of leaders in our global economy.

The initial outfitting of Maker Space includes equipment, tools and other resources that will facilitate both physical and digital Making projects. This includes an in-kind donation from SINGER Sewing Company of 18 SINGER® sewing machines. Workshops that teach the basics of sewing and quilting, as well as an introduction to the use of soft circuits and conductive fabrics that are increasingly used in projects (see eTextile expert Lynne Bruning profile late last year).

The NYSCI Maker Space was designed and built by the Brooklyn-based firm Situ Studio. For Maker Space, Situ designed a plywood 3-pin arch structure that celebrates themes of craft, assembly and connection. The structure encloses approximately 1,200-square-feet.

Learn more about the new makerspace here.

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