Welcome to Making and Learning! Many libraries and museums have recently established or invested resources to implement maker programs or makerspaces. While these programs and spaces serve a variety of goals, they overwhelmingly serve as sites of ambitious learning. As the making movement grows by leaps and bounds, the field itself knows relatively little about how to support learning within these spaces. Often, it seems, makerspaces are developed without first taking stock of the conditions that are requisite for ambitious learning experiences to unfold within the making experience.
As such, we have put together this course to provide museum and library professionals with a framework to support learning in library and museum makerspaces. The course is designed introduce you to the key elements of successful makerspaces: purpose, people, pieces, and parts. We will introduce tools that are intended to help you surface each of these elements for yourselves, offering some direction as you consider creating a makerspace for visitors and patrons.
Each session will present a new tool-based activity designed to support participants’ productive wrangling with the elements of the framework. The tools are intended to facilitate discussions amongst team members about some of the key considerations when creating a makerspace that supports learning in a museum or library. When used with organizational teams, the tools that will be covered in this course can help surface differing perspectives on making, develop a common vision and language around making and help your team towards developing a plan of work that reflects the many factors that influence a highly productive makerspace or maker program.
The project has been carried out through a cooperative agreement between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Several thought partners have also been critical to this work and have provided expert support: Exploratorium, Chicago Public Library, North Carolina State University Libraries, and Maker Education Initiative.