this post forms the action plan for the maker certificate run by sonoma state university. the certificate program is supported by maker ed through their maker corps programme.
my action plan is based on experiences at the derby silk mill:museum of making during the summer of 2016. the museum is in a process of re-imagining itself and 2016 is part of the research to inform how the museum might be when it opens in 2020.
the museum is embracing science, technology, engineering, art and maths (steam) within how the making experience is delivered at the museum.
steam is described as an holistic process and because of this i am informing my action plan from another holistic process: forest school in which i am a practising leader.
personally i am dsylexic and this will be reflected in my style of writing within this action plan.
my action plan is about how to successfully deliver steam powered making experiences within one of the many experiences available at the museum and is the open make also known as the drop in making session.
the action plan
the drop in opportunity takes place in the makerspace called the maker bar. this plan is for makers working as a making facilitator at the maker bar and is in three sections.
- setting up
the maker bar is a live making space for the duration of the opening hours of the museum. when setting up consider your own needs before the museum opens its doors. little things like are you wearing comfortable shoes, have something to make yourself and a sufficient amount of food and drink to maintain your energy levels while on the maker bar?
making the bar feel comfortable involves you feeling comfortable with the bar. before the museum opens take time to mentally get into the maker space. familiarise yourself with whats on the menu, where its located on the bar and what is happening on the hub. make the space your own by arranging/making/setting the bar as you want it to be found.
if you are bringing something fresh to the bar like a material or process, consider any risks that might be within this and take any measures necessary.
there might be a screen backing the bar. if the bluetoothed images to slideshow is available take a few moments to bluetooth some quick makes you’ve done for visual inspiration. if this is not available check with the duty site manager about what information material they would like to be shown. this is likely to already to set up and need to be simply switched on.
there will almost certainly be other activities happening while you are on the maker bar. take a few moments to find out what is happening via a quick chat and make sure to mention what your plan is for the maker bar that session. is what is happening on the hub able to directly inform something you can make today ? have you fixed upon a required set make or a more open minded approach where you chat and guide the visitor to a make that they didn’t expect themselves to make while in the museum?
the drop in nature of the maker bar means at times that activities will arise that are outside of the already risked assessed activities. a strategy to cope with this is to adopt a dynamic risk assessment technique where you are in real time assessing what you are seeing happening and happy that its safe. if you are not happy, please find a method of distraction to move the a participants away from what you consider to be risky.
making can be a very personal pass time, you may find some visitors to the museum being slow to engage with the activity. please don’t fret. remain positive. friendly and wear a smile on your face.
draw on your previous experience of engaging with the public in making situations and combine this with the available resources on the bar to create making opportunities based on your conversation with the visitor as they approach to you to enquire what the maker bar might be.
remember to keep it simple and run with what the visitor’s needs. they might want to make the special you’ve provided for the day. they might want to do something inspired by the menu or they might simply want to copy something else already on the bar.
let them take their time to make. encourage them where required.
important things to remember about the maker bar
- it’s a space to make something.
- it’s part of a positive enjoyable visitor experience.
if they have a positive experience the theory is they will tell their friends and family and may even return to experience the museum again. there’s no need to force someone into an uncomfortable place where they don’t want to make something.
when the visitor has completed their make, chat to them about it and ask them if they are happy for you to photograph it. keep chatting and let the visitor guide their own time.
encourage them to take their make away with them.
keep your energy level up and keep smiling. another visitor is about to approach the bar and a whole new conversation about to begin.
when possible during the session, make notes of any key interaction points or things that have been said. in the days following the session, share these with members of the visitor experience team/ audience development team/project director/anyone else you think will love to hear the storey.
use the sharing process as a means to reflect upon what you learnt, saw and felt. make notes about these reflections and take them forward with you into the next time you work on the maker bar.