Students make structures and fly them in two cylinders equipped with fans during a tour of the new exhibit "In the Making" at the Amazeum in Bentonville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)
How do you make an idea come to life? That's the question little inquisitive minds can explore in the Amazeum's newest exhibit, "In the Making: Ideas Come To Life." The interactive and bilingual exhibits give kids and families a peek into the creative process and even let them try out their ideas in a variety of fun settings.
"We wanted to have a space where we invite the guests into the thinking process. As that sort of idea bubbled and materialized, we realized we should have an exhibit about what it means to actually make something and how can we get people to think about what it means to actually be a maker," says Simon Mused, senior exhibitions manager at the Scott Family Amazeum.
"We have a lot of booths, materials, a variety of different types of textures, and fields and weights, to let them experiment and get their hands on it," Mused explains while walking through the space intentionally located outside of the Amazeum's 3M Tinkering Hub, a workspace that "enables children and families to explore materials, investigate technologies and create."
Some of the exhibits contain framed notes and photos from the process of bringing the idea for an exhibit to life. There's even a prototype of the Amazeum's Giant SpongeBob exhibit located in the "Wall of Possibilities" modeled as a cabinet of curiosities that also highlights many of the local makers throughout Northwest Arkansas.
"We wanted to show guests that even the ideas that we had here in the Amazeum, you needed to tinker and play with and test out," Mused explains.
"We noticed that a lot of [kids], especially young kids when they're given the option of 'you can make anything,' they get choice paralysis ... they don't want to make something because they feel like if there are too many options, they don't know where to start. And so they just don't do it. That's the same for adults too, sometimes, where we want to do something but don't know how to get started."
The hands-on exhibits give the "maker" parameters to work within -- whether that's seeing what objects will float in an air tube, or making a musical circuit on a seemingly normal bench -- and makers of all ages are invited to play.