Montshire Museum opens new Tinkering Loft
As part of its 40th anniversary, the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont will open The Tinkering Loft on June 25. Part exhibition and part program area, this innovative and interactive new space engages visitors through fun and whimsical challenges that spark interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The Tinkering Loft builds on two years of successful programs that the Montshire staff has developed, tested, and refined with the help of hundreds of participants in all age groups. The 2,500-square-foot exhibition features four activity areas for different ages and levels of challenge:
- Families with young children can explore Build It, a creative playspace filled with oversized foam blocks. Kids are free to build forts and invent their own games. This free-form area helps develop problem-solving, collaboration, and communication skills by allowing children to experiment with balance, materials, spatial relationships, and design concepts.
- Invitation to Tinker welcomes all visitors to take on STEM challenges at their own pace. This area offers a rotating selection of projects that encourage amateur engineers to build, experiment, and iterate on their designs. For example, “Spinning Things” urges older kids and adults to construct a twirling top from nuts, bolts, washers, and cardboard, and then to improve on their design by tweaking the weight, center of gravity, and moment of inertia.
- The Montshire’s popular Tinkering Labs make up two facilitated zones. Participants can learn about circuits, motors, balance, and structural design to assemble a personalized, jittering “Scribble Bot” or experiment with 3D architecture and LED lighting to assemble a miniature “Electric Island Village.” The Montshire team designed a series of six hands-on projects that introduce visiting tinkerers to new concepts while encouraging them to explore their own creative vision. The two Labs will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
In addition to strengthening STEM skills, The Montshire’s tinkering activities provide opportunities to build “grit” – the perseverance and problem-solving mindset needed to succeed as a 21st-century learner. When people tinker, they try out ideas, make adjustments, and discover science firsthand.
Join us June 25 through August 28 and experience the joy of science in The Tinkering Loft at the Montshire.
The Tinkering Loft is made possible with support from our Premier Exhibition Sponsor, Chroma Technology Corporation, our Exhibition Supporter, Red River Charitable Foundation, and donors to the David Goudy Discovery Fund. Media sponsorship is provided by WCAX-TV.