Creative, Curious Community Convenes at Tinkerfest 6

September 20, 2019

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (September 16, 2019) — The Scott Family Amazeum hosted its sixth annual Tinkerfest on Saturday, October 5, 2019, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (9 am for Amazeum members). This one-day event brings together tinkerers, makers, artists, DIYers and creatives from diverse backgrounds to share hands-on experiences for the entire family that celebrates the curious, creative and innovative spirit in everyone. 

“Tinkerfest is a hands-on event, a celebration of ideas, where families, makers, artists, and the DIY community from around the region, state and country come together to share ideas and creative experiences with everyone,” says Sam Dean, Amazeum executive director. “Tinkerfest is an Arkansas-born experience that celebrates our creative community in museums around the state and at partner museums across the nation. We are excited to have nine partner museums participate in Tinkerfest. Each year they surprise and delight us with the level of experiences they bring to a one-day event. It’s like IMG 3294being able to sample different museums without leaving Bentonville.” Partner museums often bring prototype exhibits and favorites from their own museums to Tinkerfest.

Representatives from Chabot Space and Science Center from Oakland, CA, and the Museum of Imagination and Innovation from Basking Ridge, NJ, travel to the Amazeum with interactive experiences for families. Museums from neighboring states like Discovery Lab in Tulsa and Science Museum of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, OK, and Thinkery in Austin, and Doseum in San Antonio, TX, bring unique experiences to Northwest Arkansas for the day. Omaha Children’s Museum in Omaha, NE, Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs and Museum of Discovery in Little Rock arrive with creative experiences to share with Northwest Arkansas.

 “Tinkerfest is an Arkansas-born experience that celebrates our creative community in museums around the state and at partner museums across the nation. - Sam Dean

In addition to partner museums, Tinkerfest is an opportunity for local schools to share innovative makingWelder Girl and tinkering activities rooted in interactive learning. Many participating schools are part of a growing network of Making Spaces Schools mentored by the Amazeum Education team. Students from Centerton Gamble, Fulbright Junior High, Washington Junior High, and Old High Middle School in the Bentonville School District. Gravette Upper Elementary, Thaden School, Reagan Elementary School in Rogers, and West Central Elementary School in Joplin, MO, are creating experiences for Tinkerfest.

The first Amazeum Tinkerfest, held at Old High Middle School in Bentonville prior to the opening of the museum, introduced making and tinkering to the community. Now the event is the largest convening of makers in Arkansas, and Tinkerfests are held at museums across the country. 

“Tinkerfest is an event that from the first time we did it, the community came out and said ‘we want to beIMG 3037 a part of this,’” says Erik Smith, Amazeum director of exhibits and facilities. “It’s not about people coming to the Amazeum and getting information. It’s about people coming to actively participate as part of a creative community. It’s a big community event that people of any age and ability can participate in and learn something in the process,” says Smith. 

“Tinkerfest is the greatest excuse in the world to explore things that people of any age might want to try in a safe and accepting environment,” says Joel Gordon, Amazeum making and tinkering manager. “Tinkerfest started as a way for folks who weren’t comfortable calling themselves ‘artists’ or ‘creatives’ to discover that they either are, or can be, makers.

The activities at Tinkerfest are family-friendly and engage participants of all ages in learning science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) through play. A Tinkerfest tradition continues with the popular car take apart activity facilitated by the British Iron Touring Car Club of NWA.

Over 30 unique activities from local and regional makers are added to the Amazeum’s regular experiences on the day of Tinkerfest.

Tinkerfest brings together craftspeople, educators, artists, engineers, scientists and technologists from diverse backgrounds to interact with families, promote creativity and curiosity and support a community of makers. Whether avid tinkerer or beginner, Tinkerfest is a great event for families to play, connect and create.