Meet the Maker: Tyler Altenhofen
What “makes” a Maker in Residence?
The Maker in Residence program brings creatives with their various experiences to the Scott Family Amazeum for a short-term residency to collaborate with team members in developing new Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) exhibits, public art and performance pieces, and experiences to share with Amazeum guests.
Tyler Altenhofen is a 28-year-old Philadelphia native who has recently moved from San Francisco to Gentry, AR. “I think it was one of those COVID-19 things where I was very much shut inside and felt the need to do something, so I quit my job, moved here with my girlfriend, and bought a house to renovate for a year that is now complete. Now we’re selling it and off to the next adventure!” Tyler likes to delve into technical tasks deeply and spends a lot of his free time exploring projects outside of his current skill set.
Q: If you were a tool, what would you be?
A: Maybe I would be a chisel because I like to think that I’m sharp but I’m certainly dull about half the time!
Tyler is a creative who is not only passionate about his work but also about discovery and learning, core to the mission of the Amazeum. “I like pushing the boundaries of what I know and definitely enjoy helping other people do that too.” Tyler pushes back against obstacles to challenge himself and keep things interesting in his creative journey so as to never get to a place where he feels he has nothing left to learn. This is what he finds inspiring about a museum where curiosity and learning rule through teaching in unexpected and intriguing ways.
Q: Favorite office supply?
A: I love those little field notebooks! Whenever I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing or what to do next, I’ll just make a little checklist of things to get done to help give myself a little bit of organization around all of the mess that is normally present in what I do.
He has an accomplished background in software engineering with a history of working for startups across the country through his experience in computer science and robotics. Out of all the STEAM principles, he relates closely to engineering the most. “I really like making things with my hands. I’m definitely a little artistic and enjoy math, science, and technology but creating something and having an object at the end that you can interact with and use just brings me a lot of joy. I have lots of ideas bopping around my head, I think I’ll probably present a whole handful of them and see what everyone else gets excited for and what they think will work well.”
Q: If you were an Amazeum exhibit, what would you be?
A: Maybe I would be the Spongebob exhibit where it’s trying to do way too much and only accomplishes about half the tasks!
What Tyler hopes to accomplish during his residency in this program is developing personal life experience and to create a great end product that inspires children to learn through interactive and interesting experiences. “I think if I can make something where they can really get their hands on and learn in a way that's engaging and makes them excited, I think that's what I'm hoping to get out of it.”
The Maker in Residence Program is funded through a grant from the Windgate Foundation.