From June 12-18, 2015, the White House celebrated the National Week of Making. The event was designed both to highlight makers developing solutions to problems facing our world today, and to encourage others to participate in activities that foster “innovation, ingenuity and creativity.” The week kicked off with the National MakerFaire in Washington, DC, and continued with activities and events at schools, museums, libraries, and businesses across the US.
As we prepared for the opening of the Draper Spark!Lab, a hands-on invention workspace where kids and families can engage in the invention process, it seemed like a perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the Week of Making. On the afternoons of June 17 and 18, we welcomed families to Spark!Lab, and invited them to try out the new activities and discover their inner inventor.
After nearly two years of focused planning, I was excited to have our first visitors in the space. But I was also a little nervous. What if the activities were too hard (or too easy)? What if visitors didn’t enjoy the experience? What if they left after just a few minutes? What if everything broke? My head was swimming!
Within minutes, though, I realized I had worried for nothing. Parents and children were engaged in activities, and before long, I heard sounds of success (“Yes!” and “I did it!”) around the room. It was wonderful to see visitors “making” in Spark!Lab—inventing, creating, collaborating, testing ideas, overcoming frustration, and celebrating their work.
In a Presidential Proclamation issued to acknowledge the National Day of Making in 2014, President Obama stated, “I am committed to helping Americans of all ages bring their ideas to life.” In Spark!Lab, we are too. As we open the Draper Spark!Lab, we look forward to welcoming visitors from across the US and around the world, and giving them the opportunity to discover what we know to be true: Everyone is inventive.
Draper Spark!Lab is located on the first floor, west wing, of the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except for Tuesdays and Dec. 25.