4th Annual Tinkerfest today at Museum of Discovery

tinkerfestThe Museum of Discovery presents its fourth annual Tinkerfest from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, offering the public a chance to discover how everyday objects such as cars and computers work, and opportunities to explore the engineering and science behind building objects.

More than 40 stations will be set up both inside and outside the museum. Among the activities Tinkerfest visitors can engage in:  

  • Toy take-apart
  • Car take-apart
  • Water exploration activities
  • Marshmallow shooters
  • Tiny drawings
  • Light painting
  • “How to make” workshops
  • Squishy circuits
  • Cardboard maze
  • Construction for kids

There also will be food trucks at Tinkerfest selling a variety of food.

“Tinkerfest is one of the great days of the year at the Museum of Discovery,” said Kelley Bass, museum CEO. “It’s invigorating to see hundreds of families engaged in hands-on activities that are as instructional as they are enjoyable. Tinkerfest is directly aligned with the museum’s mission, and we’re happy the public has embraced it so enthusiastically.”

Cross Gunter Witherspoon and Galchus is Tinkerfest’s presenting sponsor. The event is also made possible through financial support from Welspun Tubular; Arkansas Discovery Network; East-Harding Construction; AT&T; Entergy Arkansas; Central Arkansas Water; Nabholz Construction; Arkansas School for Math, Science and Arts; Acxiom; Ace Glass; Caterpillar; VCC; and Spectra Entergy.

Tinkerfest activities are included in the museum’s regular daily admission: $10 for adults, $8 for children 1-12 and free for infants younger than 1. Seniors, teachers, Little Rock city employees and active and retired military are admitted for $8.

To learn more about Tinkerfest, visit https://www.museumofdiscovery.org/events/tinkerfest 

Museum of Discovery’s mission is to ignite a passion for science, technology and math in a dynamic, interactive environment.

Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed at Museum of Discovery

mod dinoDinosaurs have taken over the Museum of Discovery in the new exhibit, Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed.

Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed explores the bones and fossils belonging to the giant creatures that once roamed the Earth. Visitors can view and even touch six full dinosaur skeletal molds including a Triceratops, Tyrannosaurs Rex and Velociraptor. There are additional molds of skulls, arms, legs, eggs, footprints and a 6-foot-1 Apatosaurus femur. Visitors will also enjoy a dig box where they can use paleontology tools to unearth dinosaur bones.

Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed was conceptualized by the Arkansas Discovery Network, a unique six-museum partnership, for which the Museum of Discovery serves as the statewide hub, and built by the Museum of Discovery exhibits team, led by Josh Annett.

“Often, with dinosaur exhibits, the crucial background information is overshadowed by the shear majesty of these massive animals,” said Kathleen Lawson, Arkansas Discovery Network Director. “But Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposedwill educate and excite visitors while dispelling common misconceptions and engage people of all ages with hands-on, interactive exhibits.”

Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed will remain at the Museum of Discovery through April 26 then will make its way across the state to the partnering Arkansas Discovery Network museums including Amazeum in Bentonville, Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover, Arkansas State University Museum in Jonesboro, Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff and Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs.

Museum of Discovery’s mission is to ignite a passion for science, technology and math in a dynamic, interactive environment.

Reynolds Foundation Continues Support of Museum Network

adnlogoEarlier this week, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation announced it is is continuing its major support for an innovative seven-museum partnership known as the Arkansas Discovery Network.  Since the launch of the museum collaborative in 2006, the Reynolds Foundation has awarded more than $13.6 million in funding for the state-wide effort

The latest $3.5 million grant will bring a number of the nation’s top interactive museum exhibits to the state.  The grant will continue support for a 40-foot mobile museum truck that delivers hands-on science education to the most rural areas of the state.  It will also provide stipends for underserved schools to visit partner museums, and the grant also will support The Arkansas Discovery Network’s most recent initiative, the establishment of Tinkering Studios at partner museums across the state.  Tinkering Studios are designated museum spaces in which visitors can stop and build, play, engineer, and tinker with paper, circuits, magnets, and a variety of materials.

“Open-ended experiences like tinkering activities are great ways for kids to experiment with basic science principles and for families to connect,” said Arkansas Discovery Network Director Kathleen Lawson.  “We appreciate the continued support from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation,” continued Lawson. “Their generosity will allow us to continue to grow and expand the important interactive learning experiences we provide to children and families across the state through our partner museums and programs.”

Arkansas Discovery Network partners include the Network’s managing museum, Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, as well as Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff, Texarkana Museums System, Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover, Arkansas State University Museum in Jonesboro and the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Museum, Amazeum, which will break ground soon in Bentonville.

Steve Anderson, President of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation remarks, “It’s been nearly 10 years since we realized how impactful it could be for museums to complement the school classroom experience with vibrant, interactive learning opportunities for children.  More important, we have found that museums can get far more for their money and provide more programs to rural communities when they all work together as a team.”

The Network’s partnering museums have served more than 2 million Arkansans, and it has been an accomplishment involving many in Arkansas.  Lawson notes, “Since the Foundation’s initial grant to seed theArkansas Discovery Network, many corporate and foundation sponsors have invested in these important hands-on science programs that enrich a child’s school experience, bring families together in the community, and provide teachers with creative ideas for teaching science in their own classrooms. We are grateful to all these supporters as well.”

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named.  Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, it has committed more than $80 million to enrich hands-on learning experiences for kids, their families, and their teachers through its Children’s Discovery Initiative.

For more information, visit www.arkansasdiscoverynetwork.org.

Museum of Discovery presents TINKERFEST on August 4

The Museum of Discovery will host the first TinkerFest Saturday, August 4, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, an Arkansas Discovery Network event. As a member of the six-museum statewide consortium, the museum will showcase local makers and inventors and allow the public to create unique things made from ordinary objects.

Tinkering is free-form experimentation with use of screwdrivers, motors, wires, glue, and more. People can spend hours creating and building. Tinkering allows them to slow down and immerse themselves in a workshop environment.

TinkerFest will feature inventors and artisans from central Arkansas. Nearly 30 work stations will be set up both in- and outside the museum. Visitors will have the opportunity to construct elegant and delicious geometric shapes with gum balls and bamboo skewers; make one-of-a-kind jewelry from junk; take apart appliances and computers to actually see how they were designed and how they operated; repair recycled bicycles; make fun accessories, purses and wallets with duct tape; see a three-dimensional printer in action; disassemble a vehicle, and much more.

“Some of the best inventions have started as tinkering projects. It’s what has helped shape our nation,” said Joel Gordon, visitor experience director for the museum. A tinkerer at heart, Gordon manages the museum’s Tinkering Studio conducting workshops and encouraging imaginative creation. “For example, when the United States battled the Soviet Union for space exploration supremacy during the great ‘space race,’ people literally went into their garages and warehouses and started tinkering and creating. Innovation was the end result. People invented thermal gear, freeze-dried food, microwave ovens, hair dryers and the list goes on. It’s how the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) got its beginning.”

“Another big tinkering explosion was the integrated circuit board. That one invention has led to the creation of computers, MP3 players and other advancements. And, who were these tinkerers? Future engineers, scientists, mathematicians and teachers. We need another space race, and people are starting to realize the time is now,” he stressed.

One can build just about anything from materials lying around the house, from flying objects to intricate circuit boards. Even movie-making can be considered tinkering. It is the use of imagination, ingenuity and hands-on creativity. The increased popularity of do-it-yourself shows, online tutorials, videos and books has spurred a renewed interest in tinkering.

TinkerFest sponsors are Kroger, FTN Associates, Ltd., Regional Recycling and Waste Reduction District, and Spectra Energy.

Museum partners from around the country, including The Exploratorium in San Francisco, San Diego’s Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History will participate in Saturday’s TinkerFest event. All three have strong working relationships with the Museum of Discovery and the Arkansas Discovery Network.

The Donald W. Reynolds Science Center at the Museum of Discovery’s mission is to ignite a passion for science, technology and math in a dynamic, interactive environment.


About Arkansas Discovery Network

The Arkansas Discovery Network, an innovative network of museums across the state, has received more than $10 million in funding from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation since 2006. The network strives to make hands-on, interactive museum experiences more accessible to the state’s schoolchildren and their families, especially those in rural areas. Partner museums include the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, Mid America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff, Texarkana Museums System in Texarkana, Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover and Arkansas State University Museum in Jonesboro.