my role is to educate educators on teaching and learning, and to connect educators to each other and to learners, makers, and artists around the city. none of that would be possible without the partnership, toolkit, and guidance that Making Spaces provided for us."
Rebecca Millerjohn

Youth Services Librarian, Bubbler at Madison Public Library, Madison, WI

learning practices of making

At Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and New York Hall of Science, we have been engaged in a research initiative to determine how to best support family engagement in making as a learning process. Through this work, the research-practice teams at each museum have empirically identified the kinds of learning that we value with respect to making. Generally, we call this work, our Principles of Practice. At Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, this has developed into a framework, the Learning Practices of Making, as well as an ongoing approach to reflective practice.

These Learning Practices of Making serve as observable behaviors of learners in MAKESHOP, the Museum’s makerspace. The practices were developed collaboratively between researchers at the Museum and MAKESHOP educators.

The Children’s Museum uses a practice-based approach to identify and describe learning, rather than an outcomes-based approach. In this way, our research-practice team focuses on the behaviors—the actions and interactions of learners as they engage in making as a learning process, rather than on the end results of their experience. Viewing learning in this way, as educators facilitate visitor experiences in MAKESHOP, they are constantly evaluating, re-thinking and tweaking the learning experiences they design to better support children and families’ engagement and growth in one or more of these practices.

visit makinginmuseums.org to learn more

making + learning in museums & libraries: a practitioner's guide & framework

The goal of Making+Learning is to build the capacity of libraries and museums to create and sustain effective makerspaces and related programs for learning.

This project aims to share ways that we can nurture and grow conditions for learning within making experiences. We do this through a description of the framework, a collection of case studies that illustrate how making and makerspaces are being implemented around the country, as well as a suite of tools and resources intended to enable museum and library professionals to thoughtfully consider key elements of makerspace and program design to support learning and grow staff capacity.

Making+Learning is a cooperative agreement between the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project is supported by thought partners from the Exploratorium, the Chicago Public Library, North Carolina State University Libraries and the Maker Education Initiative.

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making observations: evidencing learning through making

Making Observations is a project of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh with the Science Museum of Minnesota, Chicago Public Library and the Montshire Museum of Science to develop a suite of tools and resources with the aim of identifying, documenting and evaluating learners’ engagement in making as an informal learning process.

Making Observations was made possible through the support of the Institute of Museum & Library Services.

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making spaces

Since 2016, the Making Spaces program has employed an innovative model pairing educational site partners with a nearby Regional Hub to jumpstart and sustain maker education through professional development, tools, resources and community engagement.

The program aims to sustainably integrate making into learning environments across the country.

Since it began, Making Spaces has engaged 31 Hubs, more than 200 schools, 350 educators and an estimated 26,000 youth.

Making Spaces is led by Maker Ed with support from Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

Learn more about the Making Spaces program.