Crowd Favorites Meet New Makers at Maker Faire Detroit 2013

Maker Faire Detroit returns to The Henry Ford later this month! Lish Dorset, social media manager for The Henry Ford, fills us in on what you can expect this year at the popular event.

It feels like 2013 has been flying by so far, especially when you think that Maker Faire Detroit is right around the corner. For our fourth installment of the popular DIY festival, we’re mixing a bit of the old with a lot of the new for our guests to enjoy July 27-28.

We received some truly fantastic applications this year from makers both from Michigan and across the country. More than 400 creative individuals will take to Henry Ford Museum and our specially-constructed outdoor midway for two days of hands-on fun and learning. Crowd favorites, like EepyBird (the Coke and Mentos guys) and Life-Size Mousetrap (a 25-ton Rube Goldberg machine) will return along with Gon KiRin, a 64- by 26-foot fire breathing dragon for one final appearance at Maker Faire Detroit. It’s always exciting to see fans ask for some of their favorite makers and exhibits year after year.

Joining our tried-and-true favorites are a crop of new-to-us Maker Faire Detroit participants. We’re pleased to have makers from all corners of the state come to The Henry Ford this month for Maker Faire. Cities, such as Lansing and Grand Rapids, will have representation as they show off their projects to a whole new audience.

Inside, the area’s best computer thinkers will be trying to “hack” Henry Ford Museum thanks to Compuware’s programming-themed “Hack the Museum” hackathon going on both days. Keep up to date with Maker Faire Detroit news and scheduling information with Compuware’s app, too. (Visit iTunes and search for Maker Faire Detroit 2013 to download this free app to start planning your visit.)

This year’s event will also honor our institution’s founder, Henry Ford, as we celebrate what would have been his 150th birthday just a few days after the big event.

As Maker Faires, both big and mini, continue to gain popularity and draw bigger and bigger crowds, it’s important to us to see groups recognize the power of the making movement. Recently the Michigan House and Senate passed a resolution recognizing the contributions Maker Faire Detroit has made to the state of Michigan. We’re honored to say that July 27-28, 2013 is officially recognized as Maker Faire Detroit Weekend in Michigan. It’s a wonderful honor and once again reinforces that the maker movement is hear to stay.

If you come to The Henry Ford for Maker Faire Detroit, make sure to share your experiences with us by tagging your posts, tweets, and photos with #MakerFaireDetroit. We can’t wait to see what inspires you.

Lish Dorset is the social media manager for The Henry Ford in Dearborn. She lives in Royal Oak with her family. When she’s not sharing some of her favorite artifacts from the collections of The Henry Ford with fans on Facebook, she’s at home crafting and thinking of new project ideas for Maker Faire Detroit.

Hack yes! Maker Faire Detroit returns to The Henry Ford, July 28-29 2012

I’m still new to the world of making and hacking. I’d never heard terms like “Maker space” or “hack space” until our family visited last year’s Maker Faire Detroit at The Henry Ford in Dearborn. After that experience, we immediately put this year’s Maker Faire Detroit – July 28-29 – on our calendar.

There is fun for the whole family at the Cirque Amongus exhibit space.

Turns out, many folks are Makers of some sort and don’t even know it. If you tinker, craft, cook, innovate, build or create just about anything – guess what? There’s a Maker in the house.

I make my own sewing creations, and my girls make jewelry and are all about wearable art. My 10-year-old son takes apart old electronics and attempts to repurpose them into some sort something – even if it’s an abstract glued montage of spare parts. I know spring has sprung at our house when I see our Red Maple outfitted with one of his creative home-designed pulley systems. It just never dawned on me – until last year – to call any of us (let alone all of us!) Makers.

Maker Faire is all about sharing inspiration and innovation.

Granted, at last year’s Maker Faire Detroit we saw some pretty grand-scale Making: a fire-breathing dragon, an interactive circus experience and some extreme theatrics. But there was also the opportunity to get up close to small-scale and rather revolutionary creations including art installations, 3D printers, old and new science projects. There were also some homespun items such as heirloom brooms, jewelry and textile designs, food and health products and all sorts of items from the high- to low-tech and the nifty to nerdy (in the very best sense). The Henry Ford also brings out for discovery and sharing some items from its collections that are not usually on the museum floor.

Clara Deck, senior conservator at The Henry Ford, prepares miniature steam engines from the collections to display at Maker Faire Detroit.

With 400 Makers exhibiting at this year’s Maker Faire Detroit, there will be all kinds of awesome Making that falls between the big and bizarre and small, artsy and tasty. Categories of exhibitors include engineering, arts, agriculture, technology, design, science, crafts, young Makers, household, educational, green energy, music and food. Makers come from hacker spaces, corporations, schools, studios, kitchens, basements and garages – near and far. There are things to do, see, touch, take and buy.

I love the fact there is absolutely something for everybody.  In our household with children of all ages, we enjoyed the event’s carnival-like atmosphere with all its showmanship, camaraderie, idea sharing, forward-thinking and historic Making displayed and discussed right there on the grounds of the one place that truly celebrates innovation to its core.

Exhibits are outside and inside of Henry Ford Museum.

The Maker Faire Detroit website features some blog posts and video clips of makers attending this year’s Faire, as well as a look at some from last year’s event. I can’t help but find inspiration knowing that some regular Making folks are responsible for some life-changing innovation that many of us take for granted. And although my own tinkering may not lead to the discovery of how to build a better mousetrap, I can’t help but be encouraged by maker Mark Perez in knowing that at least I can strive to build a much, much bigger one.

Kristine Hass is a mother of five and long-time member of The Henry Ford. She frequently blogs about coming events and visits to America’s Greatest History Attraction. All photos courtesy of Kristine.

Let Your Creativity Shine at the Maker Faire Detroit 2011


Family Fun at the Henry Ford Museum - Photo Credit - The Henry Ford

Family Fun at the Henry Ford Museum

The Henry Ford is one of my favorite places in the world – ask anyone who knows me and they’ll confirm it to be true. It inspires, teaches and motivates me and millions of other visitors throughout the year to try to make our very own mark on the world.  And there are no exceptions during the annual Maker Faire Detroit, which is held both inside and outside of Henry Ford Museum.

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