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Underground Studio MakerSpace Comes to Downtown Kitchener

New hands-on activities promote creative thinking and engineering

Kitchener, ONTHEMUSEUM is proud to announce the creation of the Underground Studio MakerSpace which will open in 2016. The Underground Studio will become home to young Makers ages six to seventeen who, through experiential learning, will explore new hands-on programs and activities.
Makers are creative thinkers that take apart objects to rebuild while utilizing new designs. This creativity allows Makers to think in new ways, and apply science, technology, engineering, arts and math (S.T.E.A.M.) principles to various fields. The renovated Underground Studio will be designed so children and youth can tinker, hack, invent and explore new ideas. Through new programs, children and youth will learn new skills, gain access to specialized equipment, meet community mentors and become creators.
“It all starts here,” said David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM. “Children and youth will be introduced to new, hands-on activities, which allows for potential creativity and growth; the goal is to inspire, and give children and youth the knowledge and tools needed to pursue careers, and a general interest, within the S.T.E.A.M. fields.”
“Education, inspiration and discovery are the foundation on which great entrepreneurial minds are built,” said Dr. Paul Salvini, CEO of the Accelerator Centre. “These early forays into the exploration of creativity and innovation will provide our next generation of entrepreneurs with the opportunity to ignite a lifelong passion for intellectual experimentation, problem solving, and the pursuit of new ideas.”
THEMUSEUM has allocated a total of $70,000 dollars towards the renovations and equipment acquisition to date, largely due to the generous and visionary donation of $50,000 from the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation’s Children and Youth Capital Fund.
The project launched two years ago with the addition of a monthly Maker Club program on Wednesday evenings led by Tinker Truck™ maker Cameron Turner, and quickly grew to capacity. In addition, THEMUSEUM launched its inaugural S.T.E.A.M. education week last fall, with the assistance of area tech companies Clearpath Robotics, Desire2Learn and Structur3D Printing, and hosted more than 300 grade six students.
“As the digital economy continues to grow, it is essential for our community to develop accessible programs that provide S.T.E.A.M. based learning for youth,” said Vanessa Moniz, THEMUSEUM’s Teacher-in-Residence. “The Underground Studio and maker programs are one way we can fulfill this demand, and meet the needs of teachers for interactive S.T.E.A.M. experiences for their students.”
“Engaging youth in digital content creation is critical to ensuring that we retain a qualified workforce in the Region going forward,” continued Mark Derro, Dean of the Schools of Media and Design and Liberal Studies at Conestoga College. “It is imperative that both the youth, and their parents, understand where these employment opportunities are, and make decisions about education early on.”
A budget of $150,000 is needed for the entire project, which would include a Maker-in-Residence and additional, qualified staff. THEMUSEUM is currently reaching out to technology-based organizations for the additional funds, as well as gifts-in-kind, which will be used to help supplement various programs and activities for young Makers to participate in.
THEMUSEUM’s goal is to have the Underground Studio open and delivering new programs and activities no later than Labour Day, 2016. This project is part of furthering THEMUSEUM’s strategic priorities to diversify public programs and activities, and grow its brand and reputation as an organization that delivers world-class content.

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