Columbia, SC – EdVenture Children’s Museum to provide local schools with guidance, professional development and support to jumpstart and sustain maker education in classrooms.

The initiative is part of Making Spaces: Expanding Maker Education Across the Nation, a nationwide program supported by Google, the Maker Education Initiative (Maker Ed) and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (CMP).

“EdVenture is excited to be building on the enthusiasm for maker education that has truly taken off across the country,” said Karen S. Coltrane, President and CEO of EdVenture. “We are very proud to be a leader in the region for our efforts to encourage children and their caregivers to engage in maker activities in the museum’s Maker Works exhibit and beyond.“

Maker Ed’s Executive Director Trey Lathe adds, “Schools are increasingly interested in maker education and establishing youth maker programs and spaces, but don’t always have access to the training, resources, and community of support they need. We are excited that EdVenture will be working to expand that energy and momentum in a similar model throughout the South.”

In June 2012, EdVenture opened its Maker Works exhibit, the first of its kind, and has continued to be a leader in inspiring young people and their caregivers to be creative, engage in tinkering, and enhance their ideas in a collaborative spirit. As a regional leader in the maker education movement, since opening the exhibit, the museum has hosted an annual Mini Maker Faire in late spring.

“Within all of us there is a tinkerer, a creator or even an inventor, and at EdVenture, we see our job as helping nurturing and supporting that genius within every child,” added Nikki Williams, Executive Vice President of External Affairs of EdVenture. “For several years, we have incorporated the maker education philosophy in our after school programs, as well as in many of our camps–doing whatever we can to help young learners experience the spirit of innovation and the joy of making.”

Earlier this summer, the White House invited EdVenture to represent South Carolina and celebrate the start of the National Week of Making by attending the morning kick-off and being a part of the Nation of Makers events that brought together individuals from around the country who are leading efforts to empower, support, and inspire makers.

“We see this as an outstanding opportunity to expand our maker education outreach efforts in schools across the state,” commented Coltrane. “Google’s partnership will help us make that happen and enable more South Carolina students to design, build and expand their entrepreneurial spirit.”

CMP piloted a year-long run of the program in 2015-2016 with ten schools in Southwestern Pennsylvania that collectively raised more than $100,000 to launch maker education in their schools. Based on lessons learned during this pilot phase, CMP is designing a toolkit that will allow hubs to effectively train schools in creating crowdfunding campaigns. “We are thrilled to be able to scale this program to the national level to get more youth the resources needed to start tinkering, creating and making,” says Jane Werner, Executive Director of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.“

Other confirmed hubs for the 2016-2017 school year include: Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville, Ark.; KID Museum in Bethesda, Md.; Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Va.; Digital Youth Network in Chicago, Ill.; Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt.; and San Mateo County Office of Education in Redwood City, Calif. An additional hub will be determined this fall.

Sharon Sanders
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