#MakerMondays – Cincinnati Museum Center Exhibits Department

Sand Table

Kinetic sandbox featured in Warren County’s Thomas C. Spellmire Water Conservation Education Exhibit

When was the last time you had a truly passionate conversation about taxidermy? Or participated in a brainstorming session to determine the best way to build a 25-foot replica of the human mouth?

For Cincinnati Museum Center’s exhibits department, this is just business as usual. And with a host of new projects in the works, you’ll want to be sure to pay the exhibits department a visit during Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire.

“We find ways to help people make a more personal connection, to feel those goose bump moments,” says Sarah Lima, exhibits business development manager.

With specialties ranging from carpentry to fiber optics to graphic design, this team of designers and fabricators champions the task of bringing history and science to life.

The Cave, for example, found in the Museum of Natural History & Science, was modeled in part after two Kentucky limestone caves – Teamers Cave in Rockcastle County and Dyches Bridge Cave in Pulaski County – and is the largest artificial cave in the U.S. Complete with subterranean waterfall and bat chamber, you may forget you’re not actually 300 feet underground!

Cincinnati in Motion, another visitor favorite, is the largest S-scale, full-motion urban layout in the nation. This 1/64 scale recreation invites guests to “ride” through early 20th century versions of Over-the-Rhine, Mount Adams and even Coney Island as working trains and streetcars zip by.

Of course, in the venturesome spirit of making, the exhibits department does not confine its work to the four walls of Museum Center. For example, when the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District needed a new, cutting-edge way to educate the community about the importance protecting our water resources, they knew exactly who to partner with.

“They said, ‘we want something more digital, more interactive, with more wow,’” explains Lima. Employing motion-sensor topography projections and heaps of kinetic sand, the team transformed a humble 24-foot trailer into a hands-on mobile museum.

Cincinnati Museum Center is truly unique because there are few other places where you’ll find so many different varieties of maker under one roof.

“There’s definitely a little bit of everything, and we all take so much joy in working together,” says Lima. “Oh! And almost everyone in our department is a musician.”

Click here for more information on Maker Faire so you don’t miss what the exhibits team might be making this year!

– Syron Townsend

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