El Paso Children’s Museum and Science Center (EPCMSC) officials Tuesday announced a partnership with grassroots not-for-profit Fab Lab El Paso, which will play a key role in bringing the museum’s Challenge It zone to life.
Challenge It is one of nine exhibit zones designed by Oakland-based Gyroscope. It is designed to encourage visitors to explore a variety of engineering experiences, from designing and testing cars and boats to coding a giant LED cube. It will include open-ended makerspace activities.
Fab Lab’s mills and 3D printers will be used for small product design and problem solving through engineering. In addition, Gyroscope has asked Fab Lab to fabricate some of the small furnishings within the Challenge It exhibit.
“In Challenge It, you might be sitting on a stool or chair that we actually made digitally at Fab Lab. You’ll also see that Fab Lab fabricated the shelving and displays for the exhibit,” said Cathy Chen, Executive Director of Fab Lab El Paso.
The El Paso Community Foundation was a fiscal sponsor of Fab Lab, before its 501c3 status was secured, as part of an effort to foster youth programs. Fab Lab recently fabricated a 3D scale model of the museum’s Anything’s Possible Climber using high-tech and hand-built techniques. It is on display in the promenade of the Mills Building.
“When we first looked at opportunities for collaboration with local entities, Fab Lab was certainly one of those at the top of our list. Our work with them furthers the El Paso Community Foundation’s ongoing commitment to developing STEAM education,” said Interim Director Stephanie Otero, Vice President of Operations at the El Paso Community Foundation. “By holding hands with Fab Lab, we will develop one of the most wonderful places to explore in the museum and science center. Challenge It will be a makerspace like no other.”
Bound by a set of principles based on accessibility and democratizing digital design tools and resources, Fab Lab provides the community access to digital fabrication tools and resources. It is the first organization of its kind in the El Paso region. Through its partnership with the EPCMSC, Fab Lab will provide visitors with unmatched experiences.
“For the last seven years, much of our work at Fab Lab has revolved around inclusive and creative hands-on learning for kids in our region. Our doors have always been open for participation and we look forward to furthering that at the El Paso Children’s Museum and Science Center where we will be even more accessible to the public,” Fab Lab’s Chen said. “Our partnership will scale up the impact and amplify the work we already do to serve the community.”
The El Paso Children’s Museum and Science Center is a special project of the public-private partnership of the El Paso Community Foundation, the City of El Paso and additional community stakeholders. It was approved by El Paso voters as part of a Quality of Life Bond election in 2012, and is now under construction in downtown El Paso, with an expected completion date in 2022.
Members of the public are invited to participate in the “Name the Museum Challenge” which runs through May 1, 2021.
Rendering gallery courtesy El Paso Children’s Museum and Science Center