Springfield Museums to Present “How People Do Things”


A child explores making objects with wax and wax shapes. (Photo submitted)

When Jenny A. Powers was a child, she watched “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” almost every day. She enjoyed the factory tours that Fred Rogers took his television audience to; his favorite was the pencil factory tour.

“Colored pencils were a big part of my life, and this episode really opened my imagination and made me want to learn more about how everyday objects were created,” she said. . “I also loved the episode where we learned how construction paper is made, especially how the different colors are produced.”

She is now the Family Engagement Coordinator at the Springfield Museums and a member of the Educators’ Quarter through the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College.

She is therefore delighted that the Springfield Museums are presenting “How People Do Things,” an exhibit inspired by tours of Mr. Rogers’ factory. It takes place from January 16 to May 9 at the Springfield Science Museum.

How People Make Things offers convenient stations to explore four stages of manufacturing: cut, mold, warp and assemble.

“Knowing what goes into creating objects can help foster a sense of respect and care for them, which can also extend to respect and care for other humans and our environment,” Powers explained. “Knowing the people who created them can inspire a wide range of career opportunities, from factory to research and development.

In addition, learning to manufacture can inspire children to take an interest in all aspects of science, technology, engineering, art, math, and history, and can even encourage them to become future inventors. “I like to think my early interest in pencils and construction paper was part of what eventually brought me to the Art Discovery Center at the Springfield Museums,” Powers said.

How People Make Things celebrates the story of how things are made – the people, the manufacturing processes, and the technology used to make everyday things.

“Hands-on and mental learning is essential for a full understanding of concepts,” said Larissa Murray, Director of Museum Education. “This exhibit offers many ways to explore manufacturing, from crafting objects to interactive games to better understand the jobs people have in factories.”

The exhibition is aimed at children aged 5 to 12 and their families.

The trades of cutting, molding, deformation and assembly are presented through different stations which allow visitors to try each of them. “And many will find that these are actually skills many of us do every day – we cut a piece of paper, shape play-doh, assemble Legos into new shapes, and try to put together shelves without having excess parts, ”Powers said.

Visitors can use a die cutter to cut out a horse or box design that can be folded up and taken home. They can match a finished product to the mold that was used to form it and deform a wire into a spool shape. And they can assemble a structure in a construction center.

“Innovation, ingenuity and hard work have defined Springfield since its inception,” said Powers. George Washington saw the potential of this waterfront city as a hub for the burgeoning nation and set the city on a path of technological development and the agile entrepreneurial spirit that continues to define its courage today.

Because Springfield excelled in precision manufacturing, artisans came from all over the world to share their knowledge and learn from each other.

“How People Make Things honors the remarkable thought process that goes into making it and explains complicated systems in such a wonderfully clear way that no one could leave the show without a sense of awe (and pride) in the face of it. intelligence needed to successfully manufacture anything. And Springfield has manufactured and continues to manufacture successfully, “she said.

Mr. Rogers had a deep respect for the intellect of children. “This exhibit allows children to explore ideas using their whole being, raising awareness of awe and awe for those who do this important work,” said Powers. “In simple terms, presented in a comfortable setting, Mr. Rogers exemplified for children the most important human values, including respect and integrity. This exhibit, by allowing children to immerse themselves in How People Do Things, helps build respect for the remarkable work of factory workers.

The exhibit was created by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in collaboration with Family Communications Inc., producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and the Center for Out-of-School Learning at the University of Pittsburgh.

For more information, visit springfieldmuseums.org.

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