Two of MOXI’s senior leadership team have just returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., where they took part in the 4th annual Capitol Hill Maker Faire as a part of the National Week of Making.

Robin Gose, president/CEO of MOXI in Santa Barbara, participated in a panel session titled Museums and Libraries Taking Making into the Community, open to members of Congress, staffers and interested members of the public. She highlighted a maker outreach program she oversaw at her previous employer Thinkery in Austin, Texas, as well as making opportunities at MOXI.

The Maker Faire was hosted by Nation of Makers and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in collaboration with the Congressional Maker Caucus as a part of the National Week of Making (June 21-27).

“It is crucial that our nation’s leaders understand the lasting and widespread impact that making programs can have on a community,” said Gose. “Learning how to use a new tool, experimenting with varied materials and constructing designs within limitations help children develop perseverance and resiliency as well as critical thinking and creativity.

“It was an honor to share my experiences as an educator and museum administrator, and I hope that IMLS funding can continue to help expand and grow maker education opportunities in communities across the country.”

The event celebrated and explored the facets of the maker movement driven by engineers, hobbyists, tinkerers, crafters, artists, entrepreneurs and innovators, and its impact on education through inquiry-based learning, as well as communities, businesses and economy.

MOXI also hosted a table alongside some 40 organizations including federal agencies, museums, schools, universities, libraries, nonprofits and businesses from across the country. Sean O’Brien, MOXI’s director of exhibits, staffed the table and introduced attendees to MOXI’s making programs including activities in the Innovation Workshop, the museum’s makerspace open to all visitors.

O’Brien invited attendees to contribute to a collaborative 3-D sculpture by writing an answer to the prompt, “What does making mean to you?” on an acrylic disc that could then be connected to other discs. The resulting sculpture will be hung in the Innovation Workshop at MOXI as an artifact of the trip and reminder to museum visitors that making can mean many different things.

MOXI was the only organization from California which participated in this special event designed to highlight the importance of supporting and fostering making programs and education initiatives. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. MOXI does not currently receive support from IMLS, though it was awarded its first federal funding last year through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

This summer, MOXI is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. The Innovation Workshop is open 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesday-Monday, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesdays, A variety of activities are offered, with themes changing monthly. Themes include playing with scale in June, handicrafts in July, and digital creativity in August.

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, MOXI is at 125 State St. For more information, visit

— Martha Swanson for MOXI Museum.