Museum of Science and Industry to kick off first-ever Spring Make Festival

Julie Parente, senior manager of education communications at the Museum of Science and Industry (left) and Manny Juarez, director of science and integrative strategies at MSI start off their “making” experience in the Museum of Science and Industry’s new Spring Make Shop by picking out the patterns they want to use for their project using the vinyl cutting work station. – Gabriella Cruz-Martínez

Herald Intern

The Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, is gearing up to launch its first-ever Spring Make Festival, a four-week special program designed to unleash guest creativity on Friday, March 9. 

The Spring Make Festival, which runs through April 8, will offer a creative combination of daily activities and special events designed to help guests see themselves as designers, makers and tinkerers in the real world.

The centerpiece of Spring Make is the Make Shop, a new facilitated experience that allows guests to create a personal memento by progressing through three activities: vinyl cutting, 3D printing and building an LED light circuit.

Once entering the Make Shop, guests will be given a color-coated pass that will divide them into teams. Local makers will then guide the teams through the three workstations before mentioned for a one-on-one experience where participants will become the creators themselves.

For example, imagine drawing your own design and having it 3D printed to take home! That’s just one of the hands-on interactive activities in store for guests in this innovatively designed workshop experience.

More than a dozen artifacts showcasing the incredible possibilities of making will also be on display in the Make Shop, including a 3D-printed foot, that helps doctors at Lurie Children’s Hospital train to create customized foot braces before seeing a patient, a cup created by a young girl from Chicago to help people with Parkinson’s take a drink without spilling, a black lattice laser-cut dress created by fashion designer Alexander McQueen, and much more.

While guests make their way through the Make Shop, three 3D printers will be hard at work printing the very building it sits on. Each day, a new piece of the Museum of Science and Industry is printed and added to the growing model. By the end of the Spring Make Festival, a full 3D-printed model of MSI will be complete.

“These artifacts show us the power of making and encourages people to become makers,” said Director of Science and Integrative Strategies Manny Juarez. “We all have a maker inside of us.”

As they create, guests will learn about problem-solving skills, the diverse community of local Chicago makers and how making can have a positive impact on communities.

Because so much of the maker process focuses on problem solving and iteration, MSI staff will host “Failure is an Option!”, a daily 20-minute stage show that challenges guests to engineer, test and modify a skyscraper so it remains standing while it undergoes wind tests, reinforcing the basics of the engineering design process.

“Spring Make Festival is a celebration of high- and low-tech ways that people, especially kids, can tap into their creative potential and see firsthand that there are multiple paths to a STEM-focused career,” said David Mosena, president and chief executive officer of the Museum of Science and Industry. “MSI’s unique hands-on approach has always encouraged our guests to be doers rather than spectators and we are thrilled that Spring Make Festival will put our guests’ creativity front and center in an entirely new way.”

Spring Make begins Friday, March 9, and continues through Sunday, April 8. Select experiences and events require an additional ticket purchase.

A full schedule, including 21-and-older activities throughout the spring like MSI After Hours: Science on Tap, where guests can explore the chemistry of brewing, is available online at