Maker Lounge

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Maker Lounge

Experience a dynamic new space at PEM!

The Maker Lounge is dedicated to creativity and innovation through hands-on exploration with technology, materials and ideas. It builds on PEM's tradition of bringing together new and inspiring objects from around the world and celebrating creative expression through human ingenuity.

Tackle a design challenge or tinker with all kinds of materials from circuits to cardboard saws. New programs are being developed for teens and adults including monthly 3-D printing workshops, demonstrations by visiting artists, scientists, engineers and other creatives -- including collaborators from MIT Media Lab, for example -- and cool maker programs for teens. Both energizing and relaxing, the space includes ambient music, iPads and universal phone chargers.

Stop by, hang out and let your creativity fly.


PEM Maker Lounge: Wearables Takeover

Seeking artist-maker-technologist-hacker-whatever(s) to take over our Maker Lounge for six weeks

Honorarium offered and studio space provided

The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is launching a series themed of mini-residencies in our Maker Lounge with our Wearables Takeover. We are inviting creative, tech-minded, curious, and people-loving folk to take over the lounge and work on their own wearables-related project or projects in a public setting. This opportunity provides an individual or a collective with access to a maker-based studio space (including 3-D printer and other equipment) in Salem, Mass., for six weeks during November–December 2014. The next themed takeover, Biotech, will run during February–March 2015.

We invite proposals from people with:

  • A desire to develop their own creative technology-based practice focused on wearables
  • An interest in working with a museum renowned for its engagement with art, culture, and creativity
  • Enthusiasm for actively engaging with the museum's varied audiences

The Maker Lounge Takeover program has three key objectives:

  • To foster innovation culture at different intersections between art and technology
  • To enable Resident Makers to develop personal practice
  • To share creative technology practice with PEM audiences

Wearable technology is coming into full bloom. Wearable computers have been around for a long time (think of digital watches) but the combination of various strands of technological development such as miniaturization, mobile technology, ambient intelligence (think of environment sensors), and the internet of things, are a confluence that mean wearables are here, now, and they're full of potential. Digital technology is now ubiquitous and can appear as many forms - combined with exciting new materials, it can be woven into textiles, molded into ceramics, seeded into horticulture, and all of these can be worn in some way. Tell us how you would like to explore this technology creatively in an art museum setting, and how you will engage members of the public in your work.

More about the Peabody Essex Museum and its Maker Lounge
The mission of the Peabody Essex Museum is to celebrate outstanding artistic and cultural creativity by collecting, stewarding, and interpreting objects of art and culture in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, engage the mind, and stimulate the senses. Through its exhibitions, programs, publications, media, and related activities, PEM strives to create experiences that transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world.

In March 2014, PEM opened its Maker Lounge. The Lounge is a dedicated design/innovation space with a range of materials, resources, and images on hand for unfacilitated drop-in design and creativity challenges – and for people to freestyle and create their own projects and challenges to share. It also has an area for experimental digital activities and which can be secured separately, where the Resident Maker(s) will work.

The Maker Lounge is equipped as a basic tech studio with a 3-D Formlabs printer, Apple laptops loaded with software including Adobe Creative Suite, an Epsom 3870 printer, a digital SLR camera and more. It is situated on the first floor next to the Create Space art studios and the Art and Nature Center for families. It is publicly accessible at all times when the Museum is open.

More about the Wearables Takeover
Resident Makers are asked to "take over" the Maker Lounge for the term of the residency, curating the environment with materials, visuals, prompts, inspiration pieces, and personal accoutrements. They will develop a project or set of projects around the topic of "wearables," using the PEM Maker Lounge as simultaneously a creative workspace, display space, and public engagement space. Resident Makers will blog regularly about their PEM experience and share practice with museum staff and vice versa.

During the six-week Takeover, Resident Makers must be physically present in the Maker Lounge for a total of at least 50 hours, and plan to actively participate in and present at least one of PEM's regular public programs, with the support of the PEM programming team. Working with PEM educators, Resident Makers will develop an experience aimed at a specific audience, which may include anything from a drop-in workshop, to contributory projects, ephemeral creations, performances, displays, and many other possibilities. The 50 hours should include at least one weekend and one late opening such as PEM / PM which occurs every third Thursday of the month. Regular Museum opening hours are Tuesday - Sunday, 10am-5pm. Residents may be able to gain access to the Maker Lounge from 9am, and also on Mondays 9am-5pm.

Honorarium and materials budget
The Resident Maker(s) will be paid an honorarium of $1,500 for the six-week Takeover. This is the fixed honorarium for the Takeover, and will be divided up accordingly if the Resident Makers are a collective rather than an individual.

In addition, Resident Makers will be able to access a budget of up to $500 for additional materials.

Goals for Resident Makers

  • Develop and pursue concrete, tangible projects exploring the topic of wearables using PEM spaces, support, materials, and audiences in an integral way
  • Seek and find creative inspiration in PEM's collection, exhibitions, people, and ideas
  • Draw PEM audiences into the maker experience, applying abstract concepts and creative ideas to the physical world
  • Through example, illustrate the values, concepts, and ideas of the maker movement to PEM audiences
  • Develop and share documentation using tools and channels including video, documents, imagery, social media, web presence, etc.

Outcomes for Resident Makers

  • Use PEM space, support, and audiences to further ideas and concepts in your practice
  • Enhanced ability to connect members of the public to your ideas and projects
  • Access to collections, objects, multidisciplinary staff expertise such as curators, educators, and other creative people the Museum may be working with
  • Strengthened understanding of effective outreach, teaching, and programming strategies in informal learning settings
  • Exposure to a wide variety of PEM audiences of all ages, backgrounds, and interests
  • Experiment with adapting your project for a range of different audiences, formats and scales
  • Opportunity to work with PEM's audiences on brainstorming, prototyping, experimentation, and design elaboration.

Outcomes for PEM Audiences

  • Introduction to and/or deeper understanding of the maker movement, strategies for innovative thinking, and the creative process
  • Exposure to an interesting maker who can provide insight into processes of innovation and creativity
  • Opportunity to learn and practice creative thinking skills
  • Opportunity to pursue individual creative expression related to the broad project focus
  • Increased sense of efficacy
  • Increased ability to find and solve problems
  • Experience developing an individual creative vision and identifying/acquiring tools to execute that vision.

Successful applicants for a Maker Lounge Takeover:

  • Will maintain an active maker practice
  • Are interested in bringing their projects to a lay audience for participatory ideation, prototyping, testing and development
  • Are enthusiastic evangelists for maker culture
  • Have an interest in outreach and sharing the DIY/maker movement with a wider public
  • Take an interdisciplinary approach incorporating ideas from a wide variety of topic areas and fields
  • Can narrate and describe their own thinking to an audience even as work is underway, providing access to the mental processes underlying creation
  • Are comfortable making all phases of their work visible, including obstacles, errors, setbacks, and false starts and can use these examples to coach others to work through design challenges
  • Enjoy the challenge of responding quickly and creatively to the museum's ever-changing environment, audience, and activities.

How to Apply
Send us a proposal telling us about yourself and your proposed Wearables Takeover project.

Include up to three examples of your work that you feel will inform your Maker Lounge Takeover.

In your proposal, please consider the following:
- How will the residency push your work into a new direction?
- How will the museum context provide unique inspiration and resources?
- How will you introduce principles of the maker movement and maker culture to PEM's audiences?
- How will working with the public develop new skills for you?
- Which audiences are you most interested in working with and why?

The proposal may follow any form you choose, as long as it is digitally available to us.

Please send proposals to
Closing date for applications: 5pm EST, September 22, 2014
Interviews for prospective Resident Makers will be held in early October 2014
All applicants must pass a background check


The Maker Lounge is open during regular museum hours and for select special events and public programs. Check back here soon for more detailed programming information.

Related events

PEM/PM Evening Party
Thursday, September 18, 2014 from 6pm - 9pm
Cash bar

Members and Salem residents (with ID) free, nonmembers $10 at the door

MIT Media Lab researchers bring their latest project to PEM: radiO_o. Wear one of their battery-powered, button-like speakers to contribute to the music of the night. Make your own mini speakers in the Maker Lounge and see an impressive collection of vintage radios courtesy of the New England Antique Radio Club.




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Creative Salem

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Branching Out: Trees as Art
Opening Day Festival
Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 10:30am - 4pm

Included with museum admission

From the mysteries of enchanted forests to the welcoming shade-givers in our backyards, trees captivate our imaginations. Join us for a day of exploring trees through art making, stories, music, artist talks and more.


Story Time

Tree Tales
10:30-11 am | meet at information desk
For ages 3 to 7 with an adult

When Maple was born, her parents planted a tree so that she and the tree could grow together. Her tree becomes a friend, but how else might you see a tree? Find out as we read Lori Nichols' Maple followed by Barbara Reid's Picture a Tree.


Drop-in Art Making

Greenman Masks
10:30 am-12:30 pm | Atrium

Also known as the Wild Man of the Woods, the Greenman is a mythical figure who appears as a leaf-covered face carved on buildings across Europe. Create your own forest-inspired mask and get in touch with your inner tree spirit.


Artist Demonstration

Bonsai Techniques
10:30 am-1:30 pm | Atrium

Meet bonsai experts from New England Bonsai Gardens and find out what tools and techniques are necessary to create these living works of art.



Tree Planting
11-11:15 am | Meet at information desk

Join us as we plant a new tree to mark the opening of Branching Out, including a "grounding" treatment by The Tree Whisperer and plant pathologist Jim Conroy, Ph.D. Dedication in memory of honorary trustee Dorothy "Dotty" Addams Brown.



In the Grove with Diane Edgecomb
11:30 am-12:30 pm and 2:30-3:30 pm | Morse Auditorium
For ages 10 to adult
Tickets available day of program

Award-winning storyteller Diane Edgecomb returns to PEM with harpist Margot Chamberlain to share stories and songs about trees and the people who live among them.



Connect with Green Beings
11:30 am-noon and 3-3:30 pm
Meet at information desk | For ages 8 to adult
Tickets available day of program

Join nature communication experts Jim Conroy, Ph.D. and Basia Alexander in a unique guided visualization exercise with live trees on PEM's campus.



Music from the Forests
Noon-12:45 pm | Atrium

Musician and international performer Ricardo Frota uses handmade instruments to explore the ecology of sound through rhythm and materials of the forest.


Drop-in Art Making

Tagua Nut Scrimshaw
Noon-2 pm | Create Space 2
For ages 10 to adult

Carve your own tree-inspired design on these tropical seeds. Note: Tagua nuts are not known allergens but visitors with nut allergies should be aware.



Strolling Trees
Noon-4 pm | Atrium
Essex Street pedestrian mall and Art & Nature Center

Whimsical walking tree figures, created by Ten31 Productions, make their way around the museum.


Artist Presentation

Exploring Trees as Live Beings
1-1:45 pm | Morse Auditorium
For preteens through adults
Tickets available day of program

Artist David Yann Robert and plant pathologist Jim Conroy, Ph.D., demonstrate how they each interact with the biosignals of trees.


Drop-in Art Making

Bark Rubbings and Tracings
1-4 pm | outside PEM

Investigate the beauty and science of tree trunks with specialist Michael Wojtech and create an enhanced bark drawing to take home.



Tree Tastings
2-4 pm | Atrium

Meet experts from Taza Chocolate the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary to discover how chocolate and maple syrup are made, then try samples created here in Massachusetts.


Artist Demo & Maker Challenge

Tree Biosignals
2:15-4 pm | Maker Lounge
For preteens through adults

See and hear biosignals made by a live plant with David Yann Robert, an artist in Branching Out. Then experiment with converting live cell signals into an original work of art.


Artist Presentation

Human Trees
3-3:45 pm | Bartlett Gallery
Tickets available day of program
For preteens through adults

Branching Out artist Joseph Wheelwright shares the inspiration and methods behind his large-scale tree people and intimate root-figure creations.


Made possible by the Lowell Institute


The Big Draw
Weekend Festival
Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 10am - 4pm

Included with museum admission

If you've ever uttered the words, "I can't draw," then this festival is for you. All around the world people gather every October to doodle, sketch, think and share at Big Draw community events.


Animal Impressions

10 am-12:30 pm | Create Space 2

Alexander Calder is a celebrated sculptor, but did you know he was also a sketcher? Using his book Animal Sketching as inspiration, create sketches of your own with illustrator/educator Erica Beade.


Screen Time

10 am-4 pm | runs ever half hour
Morse Auditorium

Sit back, relax and watch some of our favorite animated short films about drawing.


Tape Takeover

10 am-4 pm | Atrium

Behold the swift and sticky power of tape as a drawing tool. See how professional tape artists create a world of their own on our walls. Stick around for the tear down at 4 pm!


Room with a View

10 am-4 pm | Maker Lounge

Using only a darkened box, a pinhole and available light, our huge homemade camera obscura projects crystal-clear scenes that can be traced and turned into art.


Pop-Up Art Gallery

10 am-4 pm | Create Space 1

Students from Salem's Phoenix School transform our Create Space into an art gallery as part of the Imagination Foundation's Global Cardboard Challenge. Come create a drawing to add to the walls!


The Sketchbook Project

10 am-4 pm | outside PEM

The Mobile Library, a traveling collection of more than 30,000 artists' sketchbooks, is parked outside PEM all day. Get inspired by works from all over the world!


Drawn Together

Noon-3 pm | Artists's Row, 24 New Derby St., Salem

The Salem Collective of Artists and Musicians (SCAM) has something fun in store for The Big Draw. Head to their studio (just around the corner) and take part in a choreographed drawing activity.


Construction Zone

1-3 pm | Create Space 2

Explore scale, measurement and engineering while constructing a 3-D cardboard maquette with installation artist Kirsten Reynolds. What's a maquette? Check out the Calder exhibition to find out.


Studio Discovery

Sticks and Stones
1-3 pm | Axelrod Walkway (outside PEM)
Made possible by American Dental Partners

Eco-artist Cynthia Robinson takes the studio outside. Using the Art & Nature Center exhibition Branching Out for inspiration, experiment with recycled and natural materials to build a sculpture park.


Made possible by the Lowell Institute