Maker Lounge

Maker Lounge page lock up

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: Strandbeest Takeover

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

Honorarium offered and studio space provided

Inspired by Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is continuing a series of mini-residencies for its Maker Lounge. Creative, tech-minded, curious and people-loving folk are invited to take over the Lounge to develop their own project or projects exploring the poetic or pragmatic possibilities of mechanical motion, as exampled in Theo Jansen's otherworldly kinetic sculptures that use simple machines — wheels, levers, pistons — to create wind-powered motion, blurring the boundaries between animate and inanimate beings. More information about the Strandbeest exhibition can be found at

Takeover makers will have access to a studio space (including 3-D printer and other equipment) in Salem, Mass., for six weeks during October/November 2015. The Maker Lounge takeover program has three key objectives:

  • To foster the culture of innovation within the intersections between art and technology
  • To enable Resident Makers to develop their personal practice
  • To share creative technology practice with PEM audiences

This opportunity is open to individuals, groups or collectives who wish to develop their own creative technology-based practice in a museum renowned for its explorations of art, culture and creativity, and by engaging with the museum's wide and varied audiences.

The closing date for applications is 28 September, 2015. Interviews for prospective Resident Makers will be held following the close of the application period.

Inspiration: Strandbeest
In 2015, the Peabody Essex Museum kicks off the first U.S. tour featuring Theo Jansen's famed kinetic sculptures. Dynamic and interdisciplinary, Jansen's Strandbeests (beach animals) blur the lines between art, science and storytelling. The exhibition celebrates the thrill of the Strandbeests' unique locomotion as well as the processes that have driven their evolutionary development on the Dutch seacoast. Complex and beautiful, the Strandbeests are built using a constantly iterated set of simple mechanical technologies, including wheels, levers, pistons and planes. Jansen's continuous refinement of their motion and experimentation with modular design uses algorithmic processes and the tools of the workshop to create poetic effects that provoke thought on life, mortality, nature, science and engineering.

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 also for people to freestyle and create their own projects and challenges to share. The Maker Lounge is equipped as a basic tech studio with a 3-D Formlabs printer, an Apple iMac, a large-scale digital printer, three Apple iPads, a Silhouette Cameo Material Cutting Printer and more. It is publicly accessible at all times when the museum is open.

More about the Strandbeest 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 accouterments. They will develop a project or set of projects around the topic of Mechanical Motion and inspired by the Strandbeests, using the Maker Lounge as simultaneously a creative workspace, display space and public engagement space.

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 of residency must include at least one weekend day and one late opening such as a PEM/PM (the third Thursday of every month, 6–9 pm). Regular museum hours are Tuesday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm. Resident Makers will contribute to the PEM blog about their experience, and work with program staff to create opportunities to share practice and exchange ideas with museum staff.

Honorarium and materials budget
The Resident Maker(s) will be paid an honorarium of $1,500 for the six-week Takeover. This is a fixed honorarium, and will be divided 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.

Successful applicants for a Maker Lounge Takeover:

  • Maintain an active maker practice
  • Take an interdisciplinary approach incorporating ideas from a wide variety of topic areas and fields
  • Are interested in bringing their projects to a lay audience for participatory ideation, prototyping, testing and development
  • Are evangelists for maker culture
  • Have an interest in sharing the DIY/maker movement with a wider public
  • Can narrate and describe their 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 challenges
  • Enjoy the challenge of responding quickly and creatively to the museum's ever-changing environment, audience and activities

Goals for Resident Makers

  • Develop and pursue concrete, tangible projects exploring the topic of mechanical motion using PEM spaces, support, materials and audiences in an integral way
  • Seek and find creative inspiration from the Strandbeest exhibition and 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

  • Further ideas and concepts in your practice using PEM space, support and audiences; work with PEM's audiences on brainstorming, prototyping, experimentation and design elaboration
  • Connect the public to your ideas and projects
  • Strengthened understanding of effective outreach, teaching and programming strategies in informal learning settings
  • Strong, direct links to PEM's staff, content, objects, information and ideas
  • Access to collection objects and to multidisciplinary staff expertise
  • Exposure to a wide variety of PEM audiences of all ages, backgrounds and interests
  • Potential to adapt content for a range of different program formats and scales

Outcomes for 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
  • Learn and practice creative thinking skills
  • Pursue individual creative expression related to the broad project focus
  • Increase sense of efficacy
  • Increase ability to find and solve problems
  • Experience developing an individual creative vision and identifying/acquiring tools to execute that vision

How to Apply
Send us a proposal telling us about yourself and describing your proposed Strandbeest-inspired Mechanical Motion Takeover project.

In your proposal, please discuss the following:
- How you would like to explore mechanical technologies creatively in an art
   museum setting?
- How you will engage members of the public in your work?
- How will the residency help you evolve your work or push it in new directions?
- 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?

Include up to three examples of your work that will inform or relate in some way to your Maker Lounge Takeover.

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, 28 September, 2015
Interviews for prospective Resident Makers will be held following the close of the application period.
All applicants must pass a CORI check

The Maker Lounge is open during regular museum hours and for select special events and public programs.

The Maker Lounge is supported by BAE Systems.