Think with your Hands at ScienceWorks 3rd Annual Thinker Fest


Build a city made of LEGOS, hammer iron at a blacksmith forge, and create your own art robot – all of it is possible at TinkerFest 2015, the regional hands-on innovation festival held May 16 and 17 at ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum in Ashland, Oregon.

“Tinkering brings out the artist in the scientist and the scientist in the artist,” says ScienceWorks Executive Director Chip Lindsey. According to Lindsey, the festival is for families with children of all ages and will engage teens and toddlers, parents and grandparents in creative tinkering with everything from cars to cardboard.

“We’ve seen grandmothers enthralled with helping their grandchildren take apart a car, and teens helping younger siblings create jewelry from computer parts,” Lindsey explains. “The festival works for people of all ages.”

TinkerFest began at ScienceWorks in 2013 as a regional celebration of innovation and playful invention. Initially inspired by MakerFaire and the MIT Media Lab’s Mindfest, and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the City of Ashland, TinkerFest is all about celebrating invention, creativity, making and tinkering.

The festival is focused on igniting the “spark” in people that drives creation and learning by thinking with your hands, taking things apart, and creating something truly unique. One of the goals of TinkerFest is to introduce young people to concepts in math, science, engineering and technology through playful exploration.

“Those subjects are behind the scenes, but once kids are excited by ideas through play they embrace them in order to master something they’re excited about,” says Lindsey. “It’s a natural way to learn that math, science, technology and engineering are the way you get to where you want to go.”

Additional tinkering activities include wire sculpting with students from Armadillo Tech Institute, art with SOU’s Printmaking Club, high-tech activities with Rogue Hack Lab, flower pressing, blacksmithing, wood-carving demonstrations, needle felting, and much more.

TinkerFest opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, and runs through 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 17. Admission is $7 for members and $12 for non-members, with weekend pass rates available. For more information and a complete listing of all festival offerings, go to or call ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum at (541) 482-6767.

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