How People Make Things Exhibit at the Indiana State Museum

Every object in our world has a story of how it is made. How People Make Things, a new exhibit opening at the Indiana State Museum on Jan. 22, 2022, tells that story by linking familiar childhood objects to a process of manufacturing that combines people, ideas and technology.

Indiana State Museum

How People Make Things offers hands-on activities using real factory tools and machines to create objects using four manufacturing processes – molding, cutting, deforming, and assembly. Visitors can use a die cutter to make a box and a horse, cut wax using different sculpting tools, deform a wire by taking a straight wire into a spring shape by winding it around the metal shaft, mold spoons using real melted wax, assemble a trolley and test your skills on the testing track.

“This exhibit brings children close to the real stuff, the nuts and bolts of how products are manufactured, which is very easy to feel removed from these days,” says Jane Werner, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. “Through his factory tours, Fred Rogers took complex issues and made them simple and direct so children could understand them and relate them to their own lives.  He made manufacturing fascinating and inspirational, and we continue that tradition with How People Make Things.”

Indiana State Museum

The factory tour videos from the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood television series featured in the exhibit depict the making of crayons, carousel horses, balls, stop lights, quarters, shoes, toy cars and toy wagons.

“We’re excited to bring ‘How People Make Things’ to the Indiana State Museum,” said Bethany Thomas, vice president of programs and education engagement. “This exhibit celebrates the people, the manufacturing processes and the technology used to make objects we use every day.”

The traveling exhibit from Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is included with museum admission – $17 for adults, $16 for seniors 60 and older, $15 for college students and $12 for youth ages 3-17. For more information, visit indianamuseum.org or call (317) 232-1637. The exhibit closes on May 15, 2022.

Nicole Sipe
Nicole Sipe
Nicole Sipe is the editor of Indy's Child and Southwest Ohio Parent magazines. She has a BA in Journalism from California State University Northridge, and has been involved in the print and digital publishing world for most of her life. Born and raised in Southern California, Nicole traded the city and sun for corn and creeks, and now lives in central Indiana with her husband, two sons and Collie. Her latest book for children, “All About Me! Art Journal” was published in 2022 by Walter Foster Jr. In her spare time, she likes traveling with her family, enjoying good food and drink, volunteering at her children’s schools and around her community, and practicing yoga.

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