ScienceWorks TinkerFest Lets Visitors Think with Their Hands

Ashland Forge Blacksmith helping visitor at ScienceWorks

ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum is hosting the 3rd annual TinkerFest this weekend, May 16th and 17th. TinkerFest is a collaboration of the many innovators, inventors and out-of-the-box-creative thinkers in Southern Oregon. The event brings technology together with craftspeople, educators, families, and artists from throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California to play for an entire weekend: taking things apart, building and experimenting with new, sometimes zany, ideas.

TinkerFest began at ScienceWorks in 2013, as a regional celebration of innovation and playful invention.  Initially funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the City of Ashland and inspired by MakerFaire and the MIT Media Lab’s Mindfest, TinkerFest brings together science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEM and STEAM) education with fun, hands-on opportunities to play with ideas and materials.

One of the goals of TinkerFest is to introduce young people to concepts in math and science through playful exploration. “Those subjects are behind the scenes, but once kids are excited by ideas through play, they embrace subjects that they might not ordinarily like because it becomes the next step in moving forward towards something they’re excited about,” said ScienceWorks executive director Chip 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,” said Lindsey.

The festival has grown since its inception, and this year ScienceWorks has hosted regional preview events at the Grants Pass Growers Market, the Children’s Learning Fair in Klamath Falls, and at Art in Bloom in Medford.

TinkerFest at ScienceWorks opens at 10am on Saturday, May 16th and runs through 5 pm on Sunday, May 17th.  The weekend will include the Car Take-Apart, sponsored by Ashland Automotive, on both Saturday and Sunday. Back by popular demand, the car take-apart puts screwdrivers and wrenches in the hands of the young and old to help dismantle and discover the inner-workings of an automobile.

Other tinkering activities will include wire sculpting with students from Armadillo Tech Institute, a kids’ DIY workshop with The Home Depot, tech activities with Rogue Hack Lab, flower pressing, blacksmithing, wood carving demonstrations, needle felting, and much more.

TinkerFest admission is $7 for members and $15 for non-members, with weekend pass rates available. For more information and a complete listing of all festival offerings go to, or call ScienceWorks at (541) 482-6767.

ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum is a non-profit educational science center that has been serving the Rogue Valley region since 2002. Located at 1500 East Main Street in Ashland, the museum is home to more than 100 exhibits, and hosts themed weekends, and ongoing fun, educational, science programs for all ages year-round. For more information, call (541) 482-6767 or visit