The First-Ever White House Maker Faire: Celebrating a Nation of Makers

Today, with help from the creative band OK Go, we are announcing the date for the first-ever White House Maker Faire: June 18!

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Like OK Go, the President is fired up about hosting the first-ever White House Maker Faire, where he will celebrate America’s students and entrepreneurs who are inventing the future by using new tools and techniques to make just about anything in local communities and classrooms. 

America has always been a nation of tinkerers, inventors, and entrepreneurs, which has fueled our economic growth. In recent years, a growing number of Americans have gained access to technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters, easy-to-use design software, and desktop machine tools. These tools are enabling more Americans to design and build almost anything. Across the country, vibrant grassroots communities of innovators, visionaries, and manufacturers are organizing Maker Faires, creating local makerspaces, and mentoring the next generation of inventors.

The rise of the Maker Movement represents a huge opportunity for the United States. Nationwide, new tools for democratized production are boosting innovation and entrepreneurship in manufacturing, in the same way that the Internet and cloud computing have lowered the barriers to entry for digital startups, creating the foundation for new products and processes that can help to revitalize American manufacturing.

Making can inspire and empower more young people to excel in design and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and to pursue careers making things in manufacturing. Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs once described the important impact that having access to an electronics kit had on him saying, “it gave a tremendous level of self-confidence, that through exploration and learning one could understand seemingly very complex things in one's environment.”

That’s why on June 18, the President is hosting the first-ever White House Maker Faire, which will feature Makers, innovators, and entrepreneurs of all ages who are using cutting-edge tools to bring their ideas to life. These projects will delight and amaze us, and some may very well create industries and jobs of the future. 

The Administration also wants to ensure that we make the most of these opportunities.  We are working with companies, mayors, colleges, libraries, museums, and many others that are striving to answer the President’s call to support a generation of Americans who are “makers of things, not just consumers of things.”

In addition to the Makers who will be at the White House, we want June 18 to be a nationwide Day of Making when communities across America share and celebrate their involvement in this movement. On Twitter, we’ll be using #NationOfMakers and encourage you to use it as well, to share all the amazing work going on around the country and to connect with other Makers like you.

There are so many ways to get started. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking. On June 18, you can:

  • Post photos of a current maker project you are working on or choose a new project to work on and ask a couple of friends or family members to build it with you. You can find fun and creative projects ideas from a variety of websites for Makers such as MAKE.
  • Host an open house at your local makerspace or set up a hangout online to connect and share your inventions with Makers across the country.
  • Volunteer to be a mentor for someone who is interested in learning a new skill or find a mentor who would be interested in teaching a new skill you’ve been wanting to learn for a while.
  • Create a project of your own and then share the plans for your project online through Maker platforms so others can also make, modify, or remix your project.
  • Organize a maker roundtable to identify and convene maker thought leaders in your community on expanding Making initiatives, programs, and activities in your neighborhood.
  • If you’re an organization or company, encourage your employees to volunteer as an educator and/or mentor to host maker-oriented workshops or classes in your community.
  • Follow the action online at www.whitehouse.gov/makerfaire
  • Your idea here!

We are looking forward to June 18 and celebrating all of the wonderful stories that you share. Stay updated here, and follow along at #NationOfMakers.

Learn more about the Maker Faire.

Tom Kalil is Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Jason Miller is the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council.
Related Topics: Innovations, Technology
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