This summer in the Tinkering Studio we’ve been focused on developing different ways of exploring circuits. The first activity we did a deep dive into with visitors was paper circuits. We first became interested in using conductive copper tape and surface mount LEDs as media for exploring circuits last year when Jie Qi was in residence and introduced us to this activity. We've since spent the past month investigating what it’s like to host paper circuits on the floor as a daily activity rather than a special one-day workshop.
We chose paper circuits as our first deep dive activity because they offer an open-ended and personally expressive way to experiment with electricity. The activity bridges the worlds of craft and technology, inviting a broad spectrum of creations – some technically complex, others beautifully designed, and many encompassing both qualities. We also love that paper circuits offer an opportunity to introduce visitors to tools like multimeters and soldering irons.
We’ll be sharing what we’ve learned so far about hosting paper circuits in the Tinkering Studio through a series of blog posts covering the environmental design and set up, facilitation, and questions we still have. As in our previous Beyond the Museum series, we are constantly examining how we approach activities. We wanted to share some of our initial experiments, observations, and reflections on our further explorations of paper circuits with museum visitors.