Tinker Fest!

Saturday, July 2, 2022 • 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Not a member yet? Join us and get free admission all year long!

All Ages

Note: Free with museum admission—and it's always free for Daytime members and donors. Just bring your membership card and ID. The Tactile Dome is currently closed.

Spark your creativity with artworks, contraptions, exhibits, and experiences for all ages! Custom-make amazing headdresses and light-up cuffs and corsages. Discover incredible handmade instruments that share sonic surprises, and design and admire whimsical “food faces” that take playing with your food to a whole new level.

Tinker Fest! is a celebration of The Art of Tinkering exhibition, open June 18 through September 5.


All Hands On Science
With Viv Altmann

11:00 a.m–2:00 p.m.
Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Studio

Get ready to get tactile at All Hands On Science, a family-oriented make-and-take workshop. Grown-ups and kids, you'll work together to build science-based artifacts that you can take home with you. Workshops are drop-in on a first-come, first-served basis. Activities can take up to 45 minutes.


Food Faces 
With Ferris Plock

11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.

Go ahead, play with your food! The Bay Area’s finest food-face maker, Ferris Plock, will serve up a smorgasbord of silliness with his fantastic Food Faces

Ferris Plock is a San Francisco–based artist who brings a dedicated focus to his work that is paired with a wild sense of originality. Using a variety of mediums, he combines contemporary pop culture with the aesthetic of Japanese ukiyo-e woodblocks. He and his wife, Kelly Tunstall, are widely known for their artistic collaboration, KeFe.


Amped-Up Accessories
With Sahrye Cohen and Hal Rodriguez

11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1

Amp up your outfit with illuminated accessory-making. Sahrye Cohen and Hal Rodriguez will guide you in making specialized cuffs and corsages to activate your attire. Bring a tinkerer’s eye to familiar materials and affordable lights, and you’ll leave glowing—literally.

Sahrye Cohen and Hal Rodriguez are the founders of Amped Atelier, a design studio specializing in tech couture—the melding of historical fashion and couture techniques with modern technology. They are coauthors of Make It, Wear It: Wearable Electronics for Makers, Crafters, and Cosplayers, which features easy-to-follow projects using readily sourced materials.


Handmade Headdresses
With Judi Henderson-Townsend and Kyana Holzman

11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1

Crown yourself ruler of Tinker Fest! Use zip ties, gems, tiny lights, and festive flowers to craft a showstopping headdress. Judi Henderson-Townsend and Kyana Holzman from Mannequin Madness will help you create your crown. For inspiration, check out their very own collection of regal headdresses on display.

Known as the mannequin queen, Judi Henderson-Townsend is the founder of Mannequin Madness, a mannequin distributor and the largest mannequin recycling company in the country. She leads workshops focused on creative reuse of mannequins and is the owner of the Headdress Workshop.


Draw with a Rover
With Tinkering School

11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1:00–2:30 p.m.

Team members from the Tinkering School Mars Mission invite you to get creative with a prototype Mars rover. Select drawing materials and wheel types to attach to your rover, then see what doodles and designs develop in a large-scale collaborative illustration. From dots to dashes, flowers to spirals, will the outcome be what you expect?

Tinkering School is a San Francisco–based educational program dedicated to youth-centered making and tinkering. As part of their Mars Mission, a team of young people ages 14–20 built an educational, hands-on experience operating prototype rovers in a simulated Martian lava tube.


Hand-Built Instrument Petting Zoo
With Sudhu Tewari

11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1

Observe, ogle, and gently play with a collection of handmade musical instruments created by inventor, composer, and musician Sudhu Tewari. By tinkering with different materials and approaches to music-making, Tewari invents surprising sonic interventions that invite you to listen in new ways.

Sudhu Tewari is an electro-acoustic composer, improviser, and tinkerer in sound, kinetic, and interactive art. He has performed improvised music in various configurations with the likes of Fred Frith, Cenk Ergun, Mark Bartscher, Tadashi Usami, Gunda Gottschalk, Eric Glick Rieman, and Shelley Burgon.


King Drums: Streetbeats
With John F. King II

11:30 a.m and 1:30 p.m.

When John F. King realized that his entire collection of percussion instruments had been stolen, he got creative. With a tinkering mindset and a tenacious spirit, the versatile musician took a look around his home and found everything he needed right there in his kitchen. Learn how he reconfigured his drum set using pots, pans, pressure cookers, and more. And of course, get ready to dance to a high-energy performance!

John F. King II started his professional career in Sacramento with the popular Northern California band The Sharks. His music crosses genres and has taken him around the world. He is known for his inventive Streetbeat performances.


Saturday Cinema: Tinkering Film Fest
With Liz Keim

2:00 p.m.
Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum

Enjoy an eclectic selection of short, kinetic films from the Exploratorium’s film collection. These old and new shorts demonstrate the ingenuity that goes into animating everyday life in humorous and unusual ways.