Why Teach Manufacturing in a Museum?

Zbigniew Pasek, University of Windsor


A growing gap between technology use and technology understanding in a consumer society creates a need to educate the general public about manufacturing—the backbone of a strong economy. This paper describes development of a museum exhibit: a visitor-centred informal education experience highlighting the principles of modern manufacturing. The exhibit architecture reflects three principal engineering activities involved in creating consumer products: product design, manufacturing and marketing/business. It explains how these fields interrelate using as an example a well understood product—a customizable pen. Each activity is implemented via two complementary components: an interactive computer game and a physical display environment, which complement each other. The results of an observational study and analysis of the data gathered through a data collection mechanism built into the game are also provided, suggesting a successful achievement of initial design goals.