Our Goals and Approach

Making Across Montana addresses a key challenge for museums serving large, predominantly rural states: how can we both respond to rural and tribal audiences’ unique needs and interests and also effectively serve a large and diverse array of communities? This project takes a two-pronged approach to this challenge by:
  1. Collaborating with rural and tribal partners to develop a mobile making and tinkering exhibition and education program designed to travel to K-12 schools statewide to directly engage students.
  2. Collaborating with K-12 teachers to build schools’ long-term capacity for making and tinkering.
Making Across Montana builds on experiences and lessons learned from prior projects, including work featured in this video about spectrUM’s making and tinkering engagement in the rural Bitterroot Valley.

Project Timeline

Year 1 (fall 2020 - summer 2021)

  • Co-design and pilot a mobile making and tinkering exhibition with SciNation on the Flathead Reservation and the Bitterroot STEAM Advisory Group.
  • Collaborate with SciNation and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Natural Resources Department to incorporate culturally relevant activities into the Kwul I’t’kin Maker Truck’s programming.
  • Develop a companion curriculum booklet for teachers, building on spectrUM’s Making and Tinkering Cookbook.

Years 2 - 3 (fall 2021 - summer 2023)

  • Bring the making and tinkering exhibition to rural and tribal Montana communities for in-school field trips, a family science night, and professional development for teachers.
  • Incorporate the project’s activities into programming at spectrUM Discovery Area and EmPower Place at Missoula Food Bank and Community Center.
  • Develop a toolkit to support museums interested in emulating approaches to making and tinkering programming in rural and tribal settings.
  • Present on this project’s model to audiences in the formal and informal K-12 science education fields.

Our Approach

spectrUM collaborates with K-12 teachers, community partners, and our advisory groups on an array of making and tinkering initiatives that the Making Across Montana project builds upon. Read more about our experiences and findings:


This project was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (MG-245982-OMS-20).The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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