ALLIANCE RUBBER COMPANY TINKERING STUDIO
The Tinkering Studio at Mid-America Science Museum not only has a new name, it also has some new features thanks to Alliance Rubber Company in Hot Springs.
Mid-America Science Museum and Alliance Rubber Company announced today a new partnership that will ensure area residents and visitors will engage in tinkering and creating in a new way.
“Mid-America Science Museum is thrilled that our Tinkering Studio is now the Alliance Rubber Company Tinkering Studio and we could not be more proud of this partnership. Alliance Rubber Company perfectly represents the goal of the museum and our mission in the Tinkering Studio to promote innovation, invention and experimentation,” said Diane LaFollette, executive director at Mid-America Science Museum.
From its humble beginnings in the 1920s when William Spencer began experimenting with slicing inner tubes in the Spencer family basement to the modern day powerhouse selling unique and innovative products worldwide, Alliance Rubber Company is a true American success story.
Alliance is led by Bonnie Spencer Swayze, who pioneered women’s entrance into the manufacturing business board room, making Alliance Rubber Company a very real example of a female-run company succeeding in the traditionally male-dominated world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“At Alliance Rubber Company, we pride ourselves on continually creating innovative products and we want to foster that sense of creativity and engineering in the next generation,” said Swayze. “This partnership is important to us because we want all kids and teens to have the opportunity to tinker and make things in a cutting-edge studio.”
By partnering with Alliance Rubber Company, Mid-America Science Museum can build on the real-life story of what is possible when young minds begin to experiment, invent and innovate.
"This is a fantastic example of the power of partnerships between local businesses and the museum. By working together, we bring a new vision and a new concept of how science can open doors for young minds and present opportunities for successful careers,” said Harmony Morrissey, director of development at Mid-America Science Museum.
As a symbol of this partnership, the Design and Exhibit team at Mid-America Science Museum has created a one-of-a-kind interactive sign that replicates the rubber band manufacturing process. In order for the exhibition and design staff to get inspired for the new visual display they toured the Alliance Rubber Company and found inspiration in the unique manufacturing process that takes place there.
“After some tinkering and careful planning we decided to recreate the whole assembly line process that takes place at Alliance Rubber in miniature,” said Niles Ellis, director of exhibition and design at Mid-America Science Museum.
Ellis had assistance as well from local artist, and exhibit associate Lori Arnold. “This was the first major project of this scale that I’ve worked on for the museum and it’s been exciting to be a part of the process,” said Arnold. The miniature model was made using vintage Gilbert erector sets, spaceship models, and the education department’s 3D printer. “It was a pleasure for us to have the opportunity to work on a project of this caliber, all made possible by the support of Alliance Rubber Company, a company known worldwide and now a hometown partner in supporting science education,” said Ellis.
For more information about Mid-America Science Museum’s special educational programs and upcoming events please visit www.midamericamuseum.org or call 501-767-3461.