Mount Desert Makerspace

A makerspace, in simplest terms, is a physical space designed for and dedicated to hands-on creativity. It is a place for people to make things, or to learn how to make things. It can be a gathering place for people of all ages or socio-economic backgrounds. It could be an attraction for people with skills interested in sharing those skills with others, or a place to create something that you couldn’t do at home. It’s a place to be with others being productive!

A makerspace can offer a range of tools for shared use – from high-tech laser cutters or 3D printers to no-tech tools like hammers, saws, planes, and everything in-between. It can also be a space for education on how to use the various tools, how to build something like a boat or a simple box, how to weld, sew, weave, or anything else that fills the creative drive. In short, a makerspace could be whatever the community wants it to be.

In our vision of a makerspace:

  • It is a large space in the center of Northeast Harbor, divided into sections to work with various pieces of equipment – for working with wood, metal, glass, fiber, etc. It could be a place to build a boat, a metal sculpture, or to repair furniture or clothing. It could be a place with the oldest of tools such as hammers and planes, or the latest in electronic equipment such as 3D printers or laser cutters.
  • It is operated on a membership basis, much like a gym membership, but with assurances that an individual is approved to safely use any particular piece of equipment.
  • It is a place with frequent workshops or programs to share knowledge or develop new skills. Those programs could include topics on starting or growing a business.
  • It is a place managed by the right person to ensure safety, hospitality, and enhanced skill development.
  • It is a place that naturally attracts people and offers something new and engaging to year-round or seasonal residents – or even visitors. As an attraction, it would bring more people on a regular basis into Northeast Harbor and thereby increase the foot traffic and retail sales of local businesses, boosting the local economy overall.
  • It could be a place where new businesses create prototypes before launching onto a bigger field, or where small businesses or craftspeople get their work done.
  • It is an opportunity for different organizations to collaborate and enhance the social fabric of the community – think of the Masons and school groups, or Islesford Boatworks.

What will be needed:

  • A place large enough to hold equipment, storage, workspace, class space, etc.
  • A “downtown” Northeast Harbor location
  • A great manager
  • Organizational infrastructure – policies and procedures manuals, membership models, class schedules, safety training, marketing materials, etc.
  • Equipment – either purchased or donated
  • Partners and collaborators
  • Funding

Why should we do this?

MDI is a community of creative and resourceful people. Making things is part of the local character. But we don’t all have space at home, or the right tools to do what we need or want. We also often enjoy sharing our knowledge with others, learning from others, or just being together. Residents have shared their desire for activities and places that bring people together, especially people from different generations. From an economic development perspective, a makerspace will be an attraction, and once here, those folks might also shop in the local stores, go out for lunch or a cup of coffee – all supporting other local businesses. For all these reasons, a makerspace is good for an individual, a family, the local economy – the whole community!

What’s been done to date:

  • We have gathered info on ideas, examples, resources, plans, etc.
  • We have received a planning grant from Maine Community Foundation to assist in the planning process
  • We have created a working group to advise and add value to the process
  • We have done a number of community surveys to determine the interest and focus areas
  • We have visited other such centers and learned or borrowed from their experiences
  • We have hired consultants to create a business plan and recommendations on the needed organizational infrastructure, built upon the input from the working group
  • With a full business plan in hand, we are ready to pursue the funding needed to create our new makerspace – and give it a cool name!

To learn more about it, donate, or engage in other ways, contact us at community@mountdesert365.org.

Thank you for joining us!

At the 2022 Mount Desert Business Boot Camp, local artist Nikki Moser gave a pitch presentation to hundreds of audience members and fielded questions from three judges on the idea of the Mount Desert Makerspace. Watch her 7-minute presentation below to learn more: