Tag Archive for: new at children’s museum

Helicopter Upgrade Complete! Thanks NMC Makerspace!

In January 2021, the NMC Makerspace contacted GLCM looking for a project for a class and we challenged them to upgrade our old, broken helicopter dashboard. They created an internal contest to see which students won the chance to work on this project. NMC students Mike Cardwell and Manny McMillan were the winners – and their prize was lots of long evenings and weekends spent designing and building this new dashboard!

The design and construction process took hours of testing, assembly, retesting, and reassembly. The students designing the dashboard needed to take not only play and usage into account, but cleaning, maintenance, and also misuse. Students were instructed to design the dashboard “as though an angry gorilla will be playing with it” and they delivered exactly that.


Assembly and installation took place in Mid-March 2022. Kids were IMMEDIATELY enthralled with the new equipment – charging up the stairs to flip switches, turn on LEDs, and play with the joysticks which are now much more accurate to a real helicopter. By the time Mike (pictured below) had installed the new dashboard, it was already the talk of the Museum.

Mike C., NMC Student, installing power to the new helicopter dashboard – designed and built in the Makerspace.

We are giving a HUGE thanks to NMC’s Makerspace, and especially Mike, Manny, Max, Keith, and Jason for helping us improve one of the most beloved exhibits here at the Museum. You all rock! And thank you to NMC for promoting community centered design, hands-on learning, and collaboration between educational institutions. Thank you for working hard so that the kids of Traverse City can play just as hard!