How People Make Things Opens at the Ella Sharp Museum on October 1, 2022

How People Make Things Opens at the Ella Sharp Museum on October 1, 2022

Exhibit Places Visitors on the Factory Floor with Real Tools

Every object in our world has a story of how it is made. How People Make Things, a new traveling exhibit coming to the Ella Sharp Museum October 1, 2022 – January 8, 2023, tells this story by linking familiar childhood objects to a process of manufacturing that combines people, ideas and technology.

Inspired by the factory tour segments Fred Rogers featured in his show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the traveling exhibit How People Make Things literally places museum visitors on the “factory floor” to transform raw materials into finished, take-home products using four manufacturing processes – molding, cutting, deforming and assembly – with real tools and machines. Interactive activities include using a die cutter to make a box and a horse, cutting wax with different sculpting tools, deforming a straight wire into a spring shape by winding it around the metal shaft, molding spoons using real melted wax, assembling a trolley and testing its performance ability.

“Just like Fred Rogers did with his factory tours, How People Make Things takes complex issues and makes them simple and direct, so children (really all ages) will understand and relate back to them in their own lives. Allowing visitors to get hands-on with tools and machines in the exhibit instills long-lasting impressions about creativity in manufacturing and STEM education,” said Julie Johnson, ESM Executive Director.

Locally presented by Alro Steel with support from the Charles Aymond Foundation, How People Make Things also features factory tour videos from the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood television series with the making of crayons, carousel horses, balls, stoplights, quarters, shoes, toy cars and toy wagons. Everyday products featured in How People Make Things include Crayola crayons, plastic pellets, ice cream cups, sneakers, baseball bats and mitts and Matchbox cars.

“We’re proud to have How People Make Things at the Ella Sharp Museum. This exhibit celebrates the people, the manufacturing processes and the technology used to make objects we use every day. It enthusiastically shows how manufacturing – one of Jackson’s leading employment industries – works today and encourages a STEM workforce for tomorrow,” commented Brian Glick, Alro Steel Vice President.

How People Make Things was created by Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in collaboration with Family Communications, Inc. (FCI), the producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE). The exhibit is made possible with support from the National Science Foundation and The Grable Foundation.

  • Exhibit: How People Make Things
  • Exhibit Location: Ella Sharp Museum, 3225 Fourth St, Jackson, MI 49203
  • On View at Ella Sharp Museum: October 2, 2022 – Jan. 8, 2023
  • Museum Gallery Admission*: Adults: $5; Children: $3; Museum Members and Children Under 5: Free. Admission includes access to Small Wonders: Insects in Focus (Ends Oct. 22, 2022) Exploration Stations, Jackson & the Roaring 20s exhibit, Andrews Wildlife Gallery, and the Never Enough Time Gallery *Pricing subject to change.
  • Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sundays 12 – 5 p.m.
  • Additional Public Programs: Visit for weekend Hurst Planetarium shows and tickets and for Merriman Sharp Farmhouse tour dates and times.
  • Contact: 517-787-2320,


About Ella Sharp Museum
The Ella Sharp Museum, a 501(c)(3), was founded in 1965 and offers programs, exhibits, and experiences preserving community history, advancing art appreciation, and connecting children with astronomy. Our 6-acre campus includes the Hadwin Center with exhibit galleries, program spaces, rental facilities, and offices; the Merriman Sharp farmhouse, a one-room schoolhouse, a log cabin, barn and the Hurst Planetarium. Our mission focuses on providing opportunities to connect our community with history, science and the arts. Additional information about Ella Sharp Museum is available at

About Alro Steel
Alro Steel is a distributor of metals, industrial supplies, and engineering plastics. Founded in 1948, Alro Steel was incorporated in a small garage in Jackson, Michigan. The name “Al-Ro” was derived from the first two letters from brothers Al & Robert Glick. Al began the company during a steel shortage in the 1940’s which was due to the military demands of World War II. Al found a niche matching up companies with steel needs to companies with excess steel. Today, Alro has grown to over 70 locations in 13 states. Alro processes and distributes metals, plastics and industrial supplies with next day delivery to over 50,000 customers in North America. Learn more at

  • On September 30, 2022