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Family First: The Inventors Workshop with Dulce Tavares

All ages
Free with museum admission, RSVP recommended
  • About This Program

    The Inventors Workshop with Dulce Tavares will honor those African-American inventors who are often anonymous. Come with your own found objects or tools, to participate in a workshop focused on developing a new, creative and experimental invention with your family.

    An investigation into the history of Invention will lead you to the discovery that American innovation is filled with the contributions of black inventors. Many every-day products and objects are related to, derivative of, or influenced by the creations of black inventors. From blood-banks, the electric trolley, egg beaters, and clothes dryers to the refrigerator, lawn mowers and the pencil sharpener, the list of remarkable inventions created by African-Americans is endless.

    Inventors such as George Washington Carver and Madam CJ Walker leap to mind when thinking about famous African-American inventors. But who are the present-day inventors of color that have contributed to the advancement of science, medicine, culture, and our every-day lives?


    As a child growing up in Brazil, Tavares drew and molded clay, but set aside art to pursue science. She forged a career as a professor of microbiology and immunology, until she and her family moved to the United States 18 years ago. When her academic credentials failed to transfer to American academia, Tavares reinvented herself – a knack she has turned into a full-time job in art.

    Knowing what appeals to children and sparks their imagination is second nature to Tavares. She started teaching classes at the Matthews Community Center seven years ago. Her first success was a puppetry summer camp, for which she made a proscenium from a big cardboard box, curtains and rope. 

    ABOUT THE LEAD IMAGE: Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, a theoretical physicist, was the first African-American female to obtain a Ph.D. from MIT — but her achievements don't stop there. Jackson is considered a pioneer in telecommunications tech that led to inventions like portable fax, touch-tone phones, solar cells, caller ID and call waiting. Today, she serves as the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of the top 50 universities in the United States and one of the most revered technological research colleges out there.

    Family First is generously sponsored by:

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