Mark and Sheri Hatfield, from Shelton, became first time parents to a son back in 2009. As he grew they enjoyed bringing him to various children’s museums. The drawback was that there were none close to their home, which meant long drives. They decided that they wanted to start their own museum. The couple has been working hard to find a location, generate interest, and raise funds for their emerging children’s museum called The Kidnetic Clubhouse.
Asnuntuck Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center was approached to help the museum and they eagerly took on the assignment. The Hatfield’s had a vision of a Kids’ Corsair mobile exhibit. The plan is to open the museum in or near Shelton, which is near Sikosky Aircraft in Stratford, which led the couple to think a plane would be a great first exhibit. US Steel had agreed to provide the steel for the plane but unfortunately the company had too many projects of their own to commit manpower to constructing the frame of the plane. They suggested that the couple contact ACC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.
ACC Instructors Steve Goodrow and Chris Foster helped make the couple’s vision a reality. They worked with instructor Rick Munroe, and students Mike Kunze and Stephanie Hoffman to complete the project. Goodrow said that Foster and Hatfield worked on adapting the drawing to a plan that they could construct. “We made it manufacturable,” adds Foster. One of the important pieces of the project was the working relationship the design side of the house had with the welding side. Foster said the ability to bounce feedback back and forth helped with the project’s success.
Goodrow said it was a great project to do with students. “They have to know and understand that what they are doing has to be dimensionally correct.” The instructor said that the project provided a lesson that stressed that close enough was not an option. The project had to be 100% correct and the safety and quality of the work was vitally important, according to Goodrow.
“This project is one of a myriad of examples that personify the best in public service commitment. Concomitantly, our students gain real world experience in the classroom. Truly, it is education at its apex: learning while serving,” said Frank Gulluni the Director of ACC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.
ACC President James P. Lombella agrees. “Asnuntuck is proud to be able to work together with Connecticut residents who are seeking to enrich the cognitive, developmental and educational experiences of children. This project provided our students with an excellent opportunity to put their classroom skills to work. Asnuntuck strives to always support our fellow residents and put education and learning at the forefront of everything we do.”
The Kidnetic Clubhouse Children’s Museum still needs to raise $6,500 funds to complete the Kids’ Corsair mobile exhibit. The Hatfield’s plan is to create a learning space for children, where they can use their energy, to power the exhibits. The plan is to have children use pedal power in the plane to generate electricity for lights and sound on the aircraft. They will use the funds to install the pedals, wire up the electronics, fabricate the body and apply paint.
To learn more about the museum visit www.TheKidneticClubhouse.org. Learn more about ACC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.