Science Centers

The Forge

Science Museum of Virginia

Science Museum of Virginia The Forge by Roto

The Forge is part maker space, part interactive exploration, part community innovation sandbox. Covering more than 7,000 square feet, this innovative project leverages the institution’s exemplary community partnerships, multifaceted events, and nimble science communications channels to extend their brand and mission well beyond traditional exhibits and programs.


  • Robust skill-based learning with tools and materials.
  • Unique project-based activity model, maximizing staff impact.
  • Strongly connected to community partners in STEM.
  • Innovative “maker 2.0” scaffolding and depth.
The Forge Spread 1

Designed upon a platform of extensive field research into community, university and museum-based fab labs and maker environments, The Forge aims to address many of the limitations typical of staff-led, technology-centered spaces. The Forge goes well beyond the acquisition of 3D printers to create a layered series of entry points and programs to build visitors into participants, and participants into collaborators.

Master plan concept design for The Forge gallery at the Science Museum of Virginia - planned and designed by Roto

Central to The Forge philosophy is making connections, so that the experiences here do not live in a vacuum. Schools use The Forge to extend the capabilities of the classroom. Families use The Forge to learn skills they can apply to in-home projects. Partners use The Forge to showcase how STEM skills matter in the university and the workplace.

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The Sharp Design Studio gives visitors the chance to participate in hands-on workshops that emphasize tool utilization and skill development
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500 multi-colored programmable lights changing colors above robot showroom and maker space at the Science Museum of Virginia's The Forge
The WestRock Gallery is a showroom featuring inventive product displays & interactive stations such as a 500 multi-colored programmable lighting piece
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