Community Spotlight: Getting hands-on with gadgets at the art center


For more than 50 years now, the Muscatine Art Center has been offering hands on learning for families. 

A new exhibit takes it to the next level, combining cogs and gears to activate your imagination. 

The collection of contraptions is made of odds and ends. 

Artist Steven Gerberich gives new life to old garbage in an exhibit called “Gerberich’s Gadgetry: Retooled.” 

“It’s just such an odd mix of sort of quirky, flea market finds,” says Melanie Alexander, Muscatine Art Center Executive director.

Flags, flyswatters and fish– just a glimpse of the goods you’ll find across two floors of the Muscatine Art Center. 

One of the most unique aspects of this exhibit is that most of it will come to life with just a push of a button.

The machines attract men, women and kids of all ages. 

“People who are interested in antiques love it,” says Alexander.

“The kids love to see the way that it moves. Even teachers, when you think about STEM education and when you can physically see the motion and trying to dissect the motion. Muscatine is a community with a lot of engineers, the engineers love to look at it, too.” 

The artist calls it “a dialogue between mechanical memories and active imagination.” 

And it’s a dialogue that the art center hopes to keep open for all families. 

“Sometimes it can be intimidating to think, ‘Oh, I’m going to bring a kid to an art museum or to a historic house,” Alexander says. 

“We’ve been trying to create space where families, doesn’t matter really what the exhibition is in the Stanley Gallery, that there’s always going to be a space for families.”

The exhibit will run through the end of December. 

The artist, Steve Gerberich, will be at the center on October 11th. 

He’ll be holding a workshop for kids so that they can make their own contraptions to bring home. 

You can find the details by clicking here. 

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