When you think Red Hat, you don’t instantly think of children’s museums. So it may surprise you that on May 16, Red Hat president and CEO, Jim Whitehurst, took the stage at the annual conference for the Association of Children's Museums (ACM) to deliver the keynote address.

More than 1,000 executives and representatives from children's museums around the globe gathered at the Raleigh Convention Center for the event themed, “Open Source Play, Sharing the Creative Code.” Open source play is the intersection between children's museums and open source innovation that is driving the technology industry. The event explored how innovation is fueled by the open exchange of ideas, engaged participation and strength of community, and how those concepts can be brought to the development of play experiences and people management at museums.

During his keynote, Whitehurst urged attendees to think differently about how they engage with children, colleagues and communities. Going deeper, he encouraged them to look for more opportunities to engage and collaborate to create new and innovative ways to connect with children.

In addition to the conference, we will be sponsoring an open source play exhibit, Piece Out, at Marbles Kids Museum, located in downtown Raleigh. The summer pop-up exhibit, which opened on May 16, is inspired by the themes and principles of open source technology innovation such as rapid prototyping, collaborative participation and the open exchange of ideas. Kids of all ages are invited to work together to realize infinite building possibilities, solve playful construction challenges and add to or deconstruct the work of others.

In the spirit of open source development, Marbles will continue to prototype exhibit pieces over the course of the pop-up run, inviting the community to share input and ideas with the goal of making the blueprints – or “exhibit code” – openly available to other children’s museums in the future. Piece Out will be open throughout Summer 2018.

This isn’t the first time that Red Hat has collaborated with a museum; in 2017, we announced our support for Tate Exchange, the annual Tate Modern gallery program designed around the same principles guiding Red Hat, including collaboration and meritocracy, to make art more accessible for visitors. Red Hat also produced the documentary film, “Art of Exchange,” which examines what happens when an art museum invites everyone who enters its doors to not just admire art, but to participate in it. Just like in open source software, anyone can contribute, anyone can bring new perspectives, anyone can make a difference.

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