Based in Portland, Maine, Maine Charitable Mechanics Association ran a free school for mechanical and architectural drawing for over a 100 years from 1875 until 1983. In recent years, MCMA has embraced modern tech and the maker movement, outfitted Mechanics Hall with wireless internet, and begun exploring how to teach would be modern mechanics tech skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow. In partnership with Hack Portland and Code for Maine, The MCMA Library now hosts a monthly "Civic Makers Night" where folks of all ages and abilities work on community projects solicited from local governments, non-profits, or neighbors. Many of the Maker's Night attendees are both civic technologists and new members of the Mechanics. We think the terms "charitable mechanic" and "civic hacker" are synonymous in expressing the desire to use technology for public good, and we're interested in how the "Modern Mechanics" could inform, energize, and lend historical perspective to the growing civic technology movement.
Nick Kaufmann, Storyteller, Code for Maine; Organizer, Civic Makers Night @Maine Charitable Mechanics Association