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Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22

How could pouring cereal get complicated? See how competitors in the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest have put their minds to making it a mechanical marathon.

You may not know why you know his name. But you know the kind of hilariously complex machines that engineer and cartoonist Rube Goldberg diagrammed to accomplish even the simplest of tasks. If it doesn’t involve a sequence of flames, strings, pulleys, rodents, magnifying glasses and gravity, it’s no “Rube Goldberg machine.” His name is even an adjective in the dictionary, akin to “convoluted.”

  • Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22. Contest viewing opens at noon. Speakers: 2 and 3 p.m.
  • For all ages.

Imaginatively Involved

Now in its 30th year, the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest challenges students of all ages to devise and build their own convoluted contraptions to solve a simple “problem.” This year’s competition challenge: Pour a Bowl of Cereal.

MSI is proud to host this year’s Contest Finals over two days, April 21 and 22. Museum guests are welcome to meet the competitors and see the machines they designed to swing, burn, catapult, scurry, roll and hammer their way to the top. Cereal will be spilled—let the flakes fall where they may.


Special Guests

Both days of the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest Finals will also feature these special guests:

Jennifer George will present a personal look at her grandfather, Rube Goldberg, from his early San Francisco years to his rise to the top of his field in cartooning in New York City. She will also discuss his legacy for future generations, and will take your questions.

Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. (West Pavilion Auditorium)

Ed Steckley is a Reuben Award-winning illustrator in New York City, specializing in illustration for children books, product packaging and advertising. He is also the illustrator of the new book, Rube Goldberg’s Simple Normal Humdrum School Day.

Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. (West Pavilion)

Joseph Herscher has built useless machines viewed by millions on YouTube and television. He’ll talk about his creative process and explore the magic behind Rube Goldberg machines. Why are people mesmerized watching familiar objects used in unfamiliar and playful ways?

Saturday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. (West Pavilion Auditorium)

Included with Museum Entry

The contest and special guests are free with Museum Entry. The contest opens to the public at noon on both days.

Allergen Information

Products containing peanuts will be exposed in this area.