Professors Barry Muchnick and Carrie Patterson Launch Exhibit of the Tiny House at Patuxent River Naval Air Museum

Submitted by Barry Muchnick on January 11, 2019 - 10:51 am
January 11, 2019
By Barry Muchnick

On January 12, 2019, the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum (PRNAM) will partner with The Tiny House Project at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Grammy Award winning jazz musicians from The Spirit of Jazz & Democracy to host a special event and launch a new temporary exhibit highlighting the role of improvisation in technology, engineering, and democracy.

This unique opening event is called “The Spirit of Innovation and Freedom.” The evening starts at 5:30 p.m. with refreshments from Enso Kitchen and a preview of a new temporary exhibit about The Tiny House Project.

Open for tours from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., the SMCM Tiny House began in 2015 as a two-year, interdisciplinary, experiential, and applied discovery project centered on community sustainable design. With support from the Mellon Foundation, the Offices of the President and the Provost, and a suite of local and national partners, Professors Muchnick and Patterson led 110 SMCM students in a collaboration with high school students at the Forrest Technology Center in a life-changing experience to design and build two tiny houses on wheels. Completed with salvaged materials and state-of-the-art technology, the structure embodies the interdisciplinary spirit of liberal arts learning through the convergence of art, engineering, and community service learning.

Following the Tiny House tour, musicians of the SJD will engage in discussion with Pierre Sprey, a record producer and former defense analyst who helped conceptualize designs for the F-16 and the A-10, and Matt Scassero, Director of University of Maryland’s Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Test Site about the role of improvisation in the evolution of both music and aerospace technology and how to create environments that nurture unconventional thinking.

After the panel master musicians Paul Murphy (drums) and Larry Willis (piano) will perform a fully improvised concert with guest performances by poet Jere Carroll and drummer Dominic Fragman. Murphy and Willis’ performances of total improvisation have been recognized as “a new direction in the jazz and art arena” by Oxford’s Grove Dictionary of American Music

The Tiny House will remain on display at PRNAM throughout January where it will bridge the “The Spirit of Innovation and Freedom” event and the museum’s 2nd annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) Day at the museum on Saturday, February 2, 2019 from 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Tickets to the opening event are available at  

You can take a 3-D virtual tour of the SMCM Tiny House at

The “The Spirit of Innovation and Freedom” opening event is sponsored in part by from the St. Mary's County Arts Council and the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium.