Junk City 

As seen at

An Immersive Recycling Inspired Exhibit for Children and their Families


Junk City also houses a live puppet show. Utilizing live-projection technology, puppeteer Zach Dorn manipulates digital cameras through cardboard streets and within tiny buildings. Through Toy Theater, music, and shadow puppetry, he tells the original story It Was the Coldest Year

At The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and presently at The Thinkery, the installation is a tremendously popular spot, as visitors discover the magic of up-cycling, and take part in the growth of one of the most unique and junktastic miniature cities around. It has sprouted community partnerships with non-profit organizations such as Goodwill Industries, salvage shops, and creative reuse stores. We wish for this installation to travel and spread the joy it has brought Pittsburgh and Austin to new cities. While the size of the display is adaptable and the recycling-centered activities surrounding the installation ever changing, the cityscape will remain a sensory and immersive exhibit like no other.


Puppeteer Zach Dorn has transformed 400 square feet of The Thinkery Children’s Museum into a whimsical miniature metropolis. Medicine cabinets become luxurious hotels! Suitcases repurposed into skyscrapers! Computer interiors morphed into bustling streets! Welcome to Junk City, a wholly repurposed town of clutter and excitement; grab some binoculars and a treasure map – there’s a brand new world for you to discover.  

Tables filled with Styrofoam cups, abandoned books, empty yogurt containers, and other forgotten objects invite kids to create their own additions to the stimulating display.  At both The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and The Thinkery, the results have been staggering, as visitors have shaped imaginative and spectacular pieces to join the junk-fueled cityscape. By the end of exhibit, the line between the artist’s work and the visitors’ creations will blur indefinitely.