Eli Whitney Museum

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The Gilbert Project

Flyer at 50

American Flyer Ad

1946: The world began to rebuild itself after the devastation and destruction of the second World War. At an age when other men might have begun looking to retirement, A.C. Gilbert set out to add to his immensely popular line of pre-war learning toys. The result was a line of trains redesigned so completely that they bear only the name of the company he purchased in 1939: American Flyer.

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The 2nd Leonardo Challenge

Platonic Spools

Consider the spool and the cigar box. They are familiar and natural building blocks which give form to the first creations of children. They offer the experienced designer a universal geometry to explore.

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The Leicester Codex

In the demonstration room, visitors were guided through re-creations of some of the observations and experiments that Leonardo himself either described or illustrated in the Codex Leicester. Designed in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History these demonstrations reveal Leonardo as a keen observer who was strikingly ahead of his time.

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The 1st Leonardo Challenge

Leonardo's Clothespin

Clothespin Logo

Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebooks define the products and processes of design. Leonardo explores his world with the eyes of a Scientist; he reinvents it with the hands of an Artist. He directs students in architecture and landscape design, in fashion and theatrical design, in product design and graphic design: all of the creative expressions that surround humankind.

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The Gilbert Project

Cast of Thousands

The Gilbert Kastor Kit

A. C. Gilbert sold toys to boys. The boys who received Kastor Kits were most likely 13 to 15 year olds. America had not yet accustomed itself to store-bought toys. Like Gilbert's Erector Set, which had promised to make a hundred toys, the Kastor Kit was a tool.

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200 Years of Invention

200 years of innovation

On February 10th, 1994, The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce will opened an exhibition of the innovations that marked The Chamber’s 200 year history. The Cotton Gin was among this nations first patents. New Patents are still filed each week. Patent connect invention to development and manufacturing.

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Math Works

Mathworks Logo

An exhibition of the experiences of the learning in work and play outside the classroom essential to mathematics learning in the classroom; an examination of the culture of mathematics learning.

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Leonardo & the Exploring Mind


On September 13th 1992, the Eli Whitney Museum opened Leonardo & the Exploring Mind, an exhibition of drawings and models created to put visitors in touch with Leonardo, Columbus, and the Age of Discovery.

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Lin Chapman collects whistles: some small, the size of your thumb, some that tower over a tall man. On June 18th, a display of his collection will open at the Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden. Mr. Chapman's fascination with whistles began a dozen years ago. He was completing a model of a steam engine. His wife asked "where's the whistle?" and the pursuit was begun.

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The Gilbert Project

Gilbert and the Tools of Learning

A.C. Gilbert

Alfred Carlton Gilbert shared his dreams with America's children. He built a world of learning tools. He encouraged active inquiry and adventurous discovery. The Hall of Science was both a place and an idea: give children the right tools, the children will educate themselves. The Eli Whitney Museum celebrates that vision and achievement.

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Factory, an exhibition at the Eli Whitney Museum, will explore the Connecticut origins of the modern American factory. It will explore historic products of precision manufacturing: axes, guns, locks and clocks. It will showcase new technologies. In Factory, experience of the past will illuminate issues for the present.

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2012 Exhibition

The Reiss Collection

A Window in to the A.C. Gilbert Company of the 1920's

The Riess Collection is a rediscovered window in to the A.C. Gilbert Company of the 1920's.

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