Walk In Programs

Eli Whitney Museum

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From Labor Day to Memorial Day we are open on Saturdays from 10 – 3 and Sundays from 12 – 5. When you visit us on a weekend day, an apprentice will work with your child as they build a project and begin to experiment. Sessions last from 20 minutes to an hour. Projects change from weekend to weekend. A sampling of possible projects is available here.

During the summer, (Memorial Day to Labor Day) we are open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 – 4. Walk-in projects are available on the weekends just as they are in the Fall and Winter. Our Water Learning Lab is open on the weekends from May through October (as weather permits.) Please understand that in the summer, our available projects are much more limited because we are not producing others for school programs. We always have Pinball and Boats available however.

Measure Mobile


Sand, assemble and decorate the wheels, axles, chassis and driver of a wooden downhill racer. Then experiment. Measure the distance it travels from the end of its track. Change the pitch of the track and measure again. Change the weight of the car and measure again. An intro to numbers as the voice of science.

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Balancing Circus


The Circus explores the art and science of balance, forces, center or gravity and performance. Conceived with a nod to artist /engineer Sandy Calder, each circus tests classic experiments at work.

Expands STC curriculum.

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Block Heads

BlockHeads group

We build to discover ourselves. Common arms, legs, heads and feet can be shaped, assembled and decorated to create the infinite variety that we are. Blockheads can tell stories, reenact history, represent heroes, display the costumes of distant lands or unleash imagination. A universal tool for learning.

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Sink and Float


Water is the perfect laboratory for experiment. Construct a boat. How will water test its materials, balance, and buoyancy? Test your work in our Water Learning Lab (May - Sept). Choose our traditional Tug or Fishing Boat, or the new squirting, blinking Fire Boat.

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Leonardo Paddleboat

Decorated Paddleboat

Water was the teacher Leonardo loved best. He studied its tiniest droplets and its shattering waves. He envisioned boats the future would bring. Construct his paddlewheel boat and conduct experiments that Leonardo proposes for all students of science.

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Simple Machines

Simple Machine 2013

Whitney demonstrated the power of machines to guide and ease work. The screws, threads, levers and pulleys of this machine organize effort into power you can feel. Students assemble interchangeable parts and invent a personality for their machine.

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Pinball Machine

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A popular project that teaches game design (beginnings, middles and ends), logic (rewards for difficulty), marble movement (caroms, momentum) and creative design (good games must still attract players.) A rare exploration of the work of play.

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Explore the ancient and challenging mechanics of catapults. Rubber bands power this model. Safe for people and places when used with the ping pong ball provided. Make Happy Birds and fling them with accuracy.

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Rubber Band Car

Rubber Band Car

Students construct cars powered by rubber bands and measure their performance after 20 minutes of practice. Lively insights into the mechanics, measurement and math of motion. Great for a followup program on creative elaboration. New design now employs wheels of diameter 1/π.

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New Electromagnet

Understand electricity through the same experiments that early scientists used. Wind a coil of wire. Suspend a bar magnet in it. Charge the coil with a battery to spin the magnet. Test polarity. Discover the origins of motors and Morse Code.

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Reversing Switch & Buggy

Reversing Switch Buggy

A battery's current flows in one direction. Clever arrangement of switches can reverse that direction. Construct a controller with a battery, motor and ultralight buggy which can go forward or backward. Learn wiring logic, precision, and trouble shooting.

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Magnetic Pendulum

Ecosystems Magnetic Pendulum

All creatures live in a web of resources that support or suppress their growth. Create a dynamic model of an insect’s or bird’s world. Suspend a magnetized creature on a pendulum. Add food and shelter (with magnets) that attract the creature and predators and hazards that repel it. The creature navigates a complex and fascinating path.

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Canal Boat

Canal Boat

Canal boats tell the story of the first bold man-made trade network, of community cooperation, of the ingenious use of water power. Construct a boat, its mules, people and canal bed in 1/4th" scale. Operate a model lock. With the rich illustrations of Peter Spier's Erie Canal ©1970

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Journeys / Trade


Overland Construct a detailed model to study westward exploration and migration. In 1/2" scale, build a covered wagon, a team, a family of settlers. Or construct a classic peddler's wagon. Create the contents of wagons and lives.

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To understand a people, study them where they live. Construct simplified model houses to consider the climates, resources, materials and traditions that define culture. Focus on a region. Focus on a historic area. Focus on a common pursuit like baking bread. Create façades of local architecture.

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Colonial Toys

Colonial Toys - Bo Peep and Jugglers

Immigrants brought to America traditions of crafting simple playthings out of common materials. These toys develop dexterity and inventiveness. Two toys from the catalog of clothespin classics. Connect to Colonial curriculum or the geography of play.

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Capoeira: a blend of martial arts, games, and dance that originated in Brazil during the 16th century. The tradition is marked by fluid acrobatic play, feints, and extensive use of groundwork, including sweeps, kicks, and headbutts.

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Brazilian Dancing Turtles


Turtles have an intricate history in many indigenous cultures. In fact some cultures believe that the earth rose from the back of a turtle’s shell.

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Sustainable Light

Traffic Light

Change is just around the corner. Experiment with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), the cool light revolution that will change the future of electricity consumption. Master a simple circuit that controls energy flow. Reverse the polarity!

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Switch on understanding. Construct a house with a power source. Connect positive and negative test bars with contact points and switches for you to test different configurations of incandescent and LED lights. Test it. Understand series and parallel circuits. Test them. Rearrange them. Test again. Then experiment with other challenges.... Lessons in electricity and thinking.

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Dexterity & Strategy Games

Alquerque, Fox and Geese, 9 Men's Morris

Dexterity Games: Rebound, Twister Fingers, Towers of Hanoi.
Strategy Games: Fox and Geese, Nine Men's Morris, Alquerque. Dexterity games and Strategy games are found in every culture and tradition. We've developed some new designs to add to our library of games – and to yours.

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