Rosh Hashanah 2011: Leonardo's Workshop

Eli Whitney Museum

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Vacation Program

  • Thursday, September 29, 2011
  • 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Designed for ages 7 to 11

What makes places inventive? We will play with that question this year.

What are the ingredients of invention? We will mix energy (gravity, rubber bands and springs), necessity (the catapults Leonardo was commissioned to build), nature (maple seed wings), time (deadlines and open experiment), a library of experience (ideas from Archimedes, Leonardo, your classmates and you), playfulness (artful, fanciful goals), flexibility (a cluster of tools and materials) to make a laboratory of invention. Need more? Ask for it.

Construct a box of possibilities. Collect and connect tracks, marbles, supports... and your inventiveness. Construct a marble relay to trigger a maple wing catapult or release a rubber band powered lion, or lance a balloon. Mix your ideas with the designs of other great minds. Especially: Leonardo’s alarm clock, proof that if you get up earlier than anyone else, you can invent the first Rube Goldberg Machine.

Leonardo's Alarm Clock: MS. B verso 20, Institut deFrance, Paris

*inspired by Places of Invention, an exhibition being developed by the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

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