Hands-On Laboratory



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The Hands-On Laboratory is a fun, interactive learning laboratory program that encourages visitors of all ages to explore various topics in the laboratory sciences using many of the same tools and techniques as real scientists. Topics vary monthly, ranging from chemistry to genetics to nanotechnology to microbiology.

Stop by during program hours for ongoing activities and investigations. The Hands-On Laboratory is open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings during the school year and Saturday afternoons year-round. View the Museum's daily schedule for up-to-date program times and topics.

School groups should plan to split their students into small groups of no more than 15 – 20 students. Most groups stay for about 20 minutes.

Topic of the Month:

  • March – DNA
  • April – You Are What You Eat
  • May – Chemistry of Life
Availability of topics is subject to change.

Upcoming Topics


Examine objects that an archaeologist may unearth and find out what each object can reveal about the people who left it.


Gain an understanding of the structure and function of DNA, extract a sample of this molecule, and learn to use the tools needed to work with it.


Experiment with unusual and common solids, liquids, and gases to better understand how nano-sized particles affect the way we live.

You Are What You Eat

Identify organic molecules in the foods we eat, measure how many calories are in certain foods, and explore what happens during digestion.

Chemistry of Life

Use lab equipment to find out how plants breathe and make food. Explore how photosynthesis and cellular respiration support all life on Earth.

Chemical Reactions

Investigate how elements combine to produce compounds that make up living and non-living things.

Light and Color

Use spectroscopes and other lab equipment to learn how light energy is converted from other types of energy.

Sponsored by The Joan and Herman Suit Endowment and the Biogen Idec Foundation Science Education Endowment

Photo © Nicolaus Czarnecki