06 Mar

May 1: Sunday Funday: Lightbulbs, Leyden Jars, and More

“Is that a good idea, or is it actually a lightbulb?”Electricity 2

When the Neill-Cochran House was built, having ample indoor light at the flip of a switch was practically unimaginable. This month, we will conduct simple (and safe!) experiments with static and dynamic electricity while we imagine what life was like for Austinites before, during, and after electricity’s increasing availability in the beginning of the 20th century.

With help from staff, kids can experiment with two early means of generating electricity: the Leyden Jar (static) and the Voltaic Pile (dynamic). We will also be able to build and test our own experimental light bulbs using batteries, graphite filaments, and glass jars. Rounding out the day’s displays, demonstrations of a Wimshurst machine and a simple electric motor/generator will let us look closer at both forms of electricity at work.

Free Electrical Knowledge: Bring your own container!

WimshurstBring one glass jar (no lid required) to complete your home-made lightbulb, or just borrow one of our jars while you’re here. For a more advanced project, bring a smooth-sided jar with a plastic lid to build a Leyden jar (similar to a battery, but for storing static electricity). We’ll have a few examples available to experiment with as well.

Come visit us this Sunday from 1pm-4pm,

and while you’re exploring, be sure to try our scavenger hunt, check out our new gardens exhibit, listen to our new friends The Barns Owls, and enjoy a glass of homemade & fresh-squeezed lemonade on the front porch! If you’re new to the museum, remember that you can find free parking in the museum lot accessible from 23rd street in between San Gabriel and Leon (aka, behind the museum!)