Hands-On Laboratory



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

Stop by for ongoing activities and investigations. View the Museum's daily schedule for up-to-date program times (currently available Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Saturday afternoons).

School groups may request any of the following topics in advance; see School Requests form below.

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.

The lab is open to the public and not available for exclusive reservation, but school groups may request topics in advance of their visit. Fill out the School Requests Form at least two weeks prior. Capacity is limited; groups of more than 20 should contact us for scheduling assistance.

Photo © Nicolaus Czarnecki