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  • Hands-On Laboratory

    © Nicolaus Czarnecki

    Hands-On Laboratory picture

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Hands-On Laboratory

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.

Stop by during program hours for ongoing activities and investigations. The Hands-On Laboratory is open Tuesday – 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.

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


Topic of the Month:

Please note topics are subject to change; please check the daily schedule for up-to-date program times and topics.

  • December – Light and Color (through Jan 2)
  • January – Chemical Reactions (starting Jan 5)
  • February – Archaeology
  • March – Nanotech (through April 2)
  • April – DNA (starting April 5)
  • May – Life in the Charles River
  • June – Chemical Reactions


Upcoming Topics May Include:

  • Archaeology: Examine objects that an archaeologist may unearth and find out what each object can reveal about the people who left it.
  • DNA: Explore the structure and function of DNA and try out some of the tools scientists use to work with it.
  • Nanotechnology: Experiment with a variety of materials — some common, some unusual! — to explore how nano-sized particles affect the way we live.
  • You Are What You Eat: What is in the food we eat? Use a variety of lab tools and tests to analyze the nutrients in common foods.
  • Life in the Charles River: Use lab equipment to investigate the Charles River ecosystem and find out more about the life that calls it home.
  • Chemical Reactions: Create chemical reactions and explore what happens when chemicals combine to create new substances!
  • Light and Color: Explore the properties of light and find out how to change the colors it makes.


Approximately 20 minutes


Suit/Cabot Lab. Find on map


Recommended for: Grades 2 – 12 and adults

Sponsored by:

Drop-In Activity

Free with Exhibit Halls admission. Purchase Exhibit Halls tickets:


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  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Staffed Area
  • Multisensory Interactives
  • Accessibility Varies