Current Exhibits

Exhibit open September 19, 2017 – February 23, 2018

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We take artificial light for granted in our modern world. Our homes, offices, classrooms, and even our cell phones provide us with almost instantaneous light. But there was a time when creating safe, affordable, and easily accessible light was a dangerous and dirty business.

SPARK! The Explosive and Dirty History of Light, illuminates the 18th and 19th century experience with man-made light and tells the story of the dirty and sometimes explosive fuels that created that light.

The exhibit features antique and unusual lighting devices such as tin-punched lanterns, whale oil lamps, and early carbon filament light bulbs. It also explores the early electrical experiments that eventually led us to the safe and clean lighting of the 21st century. The ingenuity and technology in these devices demonstrate the challenges of simply lighting a home or business in early America, and make us appreciate the technology of today.