Electrical Fire! A Course of Experiments Performed for the Curious in the Philosophy Chamber


Friday, October 13, 2017, 2:00pm


Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Science Center, Lecture Hall D, 1 Oxford St

Ever wonder what it was like to attend Harvard College in the mid-1700s? Join Harvard’s Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments to re-create 18th-century electrical experiments straight out of the lecture notes of Professor John Winthrop.

Presented by: Harvard Art Museums, Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, and USW30: Tangible Things: Harvard Collections in World History
Admission: Free
Read A walk back in time on the Harvard Arts Blog

You’ll also witness demonstrations once given at Faneuil Hall by Ebenezer Kinnersley, Benjamin Franklin’s friend. Wonder at the surprising effects of electrical attraction and repulsion! A fire lit by water! Bells rung by an invisible, imponderable fluid! And a warning to all who do not have lightning rods: the blowing up of the Thunder House!

Experiments will be performed with vintage and replica instruments by Sara Schechner, the David P. Wheatland Curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, and science lecture demonstrator Daniel Rosenberg. Rare 18th-century apparatuses from the Philosophy Chamber, preserved by the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, will be on exhibit during and after the presentation.

The program is offered in conjunction with the Harvard Art Museums’ current special exhibition, The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820 (May 19–December 31, 2017), which considers the varied people, ideas, and objects that animated this important room in Harvard’s history.

The lecture will take place in the Science Center, Lecture Hall D, a short walk from the Harvard Art Museums.

Complimentary parking available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.