Skip Navigation
  Send E-Cards

Get Details

Become A Member




Art & Science Combine in "Contraptions!" Our new changing exhibit is open now!


Vermont artist Dave Blumenthal's Topoform explores 2-D and 3-D shapes. Make your own topograph in the TopoMaker!A contraption is often defined as “a device more ingenious than practical.” Contraptions! — the newest exhibit at ECHO — is a unique fusion of art and science, where visitors can experience an interactive, Rube Goldberg-esque world of gadgets, gizmos, doodads, and whatchamacallits: contraptions that are often the roots of invention. The exhibit, opening November 14, features the innovative, folk art-like works of Clifford Wagner from Science Interactives, and futuristic creations from Vermont artists Janet Van Fleet and Dave Blumenthal. Contraptions! is sponsored by Conant Metal & Light, Inc.

ECHO Executive Director Phelan Fretz says: ”With its eclectic mix of art and innovation, Contraptions! is sure to delight, educate, and inspire young-and-old alike.”

Among a dizzying array of exhibit experiences, Contraptions! visitors will encounter…

  • The Drum Machine: Conduct a huge percussion ensemble with six rows of instruments and 96 switches.
  • TopoMaker: Transform 3-D objects into topographs with this state-of-the-art work by Dave Blumenthal of Montpelier, VT.
  • Berserko Ball Bouncer: Turn a crank and motorized wheels bounce balls at super speed inside a “B”-shaped box. When you change the angle and speed, you change the way the balls bounce. Do you know why?
  • Disc Dance: Explore light and motion in this eye-catching work by acclaimed artist Janet Van Fleet, of Cabot, VT.
Nervous Nellie As with all ECHO exhibits, visitors can deepen their experience through hands-on educational programs for all ages, such as constructing contraptions, making thaumatropes — optical devices that melds two images into one — and learning more about simple machines through interactive experiments. Additional Contraptions!-related programming includes speakers, competitions, and public events that celebrate the ingenuity of our creative minds.


    TV Ad


Produced with our television partner WPTZ NewsChannel 5.

Components of this exhibit installation were produced by the Environmental Exhibit Collaborative (EEC!): a group of four science centers — including ECHO — and children’s museums, in partnership with local artists. EEC! exhibits are made possible by major support from Jane’s Trust, with additional support provided by the Cabot Family Charitable Trust and IBM. ”Contraptions A to Z” was designed by Clifford Wagner Scientific Interactives Inc.

Exhibit sponsored by

CONANT Metal & Light

Newspaper sponsor

Television sponsor

WPTZ News Channel 5

©2015 Leahy Center for Lake Champlain - ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center - One College St. - Burlington VT 05401 - 802.864.1848 - 1.877.324.6386
Directions Hours & Admission Blog E-Cards Jobs Volunteer Internships Press Room Contact Privacy Policy Terms of Use