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ART & SCIENCE COMBINE IN “CONTRAPTIONS!”
New ECHO Exhibit Opens November 14
BURLINGTON, Vt. — A contraption is often defined as “a device
more ingenious than practical.” “Contraptions!” — the newest
exhibit at ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, at the Leahy
Center for Lake Champlain — 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
- 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,
- 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.
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.
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.
# # #
ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center is located
at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, on Vermont’s
Burlington Waterfront. ECHO features 70 live species, more
than 100 interactive experiences, changing and permanent
exhibits and seasonal events — all exploring the Ecology,
Culture, History, and Opportunity for stewardship of the
Lake Champlain Basin. The 2.2 acre Leahy Center
environmental campus is also highlighted by the Lake
Champlain Basin Program Resource Room, UVM’s Rubenstein
Ecosystem Science Laboratory, Lake Champlain Navy Memorial,
ECHO’s Eclectic Gift Shop, and ecology-themed Think! Café.
Open year-round, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Thanksgiving,
Christmas Eve & Day. For more information visit
echovermont.org, call 1.877.324.6386, or write to ECHO Lake
Aquarium and Science Center, Leahy Center for Lake
Champlain, One College Street, Burlington, VT 05401.