Eli Whitney Museum

Show Menu
2008 Exhibition

Gilbert and Magnetism

Perhaps it was destiny that made magnetism as essential a force in A.C. Gilbert's empire of experiments. William Gilbert – a distant ancestor of A. C. – published De Magnete, Magneticisque Corperibus, et de Magno Magnete Tellure (On the Magnet and Magnetic Bodies, and the Great Magnet the Earth), in 1600.

Learn More...
The Gilbert Project

Magnetic Fun and Facts

Magnetic Fun and Facts Set

Gilbert introduced his first magnetism set in 1923. In 2008, Alex Kronman redesigned the Gilbert magnet experiments to preserve the tradition of curious exploration for a new generation of young hands.

Learn More...
The 14th Leonardo Challenge

Keys to Creativity

Keys to Creativity Logo

The Challenge: Find a key. Twist the key or its meaning. Insert or duplicate or cut or connect or color or conceal keys. Assemble new forms. Unlock new meanings. Let the keys start something.

Learn More...
2007 Exhibition

Gilbert the Competitor

Gilbert the Competitor

Gilbert's experience in the fourth Olympics is a story of sport, Yale, educational trends, social movements, the Olympics as an institution, politics, and a bold young man who loved to compete.

Learn More...

The 13th Leonardo Challenge

Playing Hands

Leonardo and the printing press were born in the same year. The first transformation of that revolutionary communications technology was, of course, games. Playing cards, made uniform and inexpensive by Gutenberg's press, spoke a universal, popular language.

Learn More...
The 12th Leonardo Challenge

Rein of Invention

Chain is as ancient as Hepaestus, the artisan god of the forge. It is an essential tool of the blacksmith’s art. With rings and hooks of chain, a blacksmith tethers the world. Leonardo draws chains as he dissects the anatomy of invention.

Learn More...
2005 Exhibition

Champion of Champions

Gilbert and shepherd

Alfred Gilbert was born in 1884 in Salem, Oregon. About the same time, in Western Germany, Max von Stephanitz began to standardize a breed of yellow and grey wolf-like working dog that would become the German Shepherd. It became an icon of a simpler, purer time.

Learn More...
The 11th Leonardo Challenge

Remarkable Invention

Mark McCarthy

Just as the printing press spread reading across Renaissance Europe,the pencil spread writing. Wood or metal or paper supported a carbon and clay stylus ever ready to mark, cipher, or draw.

Learn More...

The Gilbert Project

Eye Contact

Gilbert Microscope Ad

A. C. Gilbert graduated from Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School in 1909. Gilbert trained to be a physician just as modern scientific medicine... and the microscope... displaced 19th century practical medicine. Gilbert added microscope kits to his popular lines of Erector and Chemistry sets in 1934.

Learn More...
The 10th Leonardo Challenge

Serving Creativity

Tools extend the powers of the hand. Tools expand the world to be touched. The spoon was, at first, literally, a splint of wood improvised to collect for sipping the broth of boiled beast. Which came first: the soup (a word also derived from the sound of sipping) or the spoon?

Learn More...
The 9th Leonardo Challenge


Use buttons and laces to construct or adorn. or adorn and construct buttons and laces. Transform, transcribe, transfigure, transpose. Unbutton your imagination. Lace your work with wit, wisdom or wonder.

Learn More...
The 8th Leonardo Challenge

Leonardo's Cradle

Leonardo reveled in invention…the creations of the human hand that manipulate, manage, magnify and mirror nature. Nature usurped classical geometry as the ruler of Leonardo’s mind. And yet Leonardo connected invention to nature as simply and precisely as the concave of the tee embraces the curve of the sphere.

Learn More...


Back to Top