Exhibit open through February 23, 2018
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
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.