DeCordova Opens New Interactive Space for Families: The Lab encourages visitors to explore art, science, and nature


DeCordova announces The Lab, a new interactive gallery designed to explore the relationship between art, science, and nature. Changing several times each year in conjunction with new exhibitions, visitors will experience immersive installations, creative building activities, nature investigations, and a topical reading area. The Lab’s first theme is Pond, inspired by deCordova’s current exhibition Bodies in Water and the neighboring Flint’s Pond.

“We’re excited to introduce our newest interactive and interdisciplinary gallery where children and their families can experiment, play, and take ideas home with them,” says Emily Silet, Head of Educational Exhibitions. “We hope our young visitors return again and again to The Lab this fall and winter to meet new friends and observe the dramatic seasonal changes at Flint’s Pond.”

The Lab: Pond, which takes a close look at pond ecosystems, features a variety of activities and experiences:

  • Walk-In Camera Obscura: To experience this naturally occurring phenomenon, visitors enter a darkened room where a simple hole in the window covering allows the view of the Park and pond from outside to project into The Lab purely through the magic of optics.
  • Building Table: Children can build “ice” sculptures using LEGO bricks, wooden blocks, and Magna-Tiles ICE.
  • Drawing Station: Visitors are asked to consider the pond life that exists both over and under the water in Flint’s Pond throughout the year through drawing or writing.
  • Reading Lab: Carefully selected story and scientific books about Henry David Thoreau and pond life are available in a cozy reading nook overlooking Flint’s Pond through floor-to-ceiling windows equipped with binoculars.
  • Pond Water Display: Brilliant images of microscopic pond water samples allow visitors to see what can be found in water when it is magnified.
  • Historical Panel: An illustrated sign describes both Henry David Thoreau’s and Julian de Cordova’s relationship to Flint’s Pond.

This spring The Lab will begin a new theme, Air, in conjunction with deCordova’s exhibition Sculpting with Air: Ian McMahon and Jong Oh, opening April 20, 2018.

General Information on The Lab

Hours: Open during Museum hours
Location: Fourth floor of the Museum gallery building
Admission: Free with admission or membership (admission is always free for children 12 and under)
Dates: The Lab: Pond runs through March 11, 2018. The Pond: Air opens April 20, 2018.

More information, including a list of guidelines and tips, is available at

The Lab_PR.pdf398.45 KB
The Lab - Camera Obscura - Katie Poor305.16 KB
The Lab 1 - Emily Silet1.51 MB
The Lab 2 - Emily Silet1.62 MB
The Lab 3 - Emily Silet1.27 MB
The Lab 4 - Emily Silet1.58 MB
The Lab 5 - Emily Silet2.27 MB