Snakes, Possums And Nitrogen All Part Of Children’s Museum Program At Library

“Don’t try this at home,” warned Jonah Cohen with The Children’s Museum of West Hartford. Telling a group of parents and children at C.H. Booth Library on Saturday, April 13, about electrical conductors and insulators, Mr Cohen, outreach and public programs manager, next proposed a quick test on a pickle.

“Yes,” he said, “it’s just water and salt.” With a large pickle allowing electricity to flow and complete a circuit, lights lit and he announced that a pickle is a conductor, after all. “You’ve got to be safe with electricity … there is something else that is salty and full of water — people.”

He next removed Othello from a bag where the snake unfurled and whipped its tongue in and out. The white-sided rat snake wound around Mr Cohen’s arms, then nosed up his sleeve as children laughed.

Mr Cohen soon took another “friend” from inside a carrier, first asking the children to keep quiet.

“He is one of the wild animals that came to us; he was hurt in an accident,” he said. Chaz, who could be “mellow, or not,” is a possum that had been hit by a car. Comparing him to kangaroos and koala bears, Mr Cohen asked, “Do you know what he is? He is a marsupial…”

Moving to another experiment table to demonstrate liquids and gases, Mr Cohen used “very, very cold” liquid nitrogen, “one of the coldest things you’ll ever see,” and watched as it caused a white film of condensation to form on the container. Evaporating nitrogen like steam streamed from the glass, but slipped downward in its chilly state.

The demonstration was made possible through Museums Love Newtown, a recent collaborative effort of children’s museums across the state, and coordinated through EverWonder Children’s Museum members in Newtown. 

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