One of our best hands-on in NM was creating and exploring holograms. We had an artist and scientist who specialized in holographic imagery lead the cafe. They were in their mid-sixties and still rooted in the 60’s. Their language, dress, and world view were classic sixties and the kids enjoyed them very much. The talk focused on the big idea that we do not see objects, we see reflected light off of an object. Thus, if you can modify how light is reflected off an object you can change the perceived color and shape.
We used light filters and different types of light to see how the image in our eye changed for different objects. The artists had been commissioned to create holograms of many famous people. The one they were most proud of from the artistic sense was of Ronald Reagan that is in his Presidential Library, but it kind of ate their heart out, because they did not like his politics.
So, the presenters were “cool”, the hands on was “cool”, and kids walked away with new perspectives on life, history, art, and science.