Museum Closed on Sunday, April 1 for Easter

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Date(s) - Sunday, April 1st, 2018
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM


The Science Museum of Western Virginia will be closed on Sunday, April 1 for Easter.  We will reopen on Tuesday, April 3 with our regular operating hours. We look forward to seeing you then!

Want to try some Easter science? Investigate the Chemistry of Easter Egg dye!

QUESTION: What happens if we try to create Easter egg dye with plain water instead of vinegar?


3 cups, each large enough to hold 8 oz of water plus egg dye and 1 hard boiled egg
3 cups of hot water, divided (it is better to use distilled water but you can use tap water as well)
3 teaspoons of white vinegar, divided
Egg dye or food coloring (1 color)
3 hard boiled eggs


1) Place 8 oz of water in each cup.
2) Label the first cup of water with “water only.”
3) Label the second cup of water with “1 tsp vinegar.” Put 1 tsp of vinegar into that cup and mix it with the water.
4) Label the third cup of water with “2 tsp vinegar.” Put 2 tsp of vinegar into that cup and mix it with the water.
5) Add 20 drops of food coloring to each cup or follow the directions on the egg dye for the amount of dye to use.
6) Put one egg in each cup and allow them to sit for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, pull the eggs out of the cups. What do you notice?


What’s happening here?
Food coloring is what we call an acid dye–it bonds using hydrogen. This process needs acid to work and vinegar is an acid. We should see the color brighten with the additional vinegar. It is a stronger acid and so there is a brighter color. Adding acid also begins to break down the egg shell which increases the surface area available to the dye (meaning that there are more places for dye to stick).

What about other acids?
There are other acids which we use in our daily life such as lemon juice, clear soda, or vitamin C tablets. If you add any of these to water in place of the vinegar, do they change the brightness of the color that you see?
Visit this website for more information about the chemistry of this process– https://www.sciencefriday.com/educational-resources/eggs-to-dye-for/.

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