Electrifying exhibit brought to
Mid-America Science Museum
and an educational program  was born!


At the age of 12, a young man named Richard W. Mathias was inspired into a life of engineering largely in part to a Tesla Coil exhibit he observed at the famous Griffith Park Observatory in southern California. Encouraged to study science and engineering, Richard went on to pursue electrical engineering and worked for two of the same companies that Nikola Tesla had worked for, Westinghouse Electric and General Electric. After retiring from General Electric, Richard began a quest to sponsor the construction of the most powerful conical Tesla Coil exhibit on earth (1.5 million-volt) for the Mid-America Science Museum, Hot Springs, Arkansas. With corporate donations and a personal matching fund, the Caged Lightning exhibit was born.

In November 2002, the museum opened the "Caged Lightning" exhibit and Richard Mathias was able to finally realize his dream of exposing young people to the marvels of electrical engineering. Hoping to stimulate technicians and engineers to enter into the world of electrical power, just as he was inspired at Griffith Park Observatory, the Mid-America Science Museum Tesla Coil exhibit was finally a reality. Richard and his wife Mary Ellen have developed an inspiring "Sermon from Science" electrifying educational program for public and private schools. The free program includes a quarter-size conical Tesla Coil replica (400,000 volts) which is demonstrated during their hour-long free presentation. Through the Caged Lightning exhibit, Richard W. Mathias has provided an inspiration to all those that witness it, and with the help of Nikola Tesla, the "Father of Electricity", they both will hopefully inspire young men and women to pursue a career in electrical power.

Richard Mathias has served on several Board of Directors: Forestwood National Bank (Dallas), Dallas Electric Club, General Electric Company - Walt Disney World Horizons Exhibit Advisory Board, Sky Ranch - East Texas, Josh Mc Dowellís Advisory Board, Chairman - North Dallas Homeowners Association Board, Mid-America Science Museum Board of Directors - Vice President, Mid-America Science Museum Foundation Board and a former member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

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"Richard and Mary Ellen both worked at Southern Calilfornia Edison Company in1957 where they met, dated, courted and married, never dreaming they would be presenting Sermon From Science programs today relating to Edison & Tesla."