SFO: Visit to Exploratorium

I had mostly heard of the Exploratorium as pioneers in interactive science centres, so in my mind I was picturing just a grander version of QM’s type of science centre.  To my surprise it was much more richer in themes and had a great integration of art and science that was also unexpected/ unknown to me.

There are 6 main galleries –

  1. Human Phenomena (thoughts, feelings, and social behaviour)
  2. Tinkering
  3. Seeing and Listening (light and vision, colour, sound and hearing, and motion and spatial perception)
  4. Living Systems
  5. Landscape Observation (explore the local environment)
  6. Outdoor Gallery

I really liked Living Systems personally but the “seeing and listening” area seemed the busiest. It was huge – almost overwhelmingly so!  Right from the entrance, there is so much going on in every surface (walls, floors, windows, ceilings) I actually hardly knew what to look at and didn’t feel like I could take it all in.

Fave museum ideas to steal:

  1. Their ability to bring back-of-house to front-of-house was amazing.  It is so different to the building configuration of QM, and an exhibition construction workshop in the middle was great and mind-blowing to me.  Mirco labs and some research offices were glass and facing visitor areas too
  2. “Notes from Bio Lab” was a quick handwritten ways curators could change and update the info.  More bringing BOH to FOH, and giving personality to people behind the scenes
  3. Outdoor Gallery and Observatory – commenting and reflecting on local place and acknowledging its environment was great, and sent a real message of “everyday science” and it being closely all around us.
  4. Outdoor playground – the use of outdoor space for play, seating, displays and exhibits
  5. Artist in Residency.  There was many works from various years of the long-running program.  The weaving of art + science was really well done.
  6. I stumbled upon Fire Services Week, and it was great to see special programming and community collaborations and engaging with wider things going on in the city/community.

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