Intertwining Art and Science
Located in San Francisco, California, the Exploratorium is a public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art, and human perception. Our mission is to create inquiry-based experiences that transform learning worldwide. Our vision is a world where people think for themselves and can confidently ask questions, question answers, and understand the world around them. We value lifelong learning and teaching, curiosity and inquiry, our community, iteration and evidence, integrity and authenticity, sustainability, and inclusion and respect.
We create tools and experiences that help you to become an active explorer: hundreds of explore-for-yourself exhibits, a website with over 35,000 pages of content, film screenings, evening art and science events for adults, plus much more. We also create professional development programs for educators, and are at the forefront of changing the way science is taught. We share our exhibits and expertise with museums worldwide.
The Exploratorium was the brainchild of Frank Oppenheimer. At various times, Frank was a professor, a high school teacher, a cattle rancher, and an experimental physicist.
While teaching at a university, Frank developed a “library of experiments” that enabled his students to explore scientific phenomena at their own pace, following their own curiosity. Alarmed by the public’s lack of understanding of science and technology, Frank used this model to create the Exploratorium, believing that visitors could learn about natural phenomena and also gain confidence in their ability to understand the world around them. This was a groundbreaking idea for a science museum in 1969 when the Exploratorium opened. And the rest is history.
Frank Oppenheimer viewed art and science as complementary ways of exploring the world, and incorporated both into the Exploratorium from its earliest days—a pioneering idea at the time that’s been woven into the fabric of the institution. Today, artists and scientists continue to work alongside each other in envisioning new ideas and directions for the museum and its programs. Their common goal: to support a culture of experimentation and collaboration, inspire curiosity and understanding, and stimulate fresh ideas and directions.
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