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The Exploratorium at 35: 

The Exploratorium at 35 Past, Present and Future Rob Semper Executive Associate Director Workshop on Education and Outreach Aspen Center for Physics June 28, 2004 - July 9, 2004 © Exploratorium





Dr. Frank Oppenheimer 1912-1985: 

Dr. Frank Oppenheimer1912-1985

A Rationale For A Science Museum: 

A Rationale For A Science Museum “There have been many attempts to bridge the gap between the experts and the laymen. The attempts have involved books, magazine articles, television programs and general science courses in schools. But such attempts, although valuable, are at a disadvantage because they lack props; they require apparatus which people can see and handle and which display phenomena which people can turn on and off and vary at will. Explaining science and technology without props can resemble an attempt to tell what it is like to swim without ever letting a person near the water. There is thus a growing need for an environment in which people can become familiar with the details of science and technology and begin to gain some understanding by controlling and watching the behavior of laboratory apparatus and machinery; such a place can arouse their latent curiosity and can provide at least partial answers.” - FRANK OPPENHEIMER Curator 11 (3) 1968

Science History Museums: 

Science History Museums Developed in 1700’s Ashmolean Museum - Oxford National Museum for the History of Science - Leyden Instituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza - Florence Collection of historical scientific objects Ashmolean Museum Oxford 1683

Technical Museums: 

Technical Museums Created world-wide in 1800’s Musee des Arts and Metiers - Paris Franklin Institute - Philadelphia Science Museum - London Exhibits of machines, instruments and models Industrial fairs of 1850-1900 stimulated technical museums in Prague, Vienna, Washington, and Munich Musee des Arts and Metiers Paris 1794

Science and Industry Museums: 

Science and Industry Museums Developed during first half of 20th century Deutsches Museum - Munich Museum of Science and Industry - Chicago Franklin Institute - Philadelphia Historical artifacts, working models and participatory exhibits Focus on science and technology Deutsches Museum Munich 1906

Science Centers: 

Science Centers Developed mainly in second half of 20th century Palais de la Découverte - Paris Evoluon - Eindhoven Japan Science Foundation -Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka Outgrowth of Worlds Fair exhibitions Pacific Science Center - Seattle Experimental demonstrations of scientific principles Palais de la Découverte (Palace of Discovery) 1937

Educational Centers: 

Educational Centers Started 1968-69 Educational exhibits with no object collections Some developments informed by formal science curriculum development Exploratorium - San Francisco Lawrence Hall of Science - Berkeley Other developments informed by experiential design Ontario Science Center - Toronto Exploratorium Lawrence Hall of Science Ontario Science Centre

The Palace of Fine Arts: 

The Palace of Fine Arts



SLAC Garden of Anodes: 

SLAC Garden of Anodes

Exhibit Development Shop: 

Exhibit Development Shop

Interactive Exhibits: 

Interactive Exhibits Direct experience with natural phenomena Focus on perception and the phenomena of nature Aesthetic dimension Social interaction

Slide 19: 

Colored Shadow Wall

Distorted Room: 

Distorted Room

Slide 21: 

Momentum Machine

Sun Painting: 

Sun Painting



Exhibition Development: 

Exhibition Development In-house exhibit development process Development process visible to the public Educationally based Staff of scientists, educators, designers and builders Topics Perception, light, sound, waves, resonance, mechanics, electricity, heat, language, neurobiology, genetics, animal behavior, exponentials, complexity, mathematics Exploratorium Machine Shop

High School Explainers: 

High School Explainers

Skateboarding Event: 

Skateboarding Event

Exploratorium Cookbook: 

Exploratorium Cookbook

Public Exhibition: 

Public Exhibition 6,000 sq mt of open exhibition space 500,000 annual visitors 2/3 older than 21 years 50% family groups Current Focus Seeing Hearing Traits of Life Mind and Learning Matter World Catenary Arch

Extending the Exploratorium Beyond its Walls: 

Extending the Exploratorium Beyond its Walls Publishing Internet Exported Exhibits ExploraBook

Science of Music: 

Science of Music

Webcast Studio: 

Webcast Studio



Wireless Electronic Guidebook: 

Wireless Electronic Guidebook

Supporting K-12 Education: 

Supporting K-12 Education School in the Exploratorium 1974 Museum environment supporting science teacher development Staff, exhibits and space creating a professional home for teachers Teacher Workshop

Institute for Inquiry: 

Institute for Inquiry

Teacher Institute: 

Teacher Institute

Iron Science Teacher: 

Iron Science Teacher

Center for Informal Learning and Schools: 

A PARTNERSHIP OF THE EXPLORATORIUM UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA CRUZ KING'S COLLEGE LONDON CILS is funded by the National Science Foundation, with generous support from NEC Foundation of America and the Noyce Foundation Center for Informal Learning and Schools

CILS Landscape: 

CILS Landscape

Exploratorium Network for Exhibit-based Teaching (ExNET): 

Exploratorium Network for Exhibit-based Teaching (ExNET) Partnership with 8 North American museums Using exhibits to support education 35 interactive exhibits - 400 sq. mt. Sets rotate annually Knowledge exchange between partners

Exploratorium Today: 

Exploratorium Today 300 staff $25M annual budget Three centers of activity Center for Public Exhibition Center for Museum Partnership Center for Learning and Teaching R & D center in science education for the public and schools Dr. Goéry Delacôte Executive Director 1991 -

Mission Statement: 

Mission Statement “The Exploratorium’s mission is to create a culture of learning through the creation of innovative environments, programs and tools that help people nurture their curiosity about the world around them.”

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