Adventures and Art in SF, Part 4: Exploratorium 

As you probably know, the ultimate hands-on museum in San Francisco, the Exploratorium, recently made a move to Pier 17 in a wild and huge new space nestled on the water.  Situated next to the Ferry Building, pier walks, and more, the Exploratorium’s new home brings with it new spaces for making and experiencing inside and outside of the museum. 

The expansive space houses many more hands-on stations exploring color, electricity, light, and so much more. For those under 13, this place is hours of fun!  In addition to hands-on stations you would expect, the Exploratorium has created permanent spaces for its Tinkering Studio and a range of other labs on view to the public through large glass walls. The new space allows visitors to make with facilitators and others while also giving us a glimpse into the workshop style spaces of the staff. 

The most notable aspects of the new space are outdoors. A new series of site-specific installations, Over the Water opened with a splashy first work by Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya, a project that came of out a collaboration with curator Henry Urbach, director of the Philip Johnson Glass House. The work, Fog Bridge #72494, is a series of spray valves installed at the base of the outdoor footbridge between Piers 15 and 17. Periodically these valves will release thick clouds of vapor, giving visitors the effect of fog rolling through and over the bridgeway. 

The top glass-walled floor of the museum has a wonderful screen installation mapping the weather patterns of the world - gathering real-time data to visualize temperature, precipitation, and other atmospheric patterns across the globe. This indoor-outdoor room overlooked the both the footbridge and the bay on each side, creating an open and relaxing space for visitors.

The Exploratorium is a great place for all - adults and children alike will find something curious to play with.  It was a great place to spend my Saturday. 

Sheetal Prajapati, Associate Educator

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