In 1969, Frank Oppenheimer set out to create a museum for innovation and exploration. What developed was the Exploratoriuma museum of art, science, and human perception. The exhibits on the museum floor are always growing and evolving, but each embodies the philosophy of the Exploratorium: to nurture curiosity and create a culture of interactive learning.
The Exploratorium has long been a place where children experience aha moments, but it is also a home for lifelong learners. Beyond the exhibit floor, the Exploratorium is a global force in education and the science center field. Not only is the Exploratorium the model research and development center for modern-day science centers around the world, our world-class programs in professional development for K12 teachers and educators expands our impact into schools. Our website hosts 40,000 pages of original Exploratorium resources, which are viewed by over 12 million visitors a year. In addition to the 560,000 visitors to our home in San Francisco, last year alone 180 million people visited Exploratorium exhibits at other science centers and locations worldwide.
Today, the case for interactive learning experiences is even stronger than it was in 1969. As we move into the 21st century we have a societal obligation to make informed decisions from complex and occasionally contradictory information. The Exploratorium, through its exhibits and web-based programs, presents the world in a new light, demonstrates scientific principles that make up the world around us, and nurtures the critical thinking skills required for good citizenship in our democracy.
People come to the Exploratorium because it is fun. Frank was quoted as saying that no one ever flunked a museum. We are proud to have created an environment where visitors transform their curiosity into learning. At the Exploratorium, visitors experience scientific phenomena and learn by doing. That learning generates confidence. And with that confidence comes the ability to fulfill civic duty: to make better decisionssaving resources, creating jobs, and driving innovation.
In order to continue to meet a growing demand for our critical work, we will move to a larger campus on the waterfront in 2013. While sad to leave our home of more than 40 years at the Palace of Fine Arts, we are excited to relocate to our new site at Piers 15 and 17. Our nine-acre site on the Embarcadero will transform both the Exploratorium and its downtown neighborhood. We will be easily accessible via public transportation from San Francisco neighborhoods, the East Bay, and the South Bay. We expect that our attendance will increase dramatically. We will double our exhibit space and triple the number of educators reached through our teacher professional-development programs. Our campus will also generate its own energy through photovoltaics and heat transfer systems with baywater, which permits us the goal of being the first net-zero-energy science center in the world.
Frank never envisioned the Exploratorium as a static force. We still live his vision, which is why we chose to move to Piers 15 and 17 at the Embarcadero. Our new home allows us to further challenge our notions of the known, to tinker, and to explore our world, all while providing enough space to grow in the years to come. The Exploratoriums impact will be felt on a global level, well beyond the piers, as many science centers around the world engage with us and build upon our work.
The Exploratoriums legacy will be a society of individuals comfortable in their ability to question arguments and analyze data, and confident to make decisions and form opinions about some of the most critical issues of our time.
Join us in a new era of curiosity and exploration.
George W. Cogan
Chairman, Exploratorium Board of Directors
Partner, Bain & Company, Inc.