Exploratorium: Home

Praise for the new Exploratorium

Praise for the new Exploratorium

“I was totally blown away by the beauty, creativity, integrity, grandeur, and authenticity of the new Exploratorium. I had been worried about how the wonder and spirit of the iconic old Exploratorium could be recreated and expanded in a high traffic tourist environment. You have absolutely knocked the ball out of the park. True and then some to Oppenheimer’s vision. He would be very proud of how you’ve taken the most unique and wonderful of learning institutions and re-created it for the 21st century in the most incredible of locations. I was so inspired that I find it hard to stop searching for more superlatives to throw at it/you. And the tinkers/makers area across from the shop is brilliant – the core of the space and the heart of the institution.”

David Mosena, President of the Museum of Science and Industry, 2013


“The Exploratorium is what every science museum should be.”

—Astronomer Saul Perlmutter, Nobel Prize for Physics, 2011


Praise in Media

“(The Exploratorium) remains the most important science museum to have opened since the mid-20th century because of the nature of its exhibits, its wide-ranging influence and its sophisticated teacher training program.”

Edward Rothstein, Science Times/The New York Times, Opening Day 2013


“The Exploratorium science museum, which reopened Wednesday on a new nine-acre campus by the San Francisco Bay, is striking for how closely it has hewed to its quirky, interactive and “work in progress” roots. What the museum has done with computers and interactivity ... is impressive. Several exhibits seem to break new ground in melding the museum’s traditional hands-on philosophy with computerized scientific visualization techniques that make it possible to manipulate the vast data sets that are increasingly referred to as big data.”

John Markoff, The New York Times, Opening Day 2013


“The Exploratorium has been the primary institution in the Bay Area behind our incredibly strong art + technology scene—before Survival Research Labs, before Burning Man. I, for one, GIVE THANKS!”

Sabrina Melo, Huffington Post, April 19, 2013


“We know we’re not supposed to play favorites, but when it comes to amazing interactive museums that inspire creativity and education, the city’s Exploratorium is at the top of our list.”

Erin Lem, Red Tricycle, Opening Day, 2013


“The Exploratorium is one of San Francisco’s best family attractions, and it just reopened at Pier 15 on the Embarcadero. Now triple its former the size, the world-class interactive museum sets the standard for fun, hands-on discovery.”

—Family Travel Forum, May 2013


“Frank Oppenheimer…reinvented the science museum more than four decades ago. The Exploratorium inspired other museums to adopt a hands-on, learning-by-doing ethos. Dr. Oppenheimer fostered replication by freely giving away information, and the museum later went into the business of building exhibits for other science museums. Now, 100 years after the birth of Frank Oppenheimer, the Exploratorium is on the verge of a rebirth.”

Ken Chang, Science Times/The New York Times 2012


“Astronomer Saul Perlmutter, shared last year’s Nobel Prize for Physics with Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess. The three used data from exploding stars or supernovae to show that our universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. But Saul Perlmutter’s head isn’t always up in the stars, he’s also fond of places like San Francisco’s Exploratorium Museum where he takes his U.C. Berkeley physics and music students.”

—Here and Now Radio Producer Emiko Tamagawa, 2012


“It has even been suggested that the reason Silicon Valley spawned the innovation it has is because the leaders of the region's tech industries spent their childhoods at the world's first science centre - the Exploratorium in San Francisco. In fact, the heads of tech giants Intel, VeriSign and Advent all shared the same first job - they worked as Exploratorium science communicators when they were teenagers.”

Linda Silver, The National


“In 1969, when San Francisco’s Exploratorium was created by Frank Oppenheimer, it overturned every regnant idea about science museums. There was no collection; there were no display cases; there wasn’t even a pretense that objects were special. They were expected to break, and a workshop was just off the museum floor. This was a museum without a proscenium. Visitors provided the forces that made these pendulums swing and balls roll. Two generations later, the concept thrives after having given birth to similar institutions all over the world. The Exploratorium suggests that brilliant transformations of the science museum model might be unforeseeable. And perhaps today’s rampant experimentation with exhibition styles might eventually yield a new model as yet unimagined. But for now, when being experimented upon, I have my preferences.”

Edward Rothstein, Culture Critic, The New York Times, 2010


Praise from the Community

“The Exploratorium is the prototype public science educational institution for people of all ages. It stands at the intersection of formal and informal science learning and teaching.”

—National Science Board chairman Ray Bowen


“Spent an afternoon with a 7 year old here and she had a blast. There were countless amazing science demonstrations and most were super interactive/hands-on allowing kids to enjoy themselves even if the concepts were occasionally over their heads. The exhibit creators deserve a standing ovation, their creativity was unmatched compared to all the other science-y museums I’ve been to.”

—Posted on Yelp.Com by Jeremy Stoppelman, Co-Founder and CEO of Yelp.com


“All museums should be more hands-on, more experimental…more like the Exploratorium.”

Dr. Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize winning scientist and Director of the National Cancer Institute


“We cannot go on in a society like this, having so many people essentially ignorant of science. The primary target must be the young people. The children. But they have to be told about science in the right way and that is where the Exploratorium comes in. What I like to see is the Exploratorium's impact on these younger people who in many cases are from sensing the excitement of science and the discovery of science here for the first time.”

Dr. Francis Crick, Nobel laureate, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA


“The reason why Silicon Valley has spawned so much creativity is because all these creative folks went to the Exploratorium when they were young…right on the cusp between an 'art-experience' and a 'science-experience.' Such things could perhaps result genuine and meaningful collaborations between artists and scientists. The only place I can think of that regularly attempts stuff like this — and often succeeds — is The Exploratorium in San Francisco.”

Brian Eno, renowned artist, musician, cultural thinker


“I would place far greater value on what I could learn from viewing a child at the Exploratorium than from what I could learn by observing a child in a classroom or by knowing his or her IQ.”

Howard Gardner, noted psychologist, Harvard University; researcher and author


“The Exploratorium is for children like me who refuse to outgrow a sense of wonder.”

Gordon Getty, composer, businessman, and philanthropist


“The Exploratorium hooks kids on the beauty of science. Intel takes kids and trains them to be world-class innovators in science. It’s a perfect match.”

Dr. Andy Grove, co-founder, Intel


“I have invested in this place over the years. Why? Because I know its value. The Exploratorium is priceless in the education of our young people. In fact, it's priceless in the education of just about everybody.”

William Hewlett, co-founder, Hewlett-Packard Company


“Only San Francisco has the Exploratorium, with its unique way of conveying nature to us all”

Barbro and Barnard Osher, civic leaders and philanthropists


“The Exploratorium first fostered my interest in science over 30 years ago. Its power to educate and influence successive generations of inquisitive visitors of all ages and backgrounds has only improved with time. It is a valuable asset to our community.”

Paul Otellini, Recent Chief Executive Officer, Intel Corporation, and former Exploratorium Explainer


“I have found the Exploratorium, on my many visits there, to be a wonderful and unique experience. The things that are shown excite curiosity and inspire a desire to go further, to seek answers to the questions of the unseen forces involved. Both children and adults respond by learning more about themselves and the world around them through science, art, and nature, all magically brought together under one roof.”

Mrs. Paul L. Wattis, philanthropist and arts patron


“A wonderful place to be at play in the gravitational fields of the Lord. A great place to reveal your inner physicist.”

Robin Williams, actor and comedian


“There is not one place in San Francisco that doesn’t inspire me, but ever since my first visit to the Exploratorium, I have been awestruck.”

Michael Brown, Artist


“In an era when teaching to standards threatens to take the oxygen out of education, the Exploratorium is a beacon of light.”

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Harvard Professor of Education, MacArthur "genius" award-winner and now chair of the board of the MacArthur Foundation.


“The exhibits in the Exploratorium are the result of the creative collaboration between scientists and artists, and they reveal the essential connection between the principles of nature and beauty. The Exploratorium is the best confluence of science, technology, and art, and the coolest place to be, since the Italian Renaissance in 15th century Florence!”

Bill Viola, artist, and MacArthur Fellow


On Exploratorium Partnerships

“The Exploratorium is an ideal partnership for this adventure. It is a global leader in informal science education. It is considered the prototype for hands-on museums, and continues to innovate and transform the museum industry through creative approaches. It’s indeed an honor for us to work with such a preeminent educational institution.”

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Recent Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


“Few museums could partner with universities in the way that the Exploratorium has done. We urgently need better ways to teach science. This will be one of them.”

J. Michael Bishop, Nobel Laureate


“This fantastic partnership recognizes the important and novel approaches to science teaching that the Exploratorium staff has developed. The ‘hands-on’ approach removes much of the intimidation factor that many teachers with little science training must face. I am sure that with this new program even more creative approaches will be developed and proven effective.”

Gordon Moore, Co-Founder, Chairman Emeritus, Intel Corporation, referring to CILS—a collaboration between the Exploratorium, the University of California Santa Cruz, and King’s College London


“Let's face it. No matter what else happens, we can't hope to progress without skilled and caring teachers. As other resources shrink, our human knowledge base becomes ever more critical to the healthy growth of society. Science has done so much for our way of life that we sometimes seem to take it for granted. I'm pleased to see this important investment in our future.”

Arno A. Penzias, Nobel Laureate, Venture Partner, New Enterprise Associates


“Many of the science centers – now numbering about four hundred in forty-three countries – established after the example set by physicist Frank Oppenheimer with the San Francisco Exploratorium (1969) can claim to be creating new and challenging experiences: the scientists who help conceive the exhibits and the persons using them join in realizing Oppenheimer’s vision of ‘laboratories of learning.’”

Giuliano Pancaldi, The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science


Praise from Students and Educators

“Thank you so very much for your insightful presentation on the induction of mathematics and science teachers. Now, it is an integral part of their (the Commission’s) vocabulary in thinking about a new professionalism for math and science teachers.”

National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century


“I truly credit the Exploratorium for making the most positive impact on my career as a science educator. The learning was and continues to be endless. The inspirational and yet easy and "cheap" materials transformed what I could afford to do for my students. Such clever ways to execute ideas in a way that a teacher without a school-funded budget could be successful ... making the students' experience wonderful and successful as well ... sums up the Exploratorium experience…I wish we had a clone in the southern part of California ... The Exploratorium is the first words out of my mouth when asked what had the biggest impact on my teaching career.”

Sue Pritchard, Ph.D., Teacher, Grade 8, Washington Middle School, La Habra, CA, Teacher Institute Alumnus


“The Teacher Institute has given me great opportunities to strengthen my teaching techniques with hands-on activities and models, to deepen my subject knowledge in different areas of science and math, and to learn to use technology in creative ways to promote meaningful learning. It has provided a neverending source of teaching and learning resources and introduced me into a community of support (workshops, alumni list, Facebook group and more) to improve my science teaching and communication skills. From a national perspective, the two way exchange with the Teacher Institute Staff, through their participation in our Science and Math Conferences for Teachers in Costa Rica, and through the participation of local teachers in the Summer Institute, has also had a valuable effect in the educational community in our country.”

Alejandra Leon-Castella, CIENTEC, Costa Rica, Teacher Institute Alumnus


“The Exploratorium made me dramatically change how I taught. It made me a better, happier, funnier and more challenging teacher. More importantly I began to see every visit to the museum as a giant buffet of good things that I might potentially tie into my science stuff. It was two years after my first third grade class that I began to connect our reading materials to science experiments I discovered at the museum and the Teacher Institute. Nothing was sacred after that as I saw my curriculum improve when we went hands and minds on! It hasn't changed, not even after I've retired, the Exploratorium is my go to place for ideas, or just to see how pleasurable learning is. It is the place that reminds me that science is accessible. Science is all around us. Science is relevant. Most important science is fun.”

Raleigh McLemore, Teacher Institute Alumnus


“Science at school is sometimes boring, but coming here gives me more willingness to understand what's going on. When you get to come and try to do gravity yourself, it makes it funner. That's the way I see it.”

Ceondra Parrot, at age 14


“It's kind of like an amusement park but also a place you learn from. I like to come here on Saturdays with my friends because it's a new kind of experience for us. It's educational and more fun than going to the movies.”

Azizah Hodges, at age 13


“I come here with my eight-year-old sister a lot and teach her. I do that because I think the earlier you start, the easier it is. That's what the Exploratorium, with all its stuff, has done for me. It's made it easy and fun to learn.”

Peter Chow, at age 13


Past Praise in Media

“Best science museum in the world.”

Dennis Flanagan, Editor Emeritus, Scientific American


“There are two models for great American amusement centers and both can be found in California. Rising from the plains of Anaheim is the original Magic Kingdom, Disneyland. To the north, in a hangar-size building at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, is the Exploratorium.”



“Ten Great Science Museums: In San Francisco, the Exploratorium.”

Discover magazine


“Exploratorium influences science museums new and old.”

Physics Today magazine


“Best museum in San Francisco.”

Family Fun magazine


“Perhaps the best science museum in the world.”

American Airlines’ American Way


“Best science museum website.”

Yahoo! Internet Life


“No one in recent years has had a greater impact upon museums.”

American Association of Museums Award


“While exploring the Exploratorium website (how appropriate), it is easy to forget that this is an accompanying website to a physical museum located in San Francisco. That’s because this site could easily be a standalone online museum, thanks to its diverse collection of online exhibits, interactive features, hands-on activities, and videos.”

Genetic Engineering & Biology News