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New Exploratorium Home at Pier 15 Passes 60 Percent Completion Mark

For Immediate Release:
March 08, 2012

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Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367

New Exploratorium Home at Pier 15 Passes 60 Percent Completion Mark

The Exploratorium, the pioneering museum of science, art and human perception, announced today that its new location on historic Piers 15 and 17 at the heart of San Francisco’s waterfront is more than 60 percent complete and on schedule for its targeted spring 2013 debut. The Exploratorium also announced that more than $230 million of the targeted $300 million has been raised to date in support of the project, which will radically improve public access to the Exploratorium and surrounding waterfront space for visitors from all over the region and the world.

“The Exploratorium unleashed a bold revolution when it was founded in 1969 by noted physicist, educator and visionary Frank Oppenheimer--leaving both the classroom and the museum field changed forever,“ said Dennis Bartels, PhD, Executive Director of the Exploratorium. “It broke the mold for public learning institutions when it introduced people to science by examining how they see, hear, feel the world. Our new urban location on the waterfront enables the Exploratorium to grow its mission as a global leader in science education. For visitors, this means more opportunities to actively engage in their own discoveries and shape their own worlds.”

Designed and led by San Francisco’s EHDD Architecture, the Piers 15/17 project is the first major, permanent development on the waterfront in more than a decade since the construction of the San Francisco Giants’ ballpark and has the potential to be the largest net-zero energy museum in the U.S., if not the world. The project is being developed in two phases, beginning with Pier 15 and offering future expansion into Pier 17.

Several important construction milestones at Pier 15 have been reached:

  • The complex seismic retrofit and preservation of the existing piers, substructure and historic pier shed. One engineering feat in the process was cleaving the bulkhead entry from the shed, which stretches 820 feet over the Bay-–the equivalent of a New York City block.

  • The completion of the exterior of the Bay Observatory Building, the only new structure on the site: a mostly glass, two-story building offering direct views of the urban and marine environments, mediated by complementary exhibits.

  • The removal of the parking lot between Piers 15 and 17, exposing the bay and remnant pilings-–potential platforms for future experimentation. A short pedestrian bridge was installed, spanning the narrow east end of this central waterway connecting the aprons of Piers 15 and 17. By June 2012, a longer pedestrian bridge across the exposed waterway will be finished, eventually enabling the general public to circumnavigate Pier 15.

“With the revitalization of the San Francisco waterfront as a tremendous priority for the City, the relocation and expansion of the Exploratorium to historic Piers 15/17 on the Embarcadero is an important example of job creation and public-private partnerships benefitting local residents and global visitors,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “This is a landmark project for the City and the Port of San Francisco that will benefit San Francisco families, tourism and those who love science and the environment for generations to come.”

The new Exploratorium will open up 330,000 square feet of space for the institution, housing new and familiar quintessential Exploratorium exhibits in four galleries; space for professional teacher development, after-school programs, educational camps and lifelong learning; a theater; a multimedia lab; exhibit-design services for museums around the world; the Exploratorium store; a café and bay view restaurant; and an Outdoor Exploratorium. Also outside, visitors can access 1.5 acres of free, open civic space, which will include new displays.

The Exploratorium will remain open to the public at its current location at the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts through January 3, 2013.

Hours of Operation & New Evening Hours
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm;  every Thursday evening adults only (ages 18 and up) 6pm-10pm.

$29 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. Tickets available at the door and advance tickets available online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/tickets.

Getting Here
The Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transit. Convenient parking is available nearby. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit/location-directions

About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.

Pier 15
San Francisco
California 94111
(415) 528-4444 telephone

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Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367