Praise for the Exploratorium
Praise In Print
“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
“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.”
“Exploratorium influences science museums new and old.”
—Physics Today magazine
In 2008, Parents magazine named the Exploratorium a Top 10 Museum for Kids (rated #2). And the Exploratorium is not even a kids' museum!
Also in 2008, U.S. News & World Report rated the Exploratorium #3 in their list of things to do in San Francisco.
“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
#1 on Good Housekeeping’s Top Ten Science Museums List
The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science cites the Exploratorium as the seminal model in the worldwide proliferation of science centers over the past few decades.
“No one in recent years has had a greater impact upon museums.”
—American Association of Museums Award
“...Marina Boulevard, gateway to the Marina District and its attractions such as the lagoon-fringed Palace of Fine Arts and renowned Exploratorium science museum.”
—The Guardian, UK
Praise From the Community
“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 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 from 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, 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
"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, 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 have 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
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
"This place is an eclectic mixture, hands-on, totally un-slick. And it works just beautifully. As a teacher, I find it just so inviting that I can't help but get engaged."
—Tayeko Kaufman, middle school teacher and Exploratorium 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
Recent Institutional Awards
Homeschool.com awarded the www.Exploratorium.edu web site one of the Top 100 Websites of 2012, based on a reader poll. “Every year we ask our readers to nominate their favorite educational websites—the websites they use regularly in their every day homeschooling activities. We then compile the list and publish it online. The Top 100 Educational Websites of 2012 was sent to our subscribers last week. You can view it here: http://www.homeschool.com/articles/Top100_2012/default.asp#"
Core77 awarded the Exploratorium the 2011 Design Award for its Tinkering Studio, notable for its design education initiatives, stating “The Tinkering Studio provided a rich experience in practice to a cross section of the population who would not have that opportunity otherwise."
In October 2011, the Exploratorium's first venture into iPad apps, an educational booklet called "Color Uncovered," rose quickly in the ranks upon release. Within a week it gained the placing of # 1 in free Educational iPad apps, and within the top 10 ranking for free downloads overall on iTunes, even surpassing the popular Angry Birds game.
American Library Association’s (ALA) 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) named the Exploratorium website one of the 2011 Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning. The list is considered the “best of the best” by AASL.
Exploratorium website -- 'Best Biotech' Website by Genetic Engineering and Biology News
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.
Museums and the Web 2011 Conference (Philadelphia) Best of the Web “Long-Lived” Award.
National Science Boards 2011 Public Service Science Award for Exploratorium's contributions to public understanding of science and engineering (May 2011). This is one of the most prestigious national honors in science given to an organization, short of a Presidential Medal. The NSB is the 25-member policymaking body for the National Science Foundation and advisory body to the president and Congress on science and engineering issues. "The Exploratorium is the prototype public science educational institution for people of all ages," said NSB Chairman Ray Bowen. "It stands at the intersection of formal and informal science learning and teaching."
The Exploratorium is one of seven museums to receive distinct Google Awards (April 2011). This award supports the Exploratorium’s future home on the waterfront at Pier 15 and 17 in San Francisco, radically improving educational access for all when it opens in 2013. For Google, museums do more than entertain and inspire. Many Googlers cite their own experiences in science museums as a positive influence on their decision to become engineers.
The Exploratorium was awarded the prestigious 2010 Thea Classic Award by the Themed Entertainment Association for having "pioneered the 'interactive exhibit movement'” and "set a new direction for science education."
The Exploratorium's Total Solar Eclipse: Live from China website won the gold award in the "Community" category, and the Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists won the silver award in the "Online Presence" category, at the 2009 American Association of Museums' (AAM) Media and Technology Committee MUSE awards.
On www.dailycognition.com, the Exploratorium was listed as one of the most famous museums of art, science, and history in the world. It was grouped with the Louvre and the Smithsonian.
The 2008 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge awarded Linda Nye and the Exploratorium Visualization Laboratory first place in the Illustration category for "Zoom Into the Human Bloodstream." (Sponsored by Science magazine and the National Science Foundation.)
Exploratopia, the Exploratorium's new hands-on book of experiments, won the 2008 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, in the Hands-On category.
Homeschool.com named the Exploratorium's website one of the "Top 100 Educational Websites for 2008."
Parents’ Pick Award 2008 from GoCityKids (Nickelodeon/Parents Connect).
One of America's 12 best nonprofits -- the only museum and only west-coast organization -- as described in the book, Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits. [Jossey-Bass, 2007]
Grand, the official magazine of grandparents, named the Exploratorium one of the top twenty children's museums in America.
The Exploratorium Science of Gardening Web site was awarded the Muse Gold Award for Interpretation and Education and Science in 2006 at the American Association of Museums conference.
The Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA) awarded the Exploratorium the Mosaic Award in 2006 for diversity of staff and audience.
In 2005, results of a poll were announced at the 4th Science Center World Congress in Rio, where science center staff from five continents met. Science center directors ranked the Exploratorium the number one science center in the world.
The Exploratorium Science of Music Web site was awarded the Muse Bronze Award in the Educational/Interpretive -- Science category in 2005.
The Exploratorium Web site was recently selected by distinguished author James Lerman as one of the best Web sites for teachers on the Internet today. Mr. Lerman went through an exhaustive and rigorous process to select sites for his book 101 Best Web Sites for Secondary Teachers, published by the International Society for Technology in Education.
In 2004, the Exploratorium received its fourth Webby Award for Best Science Site (2004, 1999, 1998, 1997). In 2002, the Web site received the Webby Award for Best Education Site. The Exploratorium also received a Webby nomination for the Science of Hockey site for the Best Sports Site in 1998.
The Exploratorium's Global Climate Change site received a Pirelli INTERNETional Award in 2003 for environmental publishing. The site also won an Honorable Mention in the database category at the MUSE Awards at the American Association of Museums conference.
The Exploratorium Web site was a finalist in the category of Media Arts and Entertainment for the 1999 Smithsonian Computerworld Award and became part of the Smithsonian’s 1999 Permanent Research Collection. Previous winners include Jacques Cousteau and his Oceanography Museum, the Curie Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
In June 2010, Exploratorium Director Dr. Dennis Bartels was one of two educators named to the Oceans Research and Resources Advisory Panel (ORRAP). In accordance with the Administration’s Ocean Action Plan, ORRAP provides independent advice and guidance to the over 20 federal agencies of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program
In 2009, Exploratorium Director Dr. Dennis Bartels was appointed to the Education Working Group for the President’s Council of Advisory on Science and Technology.
In 2008, Exploratorium staff member and multimedia artist Walter Kitundu received a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the "genius" award.
On October 10th, 2007, Dr. Robert Semper, the Exploratorium's Executive Associate Director, representing the Association of Science-Technology Centers, testified at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology hearing: Assessment of the National Science Board's Action Plan for STEM Education.
In March 2006, Dr. Dennis Bartels, Executive Director of the Exploratorium was invited by the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to serve on the National Science Foundation Education and Resources Directorate Advisory Committee.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has awarded the distinction of Fellow (Education section) to Rob Semper, Exploratorium Executive Associate Director. AAAS is the worlds largest general scientific society and the publisher of the journal Science.
Charles Carlson, Exploratorium Director of Life Sciences, was named to the National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine Long Range Planning Panel.
In 2003, Paul Doherty, Exploratorium Senior Scientist, was awarded NSTA’s Faraday Award for excellence as a science communicator. In 2002, he was awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award by the American Association of Physics Teachers, Northern California Section.