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Peter Sargent, Volunteer, Oppenheimer Circle Member

Peter Sargent, Volunteer, Oppenheimer Circle Member

Dr. Peter Sargent standing on the pier

Peter Sargent examining a column in an Exploratorium exhibit

Peter Sargent working in the machine shop

Peter Sargent working in the machine shop

Peter Sargent sitting on a bench with a drink

Encourage people to make their own observations and experiment. And never give them all the answers.
—Peter Sargent, 

Meet Dr. Peter Sargent, neuroscientist by training, retired professor, Exploratorium volunteer, and Oppenheimer Circle Member (named in honor of Exploratorium Founder Frank Oppenheimer to recognize donors who have included the institution in their estate plans). When asked what his favorite thing is about the Exploratorium, Peter expressed delight in watching museum visitors engaging with the exhibits. It is these “a-ha!” moments of inquiry-based learning, happening on the floor every day, that continue to inspire Peter. 

As an educator for over 30 years, Peter understands the importance of learning processes that engage students by making real-world connections through exploration and high-level questioning. Peter sometimes takes the opportunity to connect with visitors by asking questions that “encourage people to make their own observations and experiment. And never give them all the answers.” 

Prior to joining the Exploratorium, Peter enjoyed an expansive career as the Professor of Cell and Tissue Biology at the School of Dentistry at UCSF. It was there that Peter discovered his love of teaching while working with professional and graduate students. 

Before retiring from UCSF, Peter began working as a volunteer at Pier 15 in 2013 on a range of museum projects. Everything from repairing headphones to designing in-depth tour guides of the 650+ exhibits on the museum floor to activity development with the Explorables. Through his extensive tour guide training during our reopening year, Peter learned about legacy giving from other volunteers who also were Oppenheimer Circle members and decided to further his support with a bequest. 

Now that the museum is open, you may catch Peter engaging with visitors; in the Exhibit Development Shop providing support on our Global Collaborations exhibits before they make their way to Brazil, Kuwait, or Omaha; or assisting the Floor Team with installing exhibitions (such as our current winter exhibition, Glow, which is open through January 30, 2022). 

Peter’s varied interests and talents include playing the cello, tutoring math, singing in the Symphony Chorus in San Francisco, (baritone), or perfecting a home brew of New England Hazy IPA.

The Exploratorium is profoundly grateful to have Peter as part of the Exploratorium family and one of our generous supporters through legacy giving and annual donations.