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Praise for the Exploratorium

Praise for the Exploratorium

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

Saul Perlmutter, Astrophysicist, Nobel Prize for Physics

“The future happens in California first, and it is the curiosity and creativity of our people that make it possible. It is up to us to keep spaces for collaboration and discovery like the Exploratorium open to all, so that every young Californian has an opportunity to be inspired.”

—California Governor Gavin Newsom

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

Barbro and Barnard Osher, civic leaders and philanthropists

“I love things like the Exploratorium, the way it plays with that boundary between science and art.”

Frances Hellman, physics professor and Dean of the Division of Mathematical & Physical Sciences at UC Berkeley


Praise from the Community

“The Exploratorium first fostered my interest in science over thirty years ago. Its power to educate and influence successive generations of inquisitive visitors of all ages and backgrounds has only improved with time.”

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


“Supporting people’s asking and answering questions is important. I think that’s one of the things that the Explainers get out of it—this process of asking questions and learning how to be a better teacher than, ‘Oh, we learned this by heart.’ It gives them a chance to explore and to figure things out for themselves, things that they might not have tried to figure out otherwise.”

Peggy Hellweg, seismologist and the very first Explainer

“Frank Oppenheimer was encouraging to me. One time I had a long conversation with him and he kept turning the conversation to what I was going to do with my life. I said, “I’ve thought about taking what I am doing and going out in the world with it.” He said, “That’s the whole point.” He said it was never about the Exploratorium; it was about awareness, that the world needs this and it needs it in a bunch of different contexts.”  

Ned Kahn, artist and MacArthur “Genius”
“I love the Exploratorium’s take on science because it’s not just, you know, ‘Materials Science—Wood.’ It’s taking it down to a more basic level of physics and molecular relationships—which the whole world is. Science is not a very narrow discipline. It encompasses engineering technology, materials science—I mean, literally everything is science! You just keep taking it down to a more elementary level, and suddenly you understand the whole world.”
Mary Roach, Science Writer

“I’ve been going to the Exploratorium for many years. In the early days of the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia and I often visited the old Exploratorium at the Palace of Fine Arts, and we loved the mysteries it presented and explained. Even in its earliest days, the Exploratorium’ interactive exhibits allowed us a window into understanding gravity, sound, electricity—all those invisible  things that fascinate. The Exploratorium was full of big ideas and big questions. And, now in its 50th year, this is more true than ever.”

Micky Hart, Musicologist, Percussionist, Member of the Grateful Dead

“The Exploratorium has wonderful opportunities to take its knowledge and experience of how to make science come alive for people, and to do this globally for young people. Lifelong learning is going to continue to be extremely important because we’re being subjected to so much change in every area of our lives. Hands-on learning and experiential learning are understood as much more important than they used to be. It’s not just in the world of science centers; it’s in the greater educational world.”

Roberta Katz, Research Scholar, Anthropologist, Lawyer, Chair of Exploratorium Board


“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 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


“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


“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


Praise from Educators

“The content, lessons, and other professional educators that I have met this week have altered my pedagogy forever.”

Secondary Science Leader, Los Angeles, California


“For small, remote rural communities the Exploratorium Statewide initiative is a god-send. It is providing access to incredible professional learning and resources to communities that otherwise had little to none.”

K-5 Professional Learning Provider, Kings County, California


“I have participated in MANY professional learning workshops over the years and none has been as amazing and relevant as what I learned at the Exploratorium. I love that we are always welcome to ask questions and stay connected, months and years after our workshop. The ongoing support is unheard of elsewhere.”

K-8 County Office Leader, Tehama, California


“As a long term educator, I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate the whole of your program, not just for students but for the community as whole. You are a testament to the beauty and promulgation of science.”

K-12 Teacher


Praise in Media

“Inside, it [Exploratorium] feels by turns like a physics lab, a magicians' convention, and-given the bayside setting-the world's grooviest cruise ship.”

Peter Fish, via magazine, 2019

“(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 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


“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

“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