Fort Mason deinstalled July 2015
In 2009, the Exploratorium unveiled its first collection of outdoor exhibits at Fort Mason, a historic military site run by the National Park Service, on San Francisco’s northern waterfront. A highly constructed setting on the edge of a great natural estuary, a place where land and water meet, Fort Mason draws people of many different cultures and interests. The distinct interpretive cultures of the Exploratorium and the National Park Service combined on this project. Merging the interactive approach of a science museum with a parks-based natural history focus, we were able to highlight the intriguing contradictions of the site in a way neither group could have done on its own.
Twenty interactive exhibits were designed to help visitors notice and investigate subtle phenomena and forces at play in this outdoor environment. The exhibits call attention to the complex movement of wind and waves; the interplay of light, shadow, and temperature; and the interaction between natural and built environments. They make use of everyday structures as observational instruments and give a voice to the landscape.