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During the summer of 2002, after more than three years of research and experimentation, the Exploratorium’s revitalized collection of exhibits on visual perception officially opens to the public. SEEING showcases classic Exploratorium exhibits as well as new visual experiences created especially for this project.

Seeing is a massive topic, spanning the kaleidoscopic range of what we know about vision—from the physical (the behavior of light) to the social and philosophical (the subjectivity of visual interpretation). The collection’s exhibits are loosely gathered into groups reflecting the phenomena they illustrate:

seeing motion
seeing depth
Click on any of the colored areas for more on that part of the SEEING collection.

The new and updated exhibits in the SEEING collection reflect the spectacular gains in our understanding of the visual system that have occurred in the years since the Museum’s first vision exhibits. But just as the Exploratorium is more than a science museum, SEEING includes exhibits that do more than present the latest in vision science. Seeing makes it possible for us to experience the enormous range of the visual arts, from painting, photography, and sculpture to the latest in electronic multimedia. That’s why the SEEING team has also been working with staff and visiting artists, local arts organizations, and visual artists from around the world to include exhibits that illuminate the beauty, mystery, and wonder of seeing as well as the science behind it.

SEEING represents a major modernization of one of the Exploratorium’s oldest and best-known groups of exhibits and illustrates the fundamental power of visual images across times and cultures. The collection’s exhibits are informed by the work of dedicated researchers to suggest how vision works, but the visual experiences they provide also demonstrate why humans have been fascinated with sight for centuries.

SEEING is made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, AT&T: New Experiments in Art and Technology, and The LEF Foundation.
National Science Foundation
National Endowement for the Arts
LEF Foundation AT&T

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