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Adults Only (18+)
Note: The Tactile Dome and some programs have limited capacity. Entry to the Tactile Dome requires separate admission.
As Curious Contraptions, our winter exhibition, comes to a close, get on board with its fetching and whimsical take on transportation. From bewitching bicycles to astounding aviation to crazy cars, take a look at the art, science, and storytelling behind bewildering and transcendent modes of transport.
Lose yourself in thought-provoking programs and mind-bending experiences at adults-only After Dark Thursdays—including more than 650 interactive exhibits exploring perception, art, and science. Grab some friends, stash your stuff in our musical lockers, get a drink at one of our pop-up bars or food at Seaglass Restaurant, and start exploring. You may find that things look different after dark.
Flights of the Hummingbirds
With Ashley Smiley
7:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
Named for the audible sound created by their wings, hummingbirds boast many unique traits. As a researcher with the Animal Flight Lab at UC Berkeley, Ashley Smiley studies these high-frequency fliers, conducting field research that aims to gain a deeper understanding of why hummingbirds’ flight performance has evolved the way it has. Join Ashley to learn some of the fascinating fundamentals about these birds and the unique studies her lab has conducted, right in Berkeley, to track how they navigate varied apertures.
With Jeremy Rourke
8:00 and 9:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
Tag along with Dōmo Dōmo, an autobiographical, animated and musical story about a three-week bicycle tour through northern Japan in the summer of 2019. The expanded cinema performance of this narrative includes animation, video, and field recordings in conjunction with a live score of acoustic folk songs. Join Jeremy Rourke on Japan’s back roads as he pedals and pedals and pedals some more. A journey of culture shock and sometimes harrowing inclement weather alongside glorious moments of synchronicity and beauty.
Robots Overhead!: Microrobotic Swarms
With Daniel Drew
8:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
How may teeny-tiny insect-scale microrobots become an essential force in collecting information and taking action during times of need? As our world is increasingly shaped by data-driven decisions that influence major aspects of human life—health, industry, environment—microrobots are emerging as a vital tool for stitching data together. These robots may look like nothing found in the natural world; Daniel Drew has recently developed the ionocraft, an ion-thruster-propelled flying microrobot with no moving parts. Hear from Drew about his work developing microrobotics and learn more about the breadth of their potential uses.
With Cinema Arts
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Microcinema and Gallery 1 Screen
From weird wheels to freaky flyers, stupefying steps to visionary vehicles, this cycle of short films takes a close up look at locomotion. Drawing from archival marvels, scientific studies, artist-made films, and promotional videos, this program takes a wide-ranging tour of the many possible locomotive landscapes.
Mechanics of Flight
With the High School Explainers
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1
What are the physics of flight? Join our High School Explainers for a selection of hands-on demos that showcase the awesomeness of aviation.
Cells On The Move
With Anne Pipathsouk
7:00–9:00 p.m. | Gallery 4, Bio Bar
The cells that make up every living thing are capable of moving around—but without feet, or muscles, or a sense of direction to guide them, how do they get from A to B? Join UCSF doctoral researcher Anne Pipathsouk to find out how cells migrate and watch live white blood cells move under the microscope.
7:00–10:00 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3
Paper planes come in all shapes and sizes and range from simple to complex designs. Experiment to find which designs fly the furthest and perform the best tricks.
Osher Gallery 1
$10; not included with museum admission
Buy Tactile Dome Tickets
You can also purchase tickets for these sessions on-site at the Information Desk as well as for later sessions at 7:45, 8:30, and 9:15 p.m.
Journey through total darkness in this twisting, turning, tactile sculpture. Walk, crawl, climb, and slide your way through a wonderland of textures using only your sense of touch as a guide.
Please Note: Due to the nature of this experience, certain restrictions apply. Guests who are afraid of the dark; claustrophobic; have back, neck, or knee injuries; or are in their third trimester of pregnancy should not participate. Guests wearing casts are prohibited. Also, please wear comfortable clothes.
Learn more about the Tactile Dome.
6:00–9:45 unless noted
Various locations throughout the museum
Ticketing at 6:00 p.m., first come, first served
Osher Gallery 1
Draw hypnotically flowing patterns with a swinging table, and watch friction cause the patterns to slowly shrink along a spiral path. Pick up a ticket to reserve your spot in line for this popular activity.
Bechtel Gallery 3
Tune in to surrounding sounds by experimenting with strings and vibrations, and use electromagnets to build a basic speaker. Learn how to listen with your bones, and explore the workings of the inner ear.
Van de Graaff Generator
With the Explainers
Bechtel Gallery 3
Get ready to have your hair stand on end (literally). Experience our electrostatic generator firsthand—with high-voltage direct-current electricity turned down to low current levels, our Van de Graaff generator both will, and won’t, shock you. Please keep your hands on the sphere until our Explainers tell you to let go!
Cow Eye or Flower Dissection (alternating)
Do cows see color? How does a lens work? Examine the intricate structure of a cow eye to learn about similar structures in our own eyes, as well as some key differences.
Stigma, stamen, pistil, anther, style: Uncover the beautiful architecture of flower anatomy, and gather some surprising strategies that plants use to reproduce.
Osher Gallery 1
Everything is not as it seems—at first. Pick a card, any card, and watch the Explainers reveal some surprising aspects of human perception.