- About Us
- Join + Support
Free for After Dark Members
Adults Only (18+)
Note: Some programs have limited seating and will be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.
Lose yourself in over 650 interactive exhibits exploring perception, art, and science at our adults-only After Dark. Grab your friends and a drink and get immersed in mind-bending experiences and unique, thought-provoking programs.
“Can we plan for the unintended consequences of our actions?”
World Economic Forum, Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2016
What happens when ideas evolve into tools we use to navigate the world? Whether fixed into ideologies or found roaming the outskirts of social order, ideas rarely seem to end where they begin. Follow the trajectories of these explosive ideas, and explore their actual and potential consequences.
7:00 p.m. DJ Set with The Acid’s Adam Freeland and Steve Nalepa
8:00 p.m. Film Screening
9:00 p.m. Conversation with Directors Kevin Ford and Eric Schlosser
Bernard and Barbro Osher West Gallery, Kanbar Forum
Explore the strange, compelling, and unsettling reality of nuclear weapons in the bomb, an experimental, music-driven film that fuses archival footage with animation and a memorable score by the electronica/rock band The Acid.
Tonight’s San Francisco premiere of the bomb is preceded by a live DJ performance by The Acid’s Adam Freeland and Steve Nalepa, and followed by a conversation with the film’s Directors Kevin Ford and Eric Schlosser, together with Emma Belcher, Director of the Nuclear Challenges Program at the MacArthur Foundation, and Laicie Heeley, Fellow with the Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program.
Called "stunning, avant-garde . . . unique, dazzling" by Entertainment Weekly, the bomb emerged from a collaboration between director and editor Kevin Ford, artist and filmmaker Smriti Keshari, author and fillmmaker Eric Scholsser, graphic artist Stanley Donwood, animators The Kingdom of Ludd, and installation designers United Visual Artists.
Incarceration in America
With Craig Haney
7:00 p.m. | Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio
Approximately 100,000 prisoners are currently housed in some form of isolation, in what is commonly referred to as “solitary confinement.” After having been largely abandoned by the end of the 19th century (because of its psychologically harmful effects), this draconian punishment returned with a vengeance over the last 40 years in American corrections, including in California. Why? What do these conditions of confinement look like? What are the psychological effects of placing prisoners in environments like these? Hear Professor Haney address these issues, based on his decades of research on the topic.
The Story of Text
With Paul Dancstep
7:30 p.m. | Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery
Humans have invented many systems for communicating with text, from traditional alphabets to specialized systems like Braille and Morse Code. In this talk, Exploratorium exhibit developer Paul Dancstep explores the history of writing systems and shows how related technological inventions, from the printing press to the telegraph to Twitter, have had dramatic and often unexpected effects on society and human social life.
With Tessa D’Arcangelew, ACLU
8:00 p.m. | Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio
The digital age has undeniably done one thing for society: it’s made surveillance easy. Proponents for the use of surveillance technology often raise safety as the reason we should decrypt, turn off our passcodes, and turn over our data. But when it comes to the use of surveillance on city streets, whose safety are we really talking about? And what does surveillance mean for the basic principles of our democracy? Across the country, grassroots movements are working to stop secret surveillance in its tracks and bring us out of the digital dark ages.
Editing DNA: The Power, Promise, and Limitations of CRISPR-Cas Technology
With Jonathan Kotula
8:30 p.m. | Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery
The genome editing technology known as CRISPR-Cas has emerged as a powerful tool with the power to transform what we know about biology. Used to change DNA inside cells and living organisms, CRISPR-Cas has applications in therapeutics, agricultural biotechnology, biological research, and industrial biotech. Join Jonathan Kotula, Senior Scientist at Caribou Biosciences, to examine its potential risks and benefits for human health and society as a whole.
Harm Reduction in San Francisco
With Adam Butler and Terry Morris, San Francisco AIDS Foundation
6:30–9:30 p.m. | East Gallery
Discover San Francisco's pioneering role in preventing HIV, Hepatitis C, and overdose deaths among people who inject drugs. Meet with staff from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation to discuss substance use and misuse in our communities, and learn about innovative programming that responds to the intersecting harms of untreated mental health concerns, substance use, homelessness, and stigma that impact all San Franciscans.
Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You
By Osmotic Studios
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Bernard and Barbro Osher West Gallery
In this computer game, Big Brother has arrived—and it’s you. Investigate the lives of citizens to find those responsible for a series of terror attacks. Information from the internet, personal communications, and private files are all accessible to you. But, be warned, the information you supply will have consequences.
Superstition Obstacle Course
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Bernard and Barbro Osher West Gallery
Tempt fate by challenging these superstitions from around the world. Risk seven years bad luck by smashing a mirror, flirt with a penny’s worth of fortune, see if you feel the urge to knock on wood, walk under a ladder, spill some salt, more. Although fears and beliefs about these acts have little or no rational basis, they influence the thoughts and actions of many. Experience how your own superstitions, your own emotions, and your own judgment come into play.
Hush Hush Bar
With Dina Herring and Lowell Robinson
7:00–9:00 p.m. | Bernard and Barbro Osher West Gallery
Take a look at your photos, texts, or social media posts: what makes a photo, text, or post dangerous and why do you keep it? Trade a photo, text, or tweet for a drink at the Hush Hush Bar. Give us your story as to what makes this information potentially dangerous, and enjoy a free beer while we share your secret on the screen above. While supplies last.
By MIT Media Lab
6:00–10:00 p.m. | South Gallery
Moral Machine is a platform for gathering human perspectives on moral decisions made by machine intelligence, such as self-driving cars. Moral dilemmas are presented where a driverless car must choose the lesser of two evils, such as killing two passengers or five pedestrians. As an outside observer, you judge which outcome you think is more acceptable. You can then see how your responses compare with those of other people.
Airing Your Dirty Laundry
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Bechtel Central Gallery
Many of us seem increasingly resigned to giving up fundamental aspects of our privacy to access a variety of web products and services with little thought to the consequences. So why not share your deepest secrets in a public forum?
Luckily for you, we’ve provided invisible ink pens to create a sense of anonymity. Write your confession on a Post-it with invisible ink, and then hang your note on the line with clothespins. Pick up a black light to read your secret, or those belonging to someone else.
6:15, 7:15, 8:15, and 9:15 p.m.
Included with museum admission, but a reservation is required.
Note: Capacity for each screening is extremely limited. You can purchase your ticket and reserve a seat for Collisions by selecting your preferred date and time here.
Collisions, directed by artist and filmmaker Lynette Wallworth, is a poetic virtual reality (VR) journey to the homeland of indigenous elder Nyarri Morgan and the Martu tribe in the remote Western Australian Pilbara desert. The Martu lived largely untouched by Western culture until the 1960s. Nyarri's first contact with Western culture came in the 1950s via a dramatic collision between his traditional world view and the cutting edge of Western science and technology when he witnessed firsthand, and with no context, an atomic test. Nyarri offers a view to what he saw and, reflecting on this extraordinary event, shares his perspective on the Martu way of caring for the planet. Through the use of immersive VR technology in combination with Wallworth’s world‐class storytelling, Collisions invites participants to experience an alternative understanding of long‐term decision-making through the perspective of one of the world’s oldest cultures. Rooted in tradition and historical context, the story shared in Collisions is one of deep urgency as we struggle to develop a meaningful response to the human‐induced climate change of our shared planet.
Collisions was produced by four-time Emmy nominee Nicole Newnham, a Bay Area–based producer and documentarian.
Lynette Wallworth is an acclaimed Australian artist and director whose immersive installations and films reflect connections between people and the natural world, and explore fragile human states of grace. Her work uses immersive environments, interactive technologies, and narrative long-form film to engage viewers. She often pursues stories with emerging technologies. Previous work includes the interactive installation Evolution of Fearlessness, a moving portrait of 11 women who lived beyond the state of fear, and the fulldome feature Coral: Rekindling Venus, which has an accompanying augmented reality poster collection. Her work has shown at the World Economic Forum; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; the American Museum of Natural History, New York; the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art; the Smithsonian; and many film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, London Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, and Sydney Film Festival. Foreign Policy magazine named Wallworth one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers of the year.”
Read Wallworth’s Artist Statement for Collisions here.
Photo © Piers Mussared.
Bernard and Barbro Osher West Gallery
Take an excursion through total darkness in our Tactile Dome. Crawl, slide, and bump your way through the pitch-dark Dome using your sense of touch as your only guide through its chambers and mazes.
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
Bernard and Barbro Osher West Gallery
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 Central Gallery
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.
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.
Bernard and Barbro Osher West Gallery
Everything is not as it seems—at first. Pick a card, any card, and watch the Explainers reveal some surprising aspects of human perception.