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San Francisco’s Exploratorium Is Turning 50

SAN FRANCISCO — The Exploratorium has been called both “the most important science museum to have opened since the mid-20th century” and one of the “ten coolest museums in the world” by The New York Times.

Now in its 50th year, the Exploratorium is celebrating its impact over five decades and looking ahead to its work beyond the museum walls. Having already transformed the notion of a science museum with its approach to inquiry-based experiences, today 80 percent of the world’s science centers use Exploratorium-designed exhibits, programs or ideas, touching the lives of over 200 million people around the world every year.

In this anniversary year, the non-profit is focused on expanding its reach through STEAM teacher professional development and global collaborations in support of its mission. The Exploratorium recently released a 50th Anniversary Press Kit, highlighting the institution’s emphasis on inspiring visitors at its museum on Pier 15 in San Francisco, empowering educators in the state of California and beyond, and fueling the global movement of experiential STEAM learning and science awareness via national and international partnerships.

“Our mission feels more relevant than ever,” said Chris Flink, the Exploratorium’s Sakurako and William Fisher Executive Director. “As we move into the next half-century, our museum will continue to be a place where hundreds of thousands of visitors explore the world around them each year. We’re also increasing our attention on empowering educators inside and outside of the classroom, and on collaborating with partners across the world to create extraordinary learning experiences that ignite curiosity, upend perceptions, and inspire brave leaps forward.”

The Exploratorium will also be opening two groundbreaking museum exhibitions as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. The first of these exhibitions, launching in May, is a family-friendly show that weaves together elements of fashion, genetics, comic books, slang, and games. Self, Made creates experiences that allow visitors to connect with broader social questions of identify formation, freedom, bias, agency, and authenticity. Opening in Fall 2019, the experiences in Cells to Self will explore how cells move, divide, interact, and respond to their surroundings, as well as how cells work in concert to create the individual organism — the self.

A third public exhibition exemplifies the Exploratorium’s work beyond its museum walls, and its legacy of pushing the boundaries of the notion and subject matter of a science museum. Opening in July in San Francisco’s Civic Center, visitors will engage with hands-on, shared experiences grounded in social psychology that explore how we interact with and perceive our fellow human beings.

More information about the 50th Anniversary exhibitions, as well as other celebratory activities and further information about the anniversary, is available on the Exploratorium’s 50th Anniversary Press Kit, and on the Exploratorium’s 50th Anniversary page at The Exploratorium Pier 15 is on the Embarcadero at Green Street.