Monday, April 30, 2007

Exploring at the Museum

How far can the human eye see? Why do magnets attract? What is the speed of light? These are just some of the many questions the Exploratorium answers in their exhibits. Located in the Marina District overlooking the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, the museum of science, art and human perception provides visitors with experimental, hands on learning experiences. The museum welcomes people of all ages, but is mostly popular with children and their families.

It was established in 1969 by Dr. Frank Oppenheimer, a noted physicist and educator. According to the Exploratorium website, Oppenheimer felt there was a need for science museums in the United States. From its opening to his death in 1985, Oppenheimer devoted his life to the museum, acting as the director. The museum's brochure states that "more than half a million visitors, including 128,800 children and teachers on school field trips, come to the Exploratorium each year." Over 650 exhibits are contained in three collections: Traits of Life, Seeing, and Listening. A fourth collection, Mind, is currently in development.

The not-for-profit museum receives support through donations, sponsorships, partnerships, and fees for services. As well as the participation of 10, 100 members and 250 volunteers. It currently operates on a $29 million annually.

Although it has a lot of interesting interactive exhibits, the museum fell short of my expectations. Granted I was basing it on my experience there when I was in elementary school, at a time when I didn't know a lot about science. The most entertaining and the highlight of the museum was a live cow's eye dissection by two orange-vested student staff. It was the most repulsive and coolest thing to see.

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