New Exploratorium “Emerges” Today

3 stills from Obscura piece

After Sabrina’s sneak peek at the new Exploratorium Monday and enjoying listening to Dennis Bartels, Rob Semper, and Susan Schwartzenberg on KQED’s Forum Tuesday morning, I wanted to share some videos that have documented how the Exploratorium moved from its original location at the Palace of Fine Arts to its new home at Pier 15, a momentous occasion they are celebrating with a full day of special events both inside and outside the museum today from 10am to 10pm, Wednesday, with the special evening events continuing tomorrow Thursday after 8:30pm.

Free outdoor daytime events until dark include the elaborate rangoli by Purvi Shah and volunteers from the India Community Center along a south end of the museum and outdoor demos and activities with the Explainers in The Plaza. Donald Lacy of KPOO, the oldest continually operating Black-owned radio station west of the Mississippi, will broadcast live.

Photo by Amy Snyder. © Exploratorium
Photo by Amy Snyder.
© Exploratorium

Around 8:30pm and 9:30pm both nights, artist Miwa Matreyek will perform This World Made It Self, a luminous play between shadow and animation. A giant heat camera exhibit is projected on the wall of the café. And of course, you can also get tickets to be among the first of thousands to enjoy hundreds of exhibits and activities both familiar and new inside the museum.

Making of a BellWednesday morning opens with the assembly, unveiling, and ringing of the museum’s new bell. The Exploratorium’s own Moving Images crew, headed by Nicole Minor, kicks off their new season of “Science in the City,” with The Making of a Bell, an in-depth story about how Artist Nick Diphillipo skillfully cast the new bell at The Crucible in Oakland, California, where he teaches the foundry arts he’s mastered in over three decades of practice. The designers of the bell explain that the seven pieces and a locking piece of the bell’s crown represent the museum’s new spaces and seven things that bring the museum where it is: memory, visionaries, catalysts, builders, makers, champions, supporters, and the users.

Obscura Digital built this piece by conducting ten small experiments in “fluid dynamics, microorganisms, particle interactions, living systems, crystallization, and growth.” I hear it’s a “spellbinding, visual odyssey” in “multiple time scales.” Obscura built a laboratory in their studios for this piece. After creating ten scale models of the museum’s façade, ranging in size from a microscope slide to a plumbed tank about 3 inches deep and 4 ft wide, they filmed everything from marine microbes to  immiscible fluids to fast plants. The page Creating Emergence provides more delicious details behind this elaborate artwork.

hunkin-clockPerhaps the piece I am most excited to see live in the new museum is the clock by delightfully whimsical and brilliant automata artist Tim Hunkin, located in front of the new Tinkering Studio (MAKE’s home away from home at the museum). I snuck a peek of Tim in the midst of the clock installation about a month ago, but this video by Luigi Anzivino captures a time-lapse of its creation beautifully.

For those, like me, who love to see the growing pains of moving into a new home, to experience the transition as the museum staff has, and to laugh along with the crazy things you learn and notice about real world physics through happy accidents, Lianna’s Moment of Zen: Unexpected Outcomes of Exhibit Placement won’t disappoint.

Local television station ABC7 has been documenting the move for the past few months. You can relive these 100 days the pupa of the museum spent in its cocoon with these clips.

NBC gave the new space a spin too: Exploratorium Lifts Curtain For Museum Sneak Peek

A lot of people have been sharing their first snapshots of the new museum. We especially enjoyed the photo gallery shared by Lenore of Evil Mad Science and some pictures before any crowds visited, from Sally Kuchar.

I can’t wait to go with my family and snap my own shots.

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Michelle, or Binka, makes . While at Maker Media, she oversaw publications, outreach, and programming for kids, families, and schools. Before joining Maker Media in 2007, she worked at the Exploratorium, in Mitchel Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, and as a curriculum designer for various publishers and educational researchers. When she’s not supporting future makers, including her two young sons, Binka does some making of her own, most often as a visual artist.

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