Members get first look at Exploratorium's new home


On Tuesday members of the Exploratorium and the media got their first look inside the new home of the hands-on science museum.

We got a tour, but soon broke away when we met an artist and exhibition designer Michael Brown. He was irrigating a blackberry bush growing on a 330-year-old tree stump in the east wing. Brown says he likes the new place.

"So much more space. A lot more opportunities to try things that on a larger scale," said Brown. "I would say we outgrew that [last location] about 10 years ago."

The new building on Pier 15 has three times the space as the old digs at the Palace of Fine Arts. New exhibits are now mixed with old favorite classics like the chaotic pendulum. Once it is started in motion, no one has been able to stop it in 30 years. We asked Exploratorium project director Claire Pillsbury about it.

Freedman: "Why won't it stop?"
Pillsbury: Because it has super bearings in there, frictionless bearings, so once you put any energy into it, it just keeps going and going and going."

The subtle attraction is science, or maybe we should say natural science. The goal is to open people's eyes and minds without intimidating them.

"We hope people will realize science is everywhere, that science is in our mind, it's in the world, it's in your own backyard," said Tom Rockwell, director of exhibits.

The Exploratorium had to make this move because the old location in the Palace of Fine Arts needed an earthquake retrofit. $300 million later, San Francisco has a new crown jewel on the waterfront and a world class attraction.

ABC7 News Exploratorium special:
This Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on ABC7 News, you can get a preview when we present the special: "More to Explore, The Making of the New Exploratorium." ABC7 News anchor Dan Ashley be hosting the half-hour special with an exclusive inside look at San Francisco's newest treasure.

Opening day for the Exploratorium is April 17, 2013.

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