Exploratorium Visit

September 18th, 2006

Here are some photos I took when I visited the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The exhibit that stood out for me was called ‘Traits of Life’.

[T]he exhibits in the Traits of Life collection focus on four defining features: all life is made of cells and DNA; life makes more of its own kind; life evolves over time; and life uses energy.

While the Exploratorium tends to skew toward individual exhibits, with only loose connections between individual installations, this exhibit stood out in that it had a consistent message and various innovative methods of integrating living organisms into the exhibits themselves. Visitors can find out for themselves how different bacteria had thrived or not under different lighting conditions, control the oxygen-CO2 balance in jars of living materials to see firsthand how exchanges in life-giving gases create systems of exchange between plants and animals, and view live chicken embryos as they develop. Just as the classic perception-bending experiences at the Exploratorium allow you to experiment with your own senses and discover new things about yourself, Traits of Life allows you to discover and demonstrate and view for yourself basic natural systems of life.

All of the exhibits integrated some kind of living organism with well-written, accessible yet thought-provoking descriptions and a use of kiosks, touchscreens and other interactive tech that complemented rather than supplanted the real content, which was the living organisms.

Traits of Life Exploratorium Site

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