Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hands-On and Minds-On at the Exploratorium

Presenter: Deb Hunt, The Exploratorium, San Francisco

The images and videos shown during the presentation are free and available to download for educational use.

Deb provided a history of the Exploratorium, which is located in the Palace of Fine Arts that was constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The building was designed to slowly crumble and return to the earth after the Exposition ended. Restoration projects have taken place, however, and the Exploratorium now is a model for other hands-on science museums. It is a museum of science, art, and human perception, not just science.

The Exploratorium's site is one of most visited museum websites in the world. There are over 18,000 pages and everything is free for educational use.

The Exploratorium sends out travelling exhibits to circle the world.

Tools for Teaching are at

Digital Library ( includes the Digital Assets Archive, which has 13,000 assets such as images, educational activities, Quicktime movies, streaming media, .pdfs, sound files, etc. An advanced search feature is provided. You can limit a search by resource type.

A resource to know about: The National Science Digital Library at includes thousands of teacher and learning resources. The Exploratorium contributes to that collection. You can search it by grade level. Links are provided to get to related documents. Many of the items in the collection have teaching tips included.
Microscope Imaging Station offers research-grade microscopes in a museum setting. A team is developing a virtual microscope and more classroom activities. They’re planning live demos and remote operation. High-resolution images and videos are provided.

“Snacks” are bite-sized versions of the Exploratorium’s full-scale exhibits. These have been compiled into books, but many are out of print. One book, Square Wheels, still is available.

The Snack Show is not on the website yet but they’re hopeful it will be soon. Three episodes have been produced.

The Exploratorium is doing webcasting ( or the much more memorable out on the museum floor and also in remote locations all around the world.

Also look at the Iron Science Teacher, which is modeled on the Iron Chef.

10 Cool Sites ( is similar to Librarians' Internet Index only it has a science focus. Anyone can recommend a cool site, and all sites have been vetted.

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View the PowerPoint presentation at

Contact Deb at

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