|via Everything Science|
My love of the Exploratorium begins not with me but with my father, who got a job there in the very early years under Frank Oppenheimer, the founder and brother of Robert Oppenheimer of Manhattan Project fame. My dad was fresh out of college and wanted to be a scientist - but not, you know, a boring scientist with a white coat. He wanted to be a weird scientist. Maybe not a mad scientist (although he does do a pretty good malevolent laugh), but someone who got to work with the peculiar and the wonderful and the mystical aspects of science. I mean, this is a kid who at age ten or so was skipping school to hang out in a hidden lab somewhere on 2nd Street (I'm pretty sure it was 2nd Street, because I got a job working for some foofy internet company on 2nd Street one summer and my dad came to have lunch with me and pointed up the road at a nondescript building and said "Hey look! That's where my secret science lab was when I was a kid!") to play with his chemistry set and dream about Science. The Exploratorium, home to some of the best weird science in the country, was about as close as he ever came -- maybe as close as any of us will get to come to the playful, mutable borders between science and imagination. Some of the signs my father wrote are still there, over a quarter of a century later. (I hope those will make it in the move, but that much I'm prepared to doubt...)
|via the Tinkering Studio (check them out!)|
|grownups getting to play like kids again - via Sticky Crows|
Have you been to the Exploratorium? It's awesome, amirite? Do you have memories of life-changingly wonderful museums to share? A time when an exhibit or installation gave you a sense of glee, delight, or real wonder? A moment when something that school had made deadly boring for you suddenly became magical and amazing again? How 'bout a horror story of a time a museum totally failed to inspire you and confirmed all your beliefs about dusty heaps of junk?