Tom Rockwell | Content, Design and Pedagogy
This spring the Exploratorium, a world-renowned museum of science, art and human perception, relocated from its home of over 40 years to a new location at Pier 15 on the San Francisco waterfront. The move was the culmination of over 10 years of planning, design, development, and installation. Throughout the process, the Exploratorium used extensive prototyping and visitor evaluation to stay closely connected to the learners it serves and to make decisions informed by solid evidence. Now that the museum is open, several studies are underway to see how people move through the building and how different aspects of the space and exhibits impact their experience. Director of Exhibits, Tom Rockwell, will talk about what has been learned from the Exploratorium’s relocation, as well as some questions that are still open. Topics will range from general patterns of visitor movement and experience, to specific affordances that support learners becoming drivers of their own interactive inquiry at exhibits. Key Exploratorium design principles such as a focus on authentic phenomena (rather than representations), a do-it-yourself aesthetic, and a deep respect for the visitor’s own lines of inquiry will also be presented.