Exploratorium

Questions raised by staff cutbacks at the Exploratorium

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A round of recent layoffs at the Exploratorium in San Francisco has taken museum staff by surprise and sparked questions about the institution’s focus going forward, an unexpected turn of events on the heels of the institution’s splashy reopening at its refurbished 330,000 square foot facility along The Embarcadero.Read more »

The new Exploratorium opens -- are the piers as good as the Palace?

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As someone who was practically bottle-fed on the old Exploratorium space, I was hesitant approaching the science museum's opening day at its new home on Pier 15 and 17. Like many other SF natives, I was attached to the old world charm and neo-classical elegance of the Palace of Fine Arts location, opened in 1969 by physics professor Frank Oppenheimer.

But consider me a convert. Where the Palace of Fine Arts' physical layout seemed to dictate the content of the old museum, the new building, extensively rehabbed to house the famously hands-on exhibits, allows them to exist more organically. The new site now houses the largest pod of solar panels in the city, holds a magnificently vista-ed observatory, and harnesses as a heating source the Bay waters it sits above on 1800 wood and concrete pilings built around a century ago.

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Exploratorium Explainers educate while the city waits for new Pier 15 location

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The Exploratorium is in the middle of an epic move to its new home at Pier 15 -- its new location is set to open April 17th at 330,000 square feet, five times the size of its former digs at the Palace of Fine Arts. But while staff is busy nesting the Explainersthe museum's science-savvy youth docents, have been hard at work. The volunteers have been hosting pop-up exhibits around the city. Needing a science fix, I stopped by their event last week at the Tenderloin National Forest.

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War of the waterfront

Too many projects and too little planning on San Francisco's most valuable strip of land

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tredmond@sfbg.com

There's a blocky, unattractive building near the corner of Howard and Steuart streets, right off the Embarcadero, that's used for the unappealing activity of parking cars. Nobody's paid much attention to it for years, although weekend shoppers at the Ferry Building Farmers Market appreciate the fact that they can park their cars for just $6 on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

But now a developer has big plans for the 75 Howard Street site — and it's about to become a critical front in a huge battle over the future of San Francisco's waterfront.Read more »