Abstract- A History of Art in a Science Museum

When the Exploratorium opened in 1969, its founder Frank Oppenheimer challenged the worlds of formal and informal education with a new kind of public learning center. Knowing the power of personal discovery - individual curiosity and creativity became the fuel that drove the development of this radical new museum. Acknowledging that observation and questioning were not bound by discipline, he set the stage for an environment where artists, scientists and creative thinkers from many fields to work together in creating a place the celebrates the most human activity, the processes of making meaning from experience. This presentation will trace the development of the Exploratorium as a museum of science, art and human perception, and in particular, its relationship with the arts and the impact this has had on the field of informal learning. It will explore the impact its programs have had on artists working in the areas of science and technology and it will also speculate on the role of art in multi-disciplinary learning centers in the future.