Exploratorium: Home

Fact Sheet for Fiscal Year 2015

Fact Sheet for Fiscal Year 2015


The Exploratorium is an internationally renowned museum of science, art, and human perception with a 45-year history in San Francisco. Its mission is to create a culture of learning through innovative environments, programs, and tools that help people nurture their curiosity about the world around them.




After 44 years at the Palace of Fine Arts the Exploratorium made a historic move, opening its new home in April 2013 at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's vibrant waterfront district. The museum’s new 330,000 sq. ft. facility provides three times more space than the original Palace of Fine Arts location, creating new opportunities to support the Exploratorium’s culture of curiosity, experimentation, and collaboration. In its first year at Pier 15 the museum served 1.1 million visitors from across the globe, twice the attendance at its previous location.

  • More than 600 exhibits created by staff scientists, artists and designers—new exhibits always in development
  • 6 main exhibit galleries with exhibits in free, public space; 200-seat theater; life sciences laboratory; wired classrooms and labs; machine, wood, and electronics shops, a restaurant and a café
  • Received LEED® Platinum certification in 2014, another key step toward the goal of being the first net-zero energy museum in the U.S., if not the world
  • More than 200 High School Explainers help guests discover scientific phenomena



Exploratorium as a World Leader

The Exploratorium is among the most well-known and effective nonprofits, unparalleled as a world leader for innovation in education during its 45-year history. The Exploratorium encourages imitation, promotes process over product and considers questions as important as answers.

  • 8 0 percent of the world’s science centers use Exploratorium-designed exhibits, programs or ideas
  • 200 million people engage with Exploratorium exhibits and experiences every year at science centers and other locations worldwide
  • Ranks fifth-highest equity brand among museums worldwide, after the Louvre, Getty, Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • 11 million visits to www.exploratorium.edu annually to view the 50,000 pages of original content
  • 60,000 Facebook fans, 53,500 Twitter followers, and136,000 on Tumblr
  • Exploratorium Global Studios works on master planning, program development and exhibit fabrication projects across the globe—from Arkansas to Abu Dhabi
  • 75 live webcasts, videos and other media produced each year by the Exploratorium Moving Images team



Education and Research

The Exploratorium’s learning group creates inquiry-based learning opportunities for students of all ages, provides effective teacher professional development, and disseminates learning and teaching strategies.

  • More than 500 educators participate in on-site Exploratorium Teacher Institute programs every year
  • The Institute for Inquiry, which has served 6,600 educators since 1995, instructs K-5 science teachers in Sonoma, California, to provide discussion-rich lessons that help English learners improve science and English skills simultaneously
  • In their initial run, two Exploratorium Coursera courses (Tinkering Fundamentals and Re-Engineering Your Science Curriculum) reached over 10,000 participants from around the globe
  • A recent partnership with Khan Academy introduced Exploratorium Teacher Institute content to more than 100,000 users, resulting in a 200% increase in video views
  • 2,000 children and families engage in free science experiences through Community Educational Engagement
  • After School Tinkering and XTech teach more than 250 students 21st century skills
  • Nationally recognized research and evaluation group with 7 staff members, including 3 Ph.Ds.
  • Wired pier monitors on Pier 15, the roof, and under water capture weather patterns, bay currents, and air quality data for researchers at UC Berkeley, Romberg-Tiburon Center, and NOAA



Budget and Staff

  • 2014-15 operating budget $50,000,000.
  • 401 full time equivalent employees with a commitment to diversity; 24 Ph.Ds.