The Windows, A Project with Harrell Fletcher

The Windows was a four-day walk from the Exploratorium to the summit of Mount Diablo in the summer of 2013. It was organized by Artist-in-Residence Harrell Fletcher in collaboration with the museum's Center for Art & Inquiry.

In its wake, we held a Reflections event, made a short documentary, and are producing a book.


Where does the museum end and the outside world begin?

On July 18–21, Exploratorium Artist-in-Residence Harrell Fletcher joined a core walking group of Exploratorium staff artists and scientists—plus the public—for The Best Things in Museums Are the Windows, a four-day trek from the Exploratorium’s Pier 15 home across the Bay to the summit of Mount Diablo. The adventurous project created a dynamic framework for discovery as it moved across water, city, suburb, and country, building on the multidimensional perspectives of the participants.

The public connected with the core group at more than a dozen points along the path, which were seeded with free public demonstrations, screenings, talks, and other investigations designed by Exploratorium staff and community partners. Each day featured several official stops while countless unofficial observations colored the trek with surprise and spontaneity.

The Windows reflects Fletcher's interest in artful investigation, community collaboration, experiential learning, and decentralized authorship. By extending the museum’s curiosity-based learning into the surrounding landscape, the trek aimed to transform the everyday world around us into an open classroom while working toward a greater integration of a cultural institution within its surrounding community.

The Best Things in Museums Are the Windows is a project of the Exploratorium's Center for Art and Inquiry, an R&D center for the arts within the larger learning laboratory of the Exploratorium.