more about the Mind collection

MIND showcases over 40 new exhibits about thinking and feeling joining the museum’s permanent collection, plus programs, temporary exhibitions, and special events. Working with expert advisors, the MIND team spent over four years researching the cognitive sciences to create provocative and compelling experiences that will illuminate the way your mind works.

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A New Exploratorium Collection

More than forty new exhibits—Over four years in the making


In Mind, you are the exhibit. Explore your own thoughts, feelings, and perceptions as you journey through this 5,000 square-foot addition to the museum’s permanent collection. Mind, made possible with the support of the National Science Foundation, features more than 40 new interactive exhibits that let you experiment with your own cognitive processes and emotional experiences—often in provocative and unexpected ways.


Inspired by influential research in the cognitive sciences, Mind offers windows into the subtle but powerful mechanisms at work inside each of our heads. At A Sip of Conflict, for example, you’ll drink from a water fountain fashioned from a very real but unused toilet. The tension between reason and emotion runs high in this experience at the heart of the exhibition. Are you shy or outgoing? Center of Attention lets you focus on your feelings as you stand before a lively (but simulated) audience. And Poker Face lets you try to detect your friend in a lie—or to get away with one yourself. Combining exhibits, demonstrations, specially commissioned artist installations, and public programs, the Mind collection invites you to stretch your own ideas of yourself.


Mind exhibits are designed to inspire insights into how you make decisions, the kinds of things you do (or don’t) pay attention to, and the changing landscapes and intriguing effects of your own emotions. At The Eyes Have It, you’ll infer the emotional states of others from their eyes alone, and see how good you are at reading emotions in faces. At Communicating Emotions with Your Body, you’ll attempt to communicate your feelings without using facial expressions, relying solely on body language. At Startle Response, you’ll see yourself as others occasionally see you, but as you’ve never seen yourself. And See Yourself Sweat reveals an intriguing link between your thoughts and your body.


Mind is not only about emotions, however. Fast Faces exposes why your ability to recognize a famous person is more fragile than you might think. At Daisy, a conversation with a computer raises questions as to whether its responses are evidence of consciousness. At Color Your Judgment, you’ll discover how expectations can cloud your ability to interpret new experiences. And Mind’s public activities and programs will allow visitors to test their theories of identity, explore the cognitive processes of nonhuman animals, and discuss current research with mind scientists.