Traits of Life: Exploratory Exhibits in Life Sciences

Description:

A major Life Sciences exhibit collection at the Exploratorium that focuses on the fundamental characteristics or traits of all life.

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<p>Opening in 2002 after years of research and prototyping, this major collection of interactive exhibits focuses on the life sciences. It is the first exhibit collection at the Exploratorium to be intentionally and entirely organized around biology themes. (photo &copy; Exploratorium)</p>

Opening in 2002 after years of research and prototyping, this major collection of interactive exhibits focuses on the life sciences. It is the first exhibit collection at the Exploratorium to be intentionally and entirely organized around biology themes. (photo © Exploratorium)

<p>Opening in 2002 after years of research and prototyping, this major collection of interactive exhibits focuses on the life sciences. It is the first exhibit collection at the Exploratorium to be intentionally and entirely organized around biology themes. (photo &copy; Exploratorium)</p> thumbnail
<p>Opening in 2002 after years of research and prototyping, this major collection of interactive exhibits focuses on the life sciences. It is the first exhibit collection at the Exploratorium to be intentionally and entirely organized around biology themes. (photo &copy; Exploratorium)</p>

Charles Carlson (right), for many years the Exploratorium's Director of Life Sciences, led the exhibit research effort. Here Carlson and a colleague marvel at the beauty of photosynthetic bacteria. (photo © Exploratorium)

<p>Opening in 2002 after years of research and prototyping, this major collection of interactive exhibits focuses on the life sciences. It is the first exhibit collection at the Exploratorium to be intentionally and entirely organized around biology themes. (photo &copy; Exploratorium)</p> thumbnail
<p>Opening in 2002 after years of research and prototyping, this major collection of interactive exhibits focuses on the life sciences. It is the first exhibit collection at the Exploratorium to be intentionally and entirely organized around biology themes. (photo &copy; Exploratorium)</p>

The Traits collection investigates the structure and nature of life through four different sections: All Life Shares Common Materials, Life Uses Energy, Life Creates More Life, and Life Changes Over Time. Each section is designed to help visitors see past the diversity of living things to the underlying unity connecting us all. (photo © Exploratorium)

<p>Opening in 2002 after years of research and prototyping, this major collection of interactive exhibits focuses on the life sciences. It is the first exhibit collection at the Exploratorium to be intentionally and entirely organized around biology themes. (photo &copy; Exploratorium)</p> thumbnail
<p>Opening in 2002 after years of research and prototyping, this major collection of interactive exhibits focuses on the life sciences. It is the first exhibit collection at the Exploratorium to be intentionally and entirely organized around biology themes. (photo &copy; Exploratorium)</p>

The Microscope Imaging Station contains high power research-quality microscopes that provide visitors with beautiful detailed images of the cellular world. Staff create spectacular still images and timelapse videos, and facilitate visitors' remote use of the scopes. (photo © Exploratorium)

<p>Opening in 2002 after years of research and prototyping, this major collection of interactive exhibits focuses on the life sciences. It is the first exhibit collection at the Exploratorium to be intentionally and entirely organized around biology themes. (photo &copy; Exploratorium)</p> thumbnail
<p>Opening in 2002 after years of research and prototyping, this major collection of interactive exhibits focuses on the life sciences. It is the first exhibit collection at the Exploratorium to be intentionally and entirely organized around biology themes. (photo &copy; Exploratorium)</p>

In addition to staff-created exhibit elements and demonstration stations, artists were commissioned to create works specifically for Traits of Life. Here, artist Phil Ross works with staff to install his complex work, Jarred In, in which living plants on life support are suspended within a chandelier-like construction. (photo © Exploratorium)

<p>Opening in 2002 after years of research and prototyping, this major collection of interactive exhibits focuses on the life sciences. It is the first exhibit collection at the Exploratorium to be intentionally and entirely organized around biology themes. (photo &copy; Exploratorium)</p> thumbnail
Date:
2002
Role:
Co-Principal Investigator
Funders:
  • National Science Foundation #9814646
  • National Endowment for the Arts
Footprint:
8,000 square feet
Venue:
  • Exploratorium
Collaborators:
Charles Carlson, Mark McGowan