Each month between January and May we’ll explore a different theme, centering activities, exhibits, and artists around a new material. This month, we work with wood. Wood is one of the most ubiquitous materials at the Exploratorium, making up the structure of most exhibits, prototypes, and experiments found here. People have used wood for millennia for many purposes, primarily as a fuel or as a construction material for making houses, tools, weapons, furniture, packaging, artworks, and paper. We will be celebrating this material and its many uses and inspirations all month long!
The Tinkering Studio is an experimental and playful laboratory within the Exploratorium: we are very much learning as we go, and trying new things all the time. So, while we cannot predict exactly what you will find when you visit, we can promise it will be interesting and engaging! These are some of the ways we hope to involve you in our process this month:
Scott Weaver has spent the last 35 years painstakingly constructing a replica of the city of San Francisco made of toothpicks! Not only that, but it is also a marble run, allowing ping-pong balls to take various tours through the city. His artwork will be on display in the Tinkering Studio until June 19th. See it in action!
Bernie Lubell is renowned for his interactive wood machines, and he has installed one in the Tinkering Studio, which lets the public slowly whittle a dowel into a toothpick by pedaling a stationary wooden bike, and running on a treadmill. At the end, the newly minted toothpick will be presented to Scott to add to his creation!
Of course, marble machines are back! Come use all sorts of wooden implements, dowels, tracks, clothespins, pegboard, to build the biggest, longest, most intricate marble run you can think of!