Scary times at the Exploratorium

Melissa Alexander, the director of public programs for the Exploratorium, discusses fear, the theme of next month’s “After Dark” program. The event will take place Nov. 4.

Why was fear chosen as a theme for your monthly event? Fear is an emotional and physical response to threats or perceived threats. Two things came together — Halloween will be just ending, and we’ve made note of the way that language seems to be hostile and fearful in a lot of news media.

How will fear be a part of the exhibit? A group of curators here are experimenting with using new kinds of social interactions in exhibits. Rather than a standard exhibit that you go up to and usually do on your own, we’re trying to create ways for people to interact with each other.

Is fear part of the regular exhibits at the Exploratorium? Interestingly and surprisingly, our tactile dome is something that not everybody enjoys visiting because it’s completely dark.

Do you have any fears you’ll be exploring? I have a lot of anxiety about making left-hand turns. I know why I have that anxiety. It’s because of an accident I once got in while turning left.

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