Exploratorium
Public learning lab and museum in San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
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Inside the Exploratorium's new exhibits.
The Exploratorium is a museum, laboratory, and art studio with the mission of transforming learning and advancing connections between art and science. With 326 employees (including 17 PhDs and in-house artists), the Exploratorium makes all of their floor exhibits in-house and sell exhibits to partners and agencies. We met with Chris Axley, the Exploratorium’s Director of Information Technology. Axley manages the organization’s business software subscriptions, system development, and commerce platforms.
$48M
budget
600+
exhibits
850,000+
annual visitors
Software used
Siriusware by Accesso
Ticketing and sales
A ticketing, e-commerce, and member services platform. The Exploratorium can run reports to understand attendance and customer trends and store member info. They switched to Siriusware 4 years ago when they moved into their building on Pier 15. They chose Siriusware because it can handle lots of offline traffic, but they’re now investigating new systems that optimize for online rather than offline transactions.
SalesForce
Client relationship management (CRM)
The Exploratorium uses Salesforce to schedule events, track donors, volunteers, patrons, and vendors, and maintain an exhibit inventory. There are many custom plugins and workflows that they have created over the years to make things more efficient for their specific use cases
Schedule Plus
Power/AV management
Clipsal’s hardware and software system allows the Exploratorium to control the lighting and power systems throughout the building. During events, organizers can control the lightpanel and AV from a connected device. This is also very important for monitoring all of the heating and cooling throughout the uniquely designed building, which is located right along the water.
Many more software
Many more use cases
The Exploratorium works directly with software vendors to find software that fits their exact needs. At an organization of their size, they often need custom software to get things done the right or most efficient way.
Commentary
Since the Exploratorium has such diverse and unique needs, customizability is essential. The Exploratorium receives grants to investigate and develop new IT systems and works with a consulting agency to find and choose between offerings.
  • Right now, the institution is evaluating customer relationship management (CRM) use by doing interviews and collecting data on the needs of internal users, including the development office.
  • Axley said that the museum is also reevaluating their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, which helps manage costs, inventory, people, and other resources that go into building exhibits. Right now, groups use manual processes and smaller systems to allocate resources and predict costs, but Axley hopes that a future system will centralize and simplify this system.