My favorite place in the world is Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. When I was younger, I would constantly beg my parents to take me there. It was pretty far, and it's not exactly enjoyable to drive through Chicago, but I'd ask anyways. It felt to me like the one place in the world I'd been that felt like a monument to trying.

It had things like explanations (along with simulations!) of how lightning worked, or a scale-ish model of the solar system (in a long hallway to the planetarium area), a moonrock, explanations of how cities might be built in the future, and so much more[1]. On the ceiling of the main are were the names of famous scientists and inventors, from Tesla to Foucault to Galileo and way more.

Looking back from where I stand now, it feels like the building was a cathedral to Science, the same as a normal cathedral is a cathedral to Religion.

What other places exist like this? Where can I take friends or a kid one day to marvel at the way the world works? Things like special planetariums or such are probably on track, but there's surely much more.

  1. a whole-ass train, a captured German U-boat, the Apollo 8 command module, and I'm not running out of steam yet. ↩︎

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Jun 24, 2022


San Fransisco has an Exploratorium, which is focused on "hey, look at this cool thing you can experiment with cause and effect with". 


Jun 24, 2022


The New York Public Library feels specifically like a temple to knowledge. It feels like it had a lot of design choices going into making it feel particularly temple-like, and the fact that it's also just a real functioning library makes it all the better.

In a similar vein, the Library of Congress is something like a temple of knowledge and in my opinion one of the more underrated things to see in Washington D.C.

1Alex Vermillion2y
Ooh, I'm near there, so that one can probably be done without a ton of work. Good idea!

I'll be looking into how much of a trip that would take me, thanks!


Jun 24, 2022


If you ever go to Paris, the Musée des arts et métiers (museum of arts and crafts) is a big museum on technological and industrial progress (with a 19th century focus if I remember correctly) . The main attraction are the original models of the very first planes from Clément Ader suspended under the vaults.

But by far the best place to go is the Palais de la Découverte. It has everything you expect in a science museum like a Pi room, exhibitions, a planetarium and so on, but the main interest are the dozens of available live demonstrations about basically any scientific subject - ranging from animal learning to radioactivity, Newtonian dynamic to electrostatic. The electrostatic presentation is particularly amazing, as is the liquid air one. Most of the demonstrations are aimed at children or young teenagers, but there are also some meatier ones at least a couple of time a day (the program changes every day). In any case the people who do the demonstrations are extremely accessible for any questions and generally competent (they seem to be science grad students I think).

Austin Chen

Jun 24, 2022


San Jose has The Tech Interactive (formerly The Tech Museum of Innovation) located in the downtown. I remember going often as a kid, and being enthralled by the interactions and exhibits. One of the best is located outside, for free: a 2-story tall Rube Goldberg machine that shuffles billiards balls through various contraptions. Absolutely mesmerizing.

Oliver Sourbut

Jun 24, 2022


Some UK examples

London's Natural History Museum is similar and often described as 'a cathedral'. It focuses on natural history (Earth sciences and biology).

Down the road from there is the Science Museum which has SF Exploratorium vibes.

There's a museum in Bristol formerly known as '@ Bristol' and now known as 'We the Curious' which I've not attended in many years but I recall being science-cathedrally.

Another oddly-apt blast from the past is the York Railway Museum which feels like the equivalent but from an earlier era, perhaps.


Jun 24, 2022


Museum of Science in Boston seems very similar. I love going there when visiting Boston.