Bay Area Discovery Museum Reimagining Colours And Themes

Olson Kundig has released fresh information and photos from the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s recently completed campus-wide refurbishment (BADM). The children’s museum, which focuses on STEM and the arts, is located on the grounds of Fort Baker, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Sausalito, California.

Alan Maksin Adding Authenticity To The Bay Area

view of a maker space for children with activity tables

As part of the museum’s BOLD: Spark Curiosity, Inspire Innovation capital campaign, the $18.5 million renovation extended the footprint of the multi-building BADM inside its historic location, generating five new research-backed permanent exhibitions and activity areas, as well as improved amenities. The 7.5-acre BADM property was renovated in stages, allowing the museum to remain open to small children and their adult chaperones while renovations were being finished.


The project was led by Alan Maskin, design principal at Olson Kundig in Seattle, and Marlene Chen, principal and project manager. Surfacedesign, Inc., a landscape architectural and urban design business based in San Francisco, and Pacific Studio, a museum exhibit design and fabrication firm based in Seattle, were also brought on board to complete the project team.

Other Special Features Of The Museum

a toddler explores an interactive museum installation

The project design team, which included BADM’s own research section, avoided the bright hues that are commonly associated with museum spaces built primarily for children when creating the new exhibitions and activity areas. This more subdued approach, which the firm claims will appeal to adults who might otherwise be put off from actively engaging with their children by the overwhelming, candy-colored aesthetics that often pervade such spaces, encourages young visitors to use their imaginations to bring the museum’s spaces to life.


A newly reimagined maker space, the Fab Lab, outfitted with digital fabrication tools; How Things Work, a new exhibition with considerable adult appeal that “teaches children systems thinking by cutting in half and removing the outer shell of household items,” according to the firm; new forest- and bay-themed exhibits in the Tot Spot, the museum’s toddler-dedicated exhibition area; and a new dedicated STEM classroom are among the new exhibits and activity spaces at BADM.

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