A Museum to Thrill the Child Within

School of Medicine

One of my favorite things about San Francisco is all of its hidden treasures. Last Sunday, my friends and I stumbled upon one more: the Randall Museum.

The Randall is advertised as a children's museum dedicated to the intersection of science and art, but the secret’s out: there are a ton of classes and volunteer opportunities for adults too.

Although it is currently under renovation, organizers plan to re-open this fall with beautiful new interactive and live animal exhibits designed to expose and teach children and teens all aspects of science and natural history.

The reconstruction has inspired the museum’s board of directors to take on new program goals aimed at slightly older children aged 12 to 16. Traci McCollister, the Development Director for the Randall Museum Friends, told Hoodline.com news outlet that museum directors want to ramp up the STEM education programs and double the number of students participating in field trips to the Randall. They also want to add outdoor education to their mix of offerings with an Energy Garden outdoor exhibit that will showcase renewable energy opportunities.

The museum will exhibit live animals such as raptors, raccoons, rabbits and snakes on the first floor. Adjacent to the animals is a large, 200-seat theater that will host classic film screenings for teens. And downstairs is a large woodworking shop, a ceramics studio, and a natural sciences laboratory.

All three spaces will host classes for small children, teens and adults such as acrylic painting, introduction to the potter’s wheel, creative ceramics, woodcarving, and wood joinery. The wood shop and ceramics studio will also host late-night open studio hours for adults.

The museum is urgently looking for volunteers to help polish the building before the re-opening.

Once open, the Randall will offer a variety of volunteer opportunities in animal care, reception, administration and special events like Halloween Fest, Holiday Crafts Day, and Bug Day.

During Halloween Fest, the museum puts on ghoulish games, creepy crafts, tricks and treats and live entertainment.

Holiday Crafts Day is designed to teach kids how to make their own gifts for the holidays. Last year’s crafts included beeswax candles, handmade scented gift soaps, wooden trains and candy houses.

Then there’s Bug Day, need I say more? Arguably the museum’s most popular event, kids and their families can make their own bug-related crafts, see and touch live exotic insects, peer at insects through microscopes, compete in the “Insect Olympics” and perhaps eat a bug or two.

Those interested in volunteering can visit https://www.randallmuseum.org/about-us/volunteer/ for more information and sign ups. If not, I highly recommend checking out the ceramics studio and woodshop adult classes. I will see you there!