Design, engineering, and construction achieve best results when practiced with creativity and collaboration. As a museum in the center of a neighborhood under construction, we are pleased to introduce an exhibition which uses art and technology to inspire family conversations about the elements of strong communities – diversity, civic function, public spaces, creative expression and technology.

The centerpiece of the BuildSF exhibition is Sketch Town, an immersive digital experience, installed within the museum’s iconic cone. Visitors of all ages can create buildings and vehicles, scanned and projected on an interactive virtual city.

This exhibit was selected to complement other museum programs that also illustrate the creativity employed in architecture and construction. Children and families will be able to build structures of blocks and magnets, create claymation videos, and solve design challenges related to the construction theme.

We hope that visitors will consider the construction activity in our neighborhood part of the adventure and learning experience of visiting the museum.


Sketch Town

The Community Lab has been transformed into Sketch Town in partnership with teamLab and Hitachi America, Ltd. Drop by for an opportunity to draw your own buildings and vehicles, scan them, and interact with your creations as they populate a virtual city spanning an immense projection surface.

Sketch Town offers your family a fun way to learn about building healthy communities, urban planning, city living, and transportation.

Check out Sketch Town’s new panoramic view and how the newscopter is projected higher in our iconic cone.

Additional support was provided by the Moore Foundation.


AR Sandbox

In the Imagination Lab, our Augmented Reality Sandboxes offers children a hands-on introduction to topography, where they can move, dig, and shape sand into personalized landscapes. Experience two activities that illustrate the impact of construction on our natural world through creative play.

Map Makers
Explore the interactive dynamics of water flow and watersheds in this sandbox exhibit as mountains, valleys, lakes, and shorelines display various colors. Notice how the sand changes color as you build mountains or dig rivers with one swipe of your hand.

Habitat Helpers
Discover digitally-produced creatures as they swim, wiggle, and scamper their way through an ever-changing landscape. Design a habitat to help both land and water creatures thrive in their new environment.

View our sandbox in this Global Map of AR Sandboxes.

This AR Sandbox project was made possible in part by the generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.