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What Exactly Did the Exploratorium Just Build In San Leandro?

And where can we get one?

Last year, San Leandro asked the Exploratorium for help making its public spaces a little more lively.

The creative science museum responded with an multi-pronged, tunnel-like installation of giant chimes and rocking chairs that makes beautiful music if you can just get enough people rocking in it together.

This is probably not exactly what the city had in mind. (How could it be?) But nobody could possibly say that it fails the simple but decisive standard of not being boring.

Museum techs have just finished the installation in San Leandro‘s Joaquin Plaza, titled Chime Way. At first glance, it resembles some sort of miniature Stargate, or maybe an aluminum whale’s ribcage.

But each of those upstanding structures is, in fact, a gigantic musical instrument tuned to play a particular note when hit. By gently swinging the hinged seats in front of each, sitters can play that note. Enough sitters in enough seats can probably get quite a symphony going between them.

The museum’s Studio For Public Spaces (the same crew behind the likes of the giant sound bouncing discs on Market Street) dreamed up Chime Way at a series of city meetings last year. It’s finished but not quite yet open to the public, who will finally get the chance to play with it after its unveiling on August 3.

In the meantime, here’s its entire construction in roughly 90 seconds: