Ultimately, Frank went on to build what he called a “museum of awareness” in San Francisco, a museum, really, of persuasion. He called it an Exploratorium so it wouldn’t sound like “museum,” where experts tell visitors what they should know; it was (and is) more like a playground packed with sophisticated scientific toys meant to be poked, prodded, pushed, pulled, listen to, yelled at, spun around, climbed on, fiddled with, sung to, clapped at, watched with wonder. It’s a place for people to experience what it feels like to really discover something.
One of Frank’s favorite stories was about the woman who’d spent the day there, then went home and wired a lamp. There is nothing in the Exploratorium that tells you how to wire a lamp. The woman had merely gotten a taste of that great feeling that comes from figuring it out for yourself. Which is ultimately what persuasion is about.
We’re persuaded when we feel we’ve understood something well enough to make up our own minds. And that makes all of us smarter, better people, no matter what side of the issues (or the table) we’re on.