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Best Museum Exhibits This Spring In The South Bay

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum (credit: Getty Images)

Football season is over and baseball isn't yet in full swing. Forget about spring cleaning. Do something cultural, educational and different that expands your sphere of reference. There are plenty of museum exhibits that make learning fun. The kids will enjoy themselves, too. Which of these are going on your list?

Night in the Afterlife
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium
1660 Park Ave.
San Jose, CA 95191
(408) 947-3635

Date: Every Wednesday through Sunday for members. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

The junior archeologists can find Egypt in our own backyard, complete with mummies and a burial chamber. This is the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts in western North America. A training program for those ages five to 17 comes with a family membership. A series of seven hands-on, behind-the-scenes educational experiences are held every Wednesday through Sunday culminating in an overnight stay at the museum. The first "graduation" stay-over night of the year is March 1, 2014 for 96 aspiring junior archeologists, and your kids can be next. Every day this spring for non-members, a one-time general admission includes free planetarium shows at 2 p.m., with additional shows on weekends at 3:30 p.m.

IBM Watson
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Mountain View, CA 94043
(650) 810-1010

Date: Through Mid-June 2014

For members of the geeks league, this Silicon Valley museum has some of the world's first computers on display and can explain why the actual history of computers goes back 2,000 years. Remember the epic man versus machine challenge on "Jeopardy!"? Chalk your name onto the podium of the actual television set from the 2011 "Jeopardy!" series. Visitors are invited to interact with a simulated version of the Watson computer to learn more about cognitive computing. Your photo will make for a good tweet at #IBMWatson.

Music of the Spheres Concert Series
Lick Observatory
7281 Mt. Hamilton Road
Mt. Hamilton, CA 95140
(408) 274-5061

Date: June 21, 2014 at 7 p.m.

For astronomers who are music lovers and vice versa, consider spending summer solstice atop Mount Hamilton—that's 4,209 feet up a narrow and twisting road—at the the University of California research facility. In its 34th year, a full evening's program includes a concert, a talk by a University of California astronomer and a chance to view the historic 1888 Great Lick Refractor and the 1959 Nickel 40-inch telescope. More concert programs and lectures are on the schedule for three additional dates through August 2014.

What's Your Angle?
San Jose Museum of Art
110 S. Market St.
San Jose, CA 95113
(408) 271-6840

Date: Through November 30, 2014

This is an exhibit for forward-thinkers who are always seeing something in a new way, like through the eyes of an artist, perhaps. Or, the artist may see it through your eyes. It's all about how we see and feel things and some thinking outside of the box. Leave the Koret Gallery with a different perspective than the one you entered with. In addition to viewing works by Keith Carter, James Doolin, Godfrey Frankel, Lyle Gomes, Edward Hopper and many more, visitors will be able to get creative with a host of hands-on activities.

A Serving of Shapes: An Exploration in 3D Printing
The de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95050
(408) 554-4528

Date: Through March 16, 2014 

For the curious, this installation focuses on demystifying the innovative process of 3-D printing, which everyone is keen to learn more about in 2014. Artist Corinne Takara uses 3-D printing around the setting of the family table to reflect on the history of of Silicon Valley and its emergence from an agricultural hub into a technological one. The permanent exhibit on the History of California is supplemented by this temporary one. Admission to both, and to the entire collection, is always free from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., except on Mondays, holidays and between installations.

Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things in her adopted San Francisco. A dedicated urbanite, she's a transplanted New Yorker by way of a couple of decades in London as a hotel sales and marketing manager. Follow her work on @ReferencePlease, USA Today, Yahoo! and on


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