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Exploratorium. "Traits of Life": A major exhibition area with 30 biology exhibits and demonstrations that help visitors understand the fundamental elements common to all living things from humans to amoebas. Daily. Free with museum admission. 3601 Lyon (at Marina), 397-5673, www.exploratorium.edu.

The Holocaust Center of Northern California. "Holocaust Center of Northern California": The newly opened center's first exhibit showcases its facilities, including a library with more than 15,000 historical volumes, a reading room for screening documentaries and holding educational talks, and ongoing displays of the center's thousands of photographs and artifacts. Tuesdays, Thursdays, 1-6 p.m.; Mondays, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. 121 Steuart (at Mission), 777-9060, www.holocaust-sf.org.

Lawrence Hall of Science. "Prove It — A ChemMystery": Kids and adults attempt to solve crimes using the basic forensic skills they learn step-by-step at the exhibit. Daily. Free with admission, free-$8.50. "Forces That Shape the Bay": The museum's permanent science park exhibit explores new ways to understand the bay. Daily. Centennial & Grizzly Peak, 510-642-5132.

Legion of Honor. "Claude Lorrain — The Painter as Draftsman: Drawings from the British Museum": The French 17th-century landscape artist is featured in this exhibition showcasing his unique response to the topography and atmospheric effects characteristic of the Roman countryside. Through Jan. 14, 2007. The Reverend Howard Finster (1916Ð2001) joins a long tradition of visionary American artists who worked outside the structure of the fine arts establishment. Through April 6, 2007. "Transparent Reflections: Richard Pousette-Dart Works on Paper 19401992": This exhibition and catalogue of 52 works bring together a substantial body of Pousette-Dart's drawings, which might more accurately be called paintings on paper, as well as several of his ethereal hand-colored etchings. Through Jan. 14, 2007. "Big Kids/Little Kids": Children aged 3 1/2 to 6 years and their parents take a gallery tour and then participate in a related hands-on art activity. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. Free with museum admission, free-$8. "Doing and Viewing Art": Kids aged 7-12 and their families tour the Legion of Honor's galleries before taking part in a hands-on creative workshop led by a professional artist. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. Free with museum entrance fee, free-$8. Organ Concert: Weekly organ concerts. Saturdays, Sundays, 4 p.m. free. Ford Free Tuesdays: Get in free to the Legion of Honor every Tuesday, thanks to a grant from the Ford Motor Co. Tuesdays. Free. 100 34th Ave. (near Clement), 863-3330, www.thinker.org.

Museum of the African Diaspora. "Painting Ethiopia: The Life and Work of Qes Adamu Tesfaw": At the age of 70, Ethiopian artist Qes Adamu Tesfaw is regarded by many as Ethiopia's finest living artist. Through March 5, 2007. "Beaded Blessings": The exhibition is comprised of over 4,000 beaded prayers inspired by African amulet traditions. Oct. 25-Jan. 15. St. Regis Hotel, 685 Mission (at Third St.), 358-7200, www.moadsf.org.

Oakland Museum of California. "Oakland to the Rescue!": Exhibition of items from the 1906 earthquake. Through Dec. 31. "Video Work by Bill Viola": Newly acquired video work by the internationally known artist Bill Viola. Through Dec. 31. 1000 Oak (at 10th St.), Oakland, 510-238-2200, www.museumca.org.

Randall Museum. "Drop-In Art and Science Workshops": Each week kids and parents can participate in artistic activities that illuminate some aspect of science. Saturdays, 1 p.m. $3 per person. "Saturdays Are Special": Ongoing weekly drop-in, hands-on art and science workshops. Saturdays, 1 p.m. Free-$3. 199 Museum (at Roosevelt), 554-9600, www.randallmuseum.org.

San Francisco Fire Museum. "Permanent Exhibits": Included among the items on display at this museum are antique fire extinguishers, old uniforms, cast-iron replicas of historic fire engines, hooks, ladders, and other ephemera. Daily. Free. 655 Presidio Avenue (at Bush), 563-4630.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. "Sparks, Waves & Wizards: Communication at Sea": The permanent exhibit presents artifacts exploring the means of maritime communications. Daily. Free-$6. Fort Mason Building E (Marina & Buchanan), 561-7000.

San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum. "150 Years of Dance in California": The exhibit spotlights over a century of dance in the Golden State with photographs and programs. Daily. "In Character: Actors Acting": Captures actors who are doing what they do best — acting — instead of merely having their pictures taken. Through Feb. 24, 2007. "Maestro!: Photographic Portraits by Tom Zimberoff": The artist captures a generation of national and international conductors in his portraits. Daily. 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), 255-4800, www.sfpalm.org.

San Jose Museum of Art. "Inside Out: Selections From the Permanent Collection": Highlights of the museum's 35th-anniversary exhibition include Mildred Howard's Abode: Sanctuary for the Familia(r), a chamber built of blue glass bottles, and Brian Goggin's Desire for the Other, a couch stuffed with household appliances. Daily. Free. 110 South Market (at San Fernando), San Jose, 408-271-6840.

SF Maritime Museum. Permanent Collection of Ship Models: A big collection of figureheads, maritime paintings, photos, and artifacts. Daily. Fisherman's Wharf (at Polk), 556-3002.

SF Museum of Modern Art. Is It Really So Strange?: A documentary that examines the cult following of Stephen Morrissey — the former front man and singer/songwriter of British band The Smiths — that flourishes in the eastern suburbs of Los Angeles, primarily among Latino and Hispanic youth. Thu., Oct. 26, 7 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 28, 2 p.m. free with Museum admission. 151 Third St. (at Mission), 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org. SF Museum of Modern Art. "Picturing Modernity: Selections From the SFMOMA Collection": An exhibition of photographs from SFMOMA's own collection that illustrate a wide range of photographic styles. Daily. "The Art of Design": A permanent exhibition of works in the museum's architecture and design collection, including works of graphic and industrial design (such as the famous Fillmore rock posters by Bonnie MacLean, Victor Moscoso, and Stanley Mouse). Daily. Tina in Mexico: A film by Brenda Longfellow. Through Jan. 2, 2007. "Mexico as Muse: Tina Modotti and Edward Weston": An exhibit of the most significant photographs that Tina Modotti and Edward Weston, two of the major figures in 20th-century photography, made during their time in Mexico. Through Jan. 2, 2007. "Matisse and Beyond: The Painting and Sculpture Collection": Magnificent works of painting and sculpture culled from SFMOMA's own collections provide a quick tour of modern art from Fauvism to Minimalism. Daily. "Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth": The first American survey of Kiefer's work in almost 20 years, this exhibition features more than 40 paintings, sculptures, books, and works on paper created between 1969 and the present. Through Oct. 21, 2007. "SFMOMA Collection Highlights": In addition to spotlighting photographs, paintings, and sculptures in the SFMOMA collection, this audio guide includes a musical tour. Daily. $3. "Paul Klee: Innocence and Insanity": This selection of works on paper examines Klee's interest in the playfulness, ornamentation, and compulsive patterning characteristic of the art of the innocent and the insane. Through April 1, 2007. "Imposing Order: Contemporary Photography and the Archive": This exhibition highlights contemporary critiques of the notion of the archive, presenting artworks that explore the documentary nature of photography as well as the human compulsion to create order. Through Jan. 2, 2007. "Between Art and Life: The Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Collection": The ongoing exhibition presents works from SFMOMA's own collections, with special installations on artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Robert Gober, Eva Hesse, Anish Kapoor, Sherrie Levine, Brice Marden, Gordon Matta-Clark, Barry McGee, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, and Kara Walker. Daily. "Architecture & Design Permanent Collection": An ongoing presentation featuring more than 100 works illustrating concepts in design and architecture. Daily. "Charged Space: Jane and Louise Wilson/Fikret Atay": "Charged Space" features two video installations that allude to the loaded histories of specific sites. Through Jan. 21, 2007. "Alexander Girard: Vibrant Modern": A selection of Girard's lively, bold designs from the SFMOMA collection, including textiles designed for Herman Miller in the 1960s and works created for La Fonda del Sol Restaurant in New York. Through Feb. 25, 2007. "New Work: Phil Collins": Collins' video installation dünya dinlemiyor (the world won't listen) features young people in Istanbul, performing karaoke versions of tracks from the eponymous album by the Smiths, recorded with musicians in Bogot. Through Jan. 1, 2007. Daily Tours: Topics change daily for these free tours led by SFMOMA docents. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays, 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 1:30 & 2:30 p.m. Spotlight Tours: These innovative tours bring artists' voices directly to visitors, beginning with a short video clip of a featured artist, then moving into the galleries for viewing and discussion. Fridays-Sundays, noon. Art and Conversation: Tina Modotti in Mexico: A talk by Patricia Albers, writer and independent curator. Fri., Oct. 27, noon. free with Museum admission. 151 Third St. (at Mission), 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org.

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