Science centers and museums have long been at the forefront of communicating the wonder of science to the general public and the K-12 school community. Interactions between the Exploratorium Museum (San Francisco, CA) and the University of Chicago MRSEC are described in this paper. The Exploratorium-organized NEO program—part of the NSF-sponsored NISE network—has greatly influenced the Univ. of Chicago's approach to its materials science course for teachers and helped them incorporate inquiry more deliberately into their after-school science clubs. Also, Exhibit Developers at the Exploratorium collaborate with scientists at the Univ. of Chicago to design exhibits that explain contemporary cutting-edge research in materials. These exhibits emphasize the wonder and beauty of common phenomena that one rarely stops to notice but which leads to deep scientific inquiry.