Publication: February 2016

Project: The Sanford Science Education Center

Authors: Becky Carroll, Pam Castori, Mark St. John

Type: Reports

Building a Regional Science Education Infrastructure: The Accomplishments of the Sanford Science Education Center (pdf, 5 pages)

The Sanford Science Education Center: Addressing Key Design Challenges in Sharing Complex Science with Diverse Audiences (pdf, 6 pages)


In facilities throughout the United States and abroad, communities of scientists share infrastructure, instrumentation and equipment to conduct scientific research. In these large facilities — laboratories, accelerators, telescope arrays, and research vessels — scientists are researching key questions that have the potential to make a significant impact on a broad segment of a scientific or engineering discipline. In most of these large facilities, there is also an effort being made to share — through education, outreach and other public communications activities — the science research being explored at these labs and to contribute within the science education arena.

One such scientific facility is the Sanford Underground Research Facility. Sanford Lab, in the small historic mining town of Lead, in the heart of the Black Hills of South Dakota, utilizes some of the most sensitive detectors in long-term experiments to answer questions about the foundational particles that make up the universe. For the past five years, the education and outreach effort of the Sanford Underground Research Facility has been supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation to plan, develop, prototype and prioritize the suite of educational outreach activities of the lab. Now known as the Sanford Science Education Center (SSEC), education and outreach activities that showcase the science, engineering and technology of Sanford Lab are offered through partnerships with the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center and Black Hills State University.

These two reports highlight difference facets of the SSEC work. The first report highlights the accomplishments of the SSEC, and the return on the investment of the planning grant funds. The second report examines the design challenges faced by the SSEC, and the lessons learned from trying to meet those design challenges.

Other resources

Sanford Underground Research Facility
South Dakota Science and Technology Authority

Intended Audience

Museum Educators, Science Educators and Administrators, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research, Inc.

Distribution Policy

Inverness Research Inc. grants permission to print and distribute copies.