Middle Ground


Middle Ground


Middle Ground brings insights from social science research to a broad, general public. Located on San Francisco’s Main Public Library’s Western plaza, the outdoor installation creates opportunities for people of all walks of life to engage with interactive exhibits and with other people in order to experience and question their own beliefs, behaviors, and assumptions about others. Through 14 architectural-scale, interactive, and multimedia exhibits, Middle Ground invites people passing through San Francisco’s Civic Center to explore topics such as stereotypes and bias, social influence, prosocial behavior, and social polarization. The installation was designed and developed by the Exploratorium, in close partnership with the San Francisco Public Library, the Civic Center Commons Initiative, and other site partners. Middle Ground was funded by the National Science Foundation and Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to inspiring a deeper interest in science.

Key Team Members

Shawn Lani, Principal Investigator, Exploratorium
Dr. Joshua Gutwill, Co-Principal Investigator, Exploratorium
Dr. Heike Winterheld, Exploratorium, Social Psychologist
Steve Gennrich, Project Director
Dana Goldberg, Exploratorium, Project Lead
Phoebe Schenker, Architect
Adam Esposito, Exploratorium - Structural Design and Fabrication
Sue Pomon , Exploratorium - Graphic Design
Eileen Campbell, Exploratorium - Editorial
Doug Thistlewolf, Exploratorium - Exhibit Design
David Torgerson, Exploratorium - Exhibit Design
Julie Flynn, Project Manager, Civic Center Commons Initiative at San Francisco Planning Department (community partner)
Amy Cohen , Director, Neighborhood Program Development at City and County of San Francisco (community partner)