From August 2019 through April 2020, the Exploratorium invited people of all ages to pull up a chair and dive into Middle Ground, an exploration into human social interactions in the middle of San Francisco’s vibrant Civic Center.
Whether you’re a denizen of the densest urban metropolis or the smallest small town, no person is an island. What goes into the stories we tell ourselves about other people—whether they’re on the streets we share, in our memories and our newsfeeds, or on the other side of the world?
Social scientists have studied how we think, feel, and behave in relation to other people for decades. Their investigations have shed light on bias and stereotyping, humor and generosity, how we work together, and how we pull apart into tribes.
This exciting, free outdoor exhibition was installed on the Larkin Street steps of the San Francisco Main Library. Today, you can pull up a chair and explore fresh interactive digital content about how we think, feel, and behave toward other people. Explore interactive exhibits in the Play section, or dive deep into social science concepts in the Ponder section. If you're a museum practitioner thinking of bringing your exhibits outside, download our free guide to working in public space, The Promise of Public Spaces..
Middle Ground was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation with supplemental funding from Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation.