IDEAL Center

IDEAL Center

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access, Leadership
Professional Development

The Science Museum of Minnesota’s IDEAL Center helps professionals who are serious about equity and inclusion see their world differently and have the abilities, strategies and will to make it more just and open.

Our scientific mindset and research-proven teaching and facilitation practices help participants become agents of change: transforming people, relationships, organizations, and our world.

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Now accepting applications for the 2022-2023 iPAGE Leadership Program for Informal STEM Institutions. Learn more.

Now accepting applications for the 2022-23 PAGE K-12 Leadership program. Learn more.

A group of three going a research experiment by injecting liquid into a container filled with rocks.

SMM’s IDEAL Center is the only diversity and equity professional development organization born from a science learning institution. Our work is grounded in research on equity, teaching and learning, complex systems, organizational change, and more.

A person looking at a flower, making notes.

Equity is a practice, a way of living and working, not a specific destination to be reached.  We help you have the courage to envision a positive future for yourself, your organization, your community, your world and to see that equity and inclusion are essential to this vision.

An IDEAL Center instructor leading a discussion at a table featuring bones with two other people.

Our expert facilitators actively create powerful and supportive learning environments because becoming an effective agent of change is hard work. We will equip you with practical tools and strategies to create sustainable and just change for your organization.


Our ability to work with groups of all kinds comes from our extensive experience as adult educators. Whatever your equity goals are, we can help you.


IDEAL Workshops for Schools, Colleges, and Workplaces

Gain new perspectives on seeing and disrupting disparities and inequities. 

These three to five-day experiences are custom designed for business, academic, and civic organizations, and facilitate learning and growth around IDEAL topics with a focus on empowering local and interpersonal action in your organization.

IDEAL Leadership Intensives

Bring about meaningful and lasting institutional change.

These five to eleven-day intensive programs are custom designed specifically for leadership teams in a variety of organizations who want to work together, become change agents, and have a personally and professionally transformative experience.

Equity Labs

One Day, Three Actors, Three Facilitators & Thousands of Variations.

Equity Labs will help you and your team witness and experience typical scenes of privilege, classism, racism, sexism and other systems of oppression as performed by our Equity Labs professional actors. Our expert facilitators will guide your group as you discuss what’s happening, suggest potential interventions, and then see how those interventions play out in real-time. Please note that Equity Labs are currently on hiatus as we work to adapt them to a virtual experience.


The PAGE Leadership Program

Bringing about positive change in Districts. Now accepting applications for the 2022-2023 Foundations Program.

The iPAGE Leadership Program

Addressing Equity and Inclusion in Informal STEM Institutions. Now accepting applications for the 2022-2023 Foundations Program.


Orlando Science Center

JoAnn Newman | President & Chief Executive Officer

Headshot of JoAnn Newman

Something that sets this apart from other training is the way that we engage as participants. This is not a trainer lecturing from the front of the room, calling on those who raise their hands. It’s more like having a leader (who has devoted their life to this work) guiding us through a set of complex interactions and helping us understand ourselves and how we can be part of a positive systemic change.


Echo Park Elementary School of Leadership, Engineering, & Technology

Scott Thomas | Principal

Headshot of Scott Thomas

The institute has had an incredibly positive impact on our school culture, beliefs, and student learning. Thank you for carefully listening to our goals and incorporating them into the learning in thoughtful ways. You are masterful facilitators and did a fabulous job moving our community forward with a deeper understanding of equity, powerful learning, and inclusion for our students.


Wellesley College

Amy Banzaert, Ph.D. | Director and Lecturer of Engineering Studies

Headshot of Amy Banzaert

In a nutshell: amazing, phenomenal, the best teaching I've ever experienced on a topic that's critical to me as a professor and as a human.



Len Bakken | Director of Human Resources

Headshot of Len Bakken with sunglasses on their head.

This is an amazing and eye-opening workshop! You all have done a wonderful job educating us. Every detail seemed intentional and well coordinated.


Solomon Group

Jaron Keener | Senior Project Manager, Exhibits & Environments

Photo of Jaron Keener, Wearing Black Sunglasses, Smiling, Leaning On A Tree Limb

The IDEAL Center team is inspiring and a guiding light for those committed to creating lasting positive change. They are so experienced and knowledgeable, creating a truly safe environment where I felt comfortable breaking down my walls and participating in frank and honest conversations around diversity, equity, access, and inclusion issues. They provided a guiding hand but were nimble and observant enough to allow for a variety of personal transformations.


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