NASA has awarded $14.5 million to St. Paul’s Science Museum of Minnesota to help lead a national effort to promote space and Earth science.

The Science Museum joins other partners across the country — Arizona State University, the Museum of Science in Boston and the University of California, Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science and Space Sciences Laboratory — to create new and innovative ways to connect with learners and educators. The new effort is called the Space and Earth Informal STEM Education (SEISE) project.

According to Science Museum officials, it puts Minnesota at the forefront of inspiring the next generation of science explorers.

“NASA’s programs are exciting and critical to our nation’s future for space exploration and scientific learning. The Science Museum is a proven leader at making science concepts inspirational and easy-to-understand through programs and activities. We are a perfect match,” said Alison Rempel Brown, president of the Science Museum of Minnesota.

The Science Museum received the first installment of the five-year contract in January. Other NASA funding since 2009 has helped pay for climate change education programs and for the Space exhibition, which premiered at the Science Museum in 2015 before touring science centers across the country.

With the new funding, the SEISE project will tap NASA’s experts, data and educational programs to create new learning experiences, including interactive exhibits, Earth and space tool kits, hands-on activities, videos and professional development materials for museums and educators. Paul Martin, the Science Museum’s senior vice president for science learning, said that over the five years, the museum’s work could reach millions of people.

The partnership is inspired by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE) Network, which the Science Museum helped create. The NISE Network has more than 600 active partners across the United States, including science and children’s museums, university research centers and professional organizations that serve educators and scientists.