Science Center in Gillette, WY, features exhibit built by Basin Electric

The coal industry means a lot to the community of Gillette, WY. Now, the school district’s science center has a display focused on the history of coal, its economic impact in the state and nation, and the technology being developed and in use now, to keep coal viable as a fuel source for generating electricity.

On Feb. 1, the school district and Basin Electric dedicated “Pathfinders: Coal and the future of energy” at the Campbell County School District Science Center. The exhibit gives visitors a look at the history of mining Powder River Basin coal, how coal powers the economy, how electricity is essential to everyday life, and how coal is a clean source of fuel to produce energy.

Read the full story about the dedication at Display on coal dedicated at Gillette Science Center Watch the video below.

Here is a photo tour of the display. We’d love to hear from you if you visit!


“Pathfinders: Coal and the future of energy” is displayed right outside the entrance to the Campbell County Science Center. It’s so large, it doesn’t fit in one photo.


The display shows a timeline of mining and using coal in Gillette, and in Wyoming.


The display uses a transmission and distribution pole, which is repurposed from a display on rural electrification that came to the end of its run at the North Dakota Heritage Center. The poles are connected by rope lights depicting electricity, and run to a little house.


The house is also repurposed from the North Dakota Heritage Center display. It features a full size chair for parents to use as they wait for their kids, and a charging station for cell phones. There are also facts on the walls showing how much coal is used to power most homes.


School administrators wanted to show how coal is used in an environmentally friendly manner. The Dry Fork Station, a Basin Electric operated power plant near Gillette, was dedicated in 2011.


A final piece from the North Dakota Heritage Center display is the “co-op lift,” a favorite among the kids. It’s meant to show how it takes several people working together to make a co-op successful.

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