Sager proposes children's science museum for downtown

March 18, 1997


Staff Writer

With the National Museum of Civil War Medicine headquarters remaining in Frederick, Md., Hagerstown Mayor Steven T. Sager said he plans to focus on opening a children's science museum downtown.

Sager said he wants to see if the group of local citizens planning a children's science museum can move into the old Tristate Electrical Supply Co. Inc. building at 38 S. Potomac St. within six months.

The interactive Discovery Station was what he personally had in mind for that building when city officials learned the medical museum had run into structural and financial problems with their 48 E. Patrick St. building in Frederick.


City officials' attempts to lure the medical museum to Hagerstown failed on Saturday when the museum's board members voted to keep their headquarters in Frederick.

City Council members haven't discussed the Discovery Station yet as a group, said Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein. She said she didn't know enough about the project to say whether she would support it.

"I think that we need a destination attraction downtown. We'll work towards that end," Saum-Wicklein said.

Local civic and business leaders want to turn the first block of South Potomac Street into an arts and entertainment cultural block. The block already has The Maryland Theatre, Tres School for the Arts, Schmankerl Stube restaurant and Twilight's Ristorante.

The Discovery Station would provide hands-on interactive exhibits of science, technology and local history. A group of local citizens has been working on the project for about three years.

"We're looking forward to discussing this with the city (officials) because they've been very supportive from the start," said Beverly Baccala, an economic development coordinator with the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission who has been coordinating the Discovery Station project.

Baccala said the group might be able to open a shop to sell scientific and historic merchandise by fall to help raise funds for the science museum, but wasn't sure the entire museum would be ready by then.

The group received its tax-exempt status on Monday and will now turn its attention to starting major fund-raising, marketing and membership drives, she said.

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