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editorial, both papoers, 3/5/01

March 02, 2001

Discovery Station: A project that deserves public support



Who can tell what will trigger a child's imagination? For some, it's watching a parent work. For others, it's a book. But for the next generation in the Tri-State Area, it just might be Discovery Station. Discovery Station is an interactive science museum planned for downtown Hagerstown. We believe a few dollars invested now in their fund-raiser will pay big dividends for years to come.

The idea for such a museum came from Beverly Baccala, a former employee of the Washington County Economic Development Department who once worked at the Maryland Science Center.

Baccala approached Science Center officials back in 1994 about opening a satellite center here, but after a study, officials there decided they couldn't lend anything more than their expertise to Hagerstown.

Presumably, they'll be called on when Discovery Station begins building exhibits that demonstrate various scientific processes, like magnetism or wave motion. Since there are centers like this all over the U.S., there are many designs available for devices that are fun to operate and hopefully gets kids thinking at the same time.

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The center will be built in a property that has essentially been donated by the city - the old Tusing warehouse on East Washington Street. Its entrance, however, will face the municipal parking lot that most drivers enter on Potomac Street near Public Square.

Its cost? Just $1.4 million, with center officials pledging to raise $500,000 from the public by July. There are several reasons we feel citizens should back this project.

The cost is realistic, and building it will not require tearing down any existing property, historic or otherwise. The facility will draw visitors, not only from the school system but from those touring Civil War sites with small children who are not quite old enough to understand what mom and dad are looking at.

But finally, this project deserves public support because it will do what all the best museums do - make people think and entertain them at the same time. For information on how to contribute, call (301) 739-2015, ext. 7, or visit the center's web site at www.discoverystation. org.

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