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Discovery Station is permanent home of VISION exhibit

Discovery Station is permanent home of VISION exhibit

February 03, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- After 14 years and 33 stops at science museums across the United States, the National Eye Institute's VISION traveling exhibit is at its final destination -- Discovery Station at Hagerstown.

"It's a real coup for us," B. Marie Byers, community leader and president of Discovery Station at Washington Street and Summit Avenue in Hagerstown, said recently.

The exhibit has been on display in Hagerstown for the past 16 months. The National Eye Institute (NEI) now has made VISION a permanent part of the interactive museum's collection.

"We are honored to have VISION as part of our permanent collection," Byers said. "Thanks to this donation, we can continue to offer our visitors pertinent, engaging and enjoyable information about the science of vision."


The VISION tour was launched in 1993 to celebrate the National Eye Institute's 25th anniversary, NEI Director Paul A. Sieving said in an e-mail.

Since then, it "has given more than 6 million people around the nation the opportunity to learn about the importance of vision and the sight-saving research sponsored by the NEI," Sieving said. "By giving the exhibit back to the community, we are pleased that this valuable educational effort will continue to benefit the taxpayers who supported its development."

The 2,000-square-foot exhibit features hands-on activities that demonstrate complex concepts in simple terms.

VISION teaches museum visitors how the eye focuses light, how motion and color are perceived, and how the brain processes visual information.

The exhibit has 10 interactive components that demonstrate optical illusions, allow visitors to see tiny blood vessels in the retina and demonstrate the range of our vision.

"It's very popular and good for all ages," Byers said.

Younger students might be more interested in color blindness, while seniors tend to gravitate to the cataracts and macular degeneration components, Byers said.

The National Eye Institute conducts and supports research that leads to sight-saving treatments, and plays a key role in reducing visual impairment and blindness.

The NEI is part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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