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Discovery Station marks five years of 'hands-on learning'

May 10, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- Discovery Station, Hagerstown's hands-on educational museum, has grown and thrived under support from volunteers, donors and government contributions, president B. Marie Byers said Monday during a ceremony marking the museum's five-year anniversary.

"Together, this community has produced a destination for learning," Byers said.

To celebrate the milestone, the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau presented the museum with a $1,000 check. The donation was on top of the roughly $5,000 a year the CVB provides Discovery Station, which CVB President Thomas B. Riford said was "downtown Hagerstown's single-largest attraction."

Julianna Albowicz, assistant to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., read senatorial certificates from Mikulski and Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., lauding Discovery Station for "creating exciting, hands-on learning experiences that stimulate a curiosity for discovery, exploration and further investigation by children and adults to foster lifelong learning."

State Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, and Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, offered congratulatory words from the state, and Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II called the museum a "jewel for our downtown."

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"It's grown tremendously," Bruchey said of the museum.

Byers recalled the hard work that went into establishing the museum in the former Nicodemus Bank building before its May 2005 opening.

"We started with two borrowed card tables and eight borrowed chairs," she said.

Support over the years has included $100,000 worth of bond bills, more than $200,000 in unsolicited donations from the Nora Roberts Foundation and Washington County Gaming Commission funding, Byers said.

Since opening, Discovery Station has had more than 38,000 visitors, Riford said. In the past year, visitors have come from 21 states, he said.

Upcoming attractions include an exhibit on baseball planned for October, an exhibit on a former Hagerstown-based organ builder in November, a Civil War music exhibit in December and an exhibit on Japan in January, Byers said.

On Saturday, the museum will host an art walk at 10 a.m. and an Edgar Allan Poe-themed scavenger hunt at 2 p.m., she said.

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