Did you know that high-speed photography was invented at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG)? That the first computer, the ENIAC, was created and operated at APG? That every bomb-sniffing dog can trace its roots to APG? How about the world’s first emails being sent via the ARPANet?
We have an incredible brain-trust at APG that for 100 years has developed world-changing technology for soldiers and civilians. The Discovery Center at Water’s Edge leverages this brain trust for the benefit of the public, particularly our students who must be STEM literate to succeed today.
The Discovery Center will be a place where students of all ages experience, create, and play with science and technology. A place where new worlds are discovered, and connections are made. Exhibits featuring virtual reality will give visitors the opportunity to drive a tank or fly a plane. Other exhibits will explore the history and the future of high performance computing. In addition to interactive exhibits, the Discovery Center will offer after-school programs, maker spaces, and serve as an anchor for the region’s STEM activities.
We are now working to launch Phase 1 of the Discovery Center – the “Preview” Center at Water’s Edge complex in Belcamp, MD. The Preview Center will serve as a visitor’s center, work space, exhibit area, and will provide funders and visitors a small taste of what will be found at the permanent Discovery Center in 2024.
Phase 2 of this project will result in the opening of a permanent Discovery Center with 10,000-SF of exhibit space, serving over 55,000 visitors each year, and costing approximately $2.7 million. We then hope in Phase 3 to grow the Center to 35,000 SF serving 100,000 visitors each year. These estimates are supported by a feasibility study commissioned last year.
This project is led by the APG Centennial Celebration Association, a 501c3 founded to support APG’s centennial celebration and to help replace the US Army Ordnance Museum that was moved to Fort Lee, VA in 2011. The Discovery Center is that replacement. We have a very successful track record. Last year we helped organize and publicize over 150 centennial programs and events, including establishing the APG Memorial in Aberdeen, and we raised over $250,000 in grants and donations to support these programs. Many organizations supported this effort and continue in their support of the Discovery Center, some making multi-year pledges.