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Find out more about the Discovery Center at Water's Edge

Click above to read all about our plans for the Discovery Center at Water’s Edge and why it belongs in Harford County, Maryland.

Donate to our Inspire Innovation Campaign

We are dreaming big for the Discovery Center and our fundraising goals are lofty as well. We are working to raise $500,000 by June 2022 to complete Phase 1 – the Discovery Preview Center – and $4 million by the end of 2024 to build out Phase 2 – an operational Discovery Center. We are anticipating raising over $30 million by the time we open the fully-scaled science center in 2026.

From the corporate and philanthropic community, we are soliciting gifts ranging in size from $1000 to $300,000. We can spread larger pledges over three years. We will work with the benefactors to design a benefits package that best suits them. Go to the Business Partnerships page for more information.

For individuals and families, we welcome you to join as Founding Members and Founding Families. This offer is open until the end of 2022. Your name will be included on our list of founding members in perpetuity!”

Dream Big

Raising the funds to realize our vision is the most important near-term goal. We have designed a campaign called “Inspire Innovation” that we hope will include members of the community at all levels of ability to give.

Funds raised will benefit three areas of focus. The largest focus is to create inspiring exhibits and learning spaces at the Discovery Center. The second is to expand our reach by taking science into the community.

Our signature event is the Magic of Science Fair and Family Festival, which is now planned for June 11, 2022. We also will have exhibits at the Maryland and Chesapeake Houses – the rest stops on I-95.

The third focus area is an endowment for future growth and special programs. An important part of our mission is to provide free access to programs and resources for underserved communities.

 

A Vision

for a place where students of all ages
explore, play, innovate, and discover

For over 100 years, the people of Northeastern Maryland have developed world-changing technologies. Many of these technologies trace their roots to Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), the Army’s technology “mega-base.”

The Discovery Center will be a place where new worlds are discovered, and connections are made. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the past, present, and future of technology, such as computing, power and energy, 3D printing, agricultural technology, and much more.

Phase I

In 2022, the Discovery Center at Water’s Edge will open a Preview Center.

Phase II

A 10,000-SF facility will open in 2024 featuring 12-15 hands-on exhibits, an Imax auditorium, flex space, large classroom, and a small store.

Phase III

The Discovery Center at Water’s Edge will triple in size with the construction of a 35,000 SF permanent facility and be able to accommodate over 100,000 visitors a year.

In 2024, Phase II is set to open with a 10,000 sq.ft. exhibit space featuring 12 to 15 hands-on exhibits, and IMAX auditorium, large flexible space, classroom, and small store.

About the Discovery Center at Water's Edge

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.

A Little More Background

Harford County lost a major asset and its largest tourist attraction when the Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) was closed due to Base Realignment and Closure legislation and moved to Fort Lee in 2011. At its peak, the Ordnance Museum was drawing over 200,000 visitors per year and was an economic driver for the region.

In 2014, a team of former APG employees and concerned business leaders began discussions on creating a replacement for the Ordnance Museum. Recognizing that APG’s 100th Anniversary was an opportune time to tell the story of APG’s many contributions to national defense and civilian life, the APG Centennial Celebration Association (ACCA) was formed as a 501c3 nonprofit to assist APG in developing a comprehensive program of events and educational activities to commemorate its long history in celebration of APG’s Centennial year. We helped develop a year-long plan of over 150 events to celebrate the region’s 100-year history. Our long-term goal was to leverage a successful centennial year into a replacement for the APG Ordnance Museum. The Discovery Center at Water’s Edge is that replacement.

Once the centennial year (2017) was concluded, the ACCA Board turned to building the foundation for the Discovery Center. The Board has been expanded to include more community partners, is responding to the feasibility study commissioned to explore if the region could support the proposed Discovery Center, developing a comprehensive business plan, and outlining a capital campaign strategy.

The Board holds a clear vision for the Discovery Center at Water’s Edge: a place where students of all ages explore, experience, invent, create, and play with technology, leading them to a greater understanding of the scientific principles at play and the history of that technology’s development.

The goal is to develop the Discovery Center into the most visited tourist attraction north of Baltimore. We want families, retirees, history buffs, and students from all around the Mid-Atlantic to travel to the Discovery Center to explore science and technology and be inspired to innovate. We want to tell the stories of the region’s rich technology heritage and contribution to society and create an interactive space where we can light a fire of discovery in students of all ages and from all backgrounds.

For 100 years, Harford County has been home to some of the most brilliant minds in science and technology. Their inventions have changed how people live, work, and play around the globe. It is only fitting that Harford County is also home to a world-class Discovery Center.

Former Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill keynotes the APG Centennial Kick-Off Social on January 31, 2018.

Former Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill keynotes the APG Centennial Kick-Off Social on January 31, 2018.

Families of fallen APG workers participate in the 2018 dedication ceremony of the APG Workers Memorial located in Aberdeen’s Festival Park.

Families of fallen APG workers participate in the 2018 dedication ceremony of the APG Workers Memorial located in Aberdeen’s Festival Park.

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The Board holds a clear vision for the Discovery Center at Water’s Edge: a place where students of all ages explore, experience, invent, create, and play with technology, leading them to a greater understanding of the scientific principles at play and the history of that technology’s development.

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