Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Giving
The Discovery Center at Water’s Edge is pleased to be included as a charity in the 2023/2024 Combined Federal Campaign. We have created this page to provide potential CFC participants with an updated description of the goals of the Discovery Center, its current status and its planned development.
Q: What is the CFC’s website?
Q: How is the Discovery Center identified in the CFC’s list of Charities, and what is its CFC Number?
A: For the 2022/2023 giving campaign, the Discovery Center at Water’s Edge is listed under its former name the APG Discovery Center. Its CFC number is (and will remain) 11621.
Q: What is the Discovery Center?
A: The Discovery Center at Water’s Edge (DCWE) will be an interactive and multi-dimensional facility providing a range of exhibitions and programs that enhance STEM educational programs in our public schools and the broader community. When completed, the facility will include interactive exhibits, hands-on technology, a laboratory, classrooms, an auditorium, Maker Space, and multi-purpose spaces where traveling exhibits from other science centers can be hosted. In addition to hosting thousands of visitors and tourists annually, we will host after-school and summer science programming. Active and retired scientists, college students, and teachers will offer tutoring and mentoring to students. The Discovery Center will serve as a regional hub for STEM activity and an important building block in the tourism ecosystem in the Upper Chesapeake region.
Q: Is the DCWE built yet?
A: The Discovery Center is a work in progress. It will open a “Preview” Center in early 2023. A small-scale (7,000-10,000 SF) fully operational center is planned for 2025. Our vision for the final Discovery Center is a free-standing 35,000-SF facility that can accommodate up to 100,000 visitors each year, by 2032.
Q: Where will the DCWE be located?
A: The Discovery Center will be located at the Water’s Edge complex in Belcamp, MD. The DCWE’s Preview Center will be located in a free-standing one-story building at 4405 Pulaski Hwy, Suite B.
Q: Why are we building a Discovery Center?
A: In 2011, Harford County lost its number one tourist attraction – the Army Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG). At its peak, the Ordnance Museum attracted over 200,000 visitors per year and was a major economic driver for the region. In 2014, a group of community leaders came together to consider options to replace the museum, but quickly realized that the upper Chesapeake community would be better served by an “off base,” locally-run, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-oriented facility that would appeal to a broad family-oriented audience. The community leaders had several reasons for the decision to focus on science and technology:
First, by providing Harford County’s students with increased exposure to science and technology early in their intellectual development, the Discovery Center will play a critical role in the learning ecosystem of the county. Studies show that informal science learning that complements curriculum presented in school settings demonstrably increases students’ participation AND performance in STEM-related subjects throughout their academic career. This is enormously important to Harford County’s economic competitiveness in attracting and retaining talented knowledge-based workers to support all commercial and industrial sectors in Harford County, not just the defense community.
Second, a major regional science center in Harford County will draw tens of thousands of people from the entire Upper Chesapeake Region, creating a “halo effect” that benefits all tourist attractions in the region.
Third, there is a scientific brain trust and concentration of resources already in the Upper Chesapeake Region that supports and complements the advanced technology missions carried out by organizations at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The Discovery Center at Water’s Edge will work with representatives of those organizations to leverage their existing STEM-oriented education initiatives to build a major regional science center for the benefit of the entire community, particularly our students who must be STEM literate to succeed in today’s marketplace.
Additionally, the Discovery Center at Water’s Edge will honor the heritage of STEM-related accomplishments of the employees of Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG). The Discovery Center is committed to creating exhibits that illustrate examples of STEM achievements initiated during the past century that began as military and defense projects – but which evolved into the commercial products we use every day.