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Focus On The Future
Officials Hope For Grandkids To Take To Science Center

October 22, 2005
By OSHRAT CARMIEL, Courant Staff Writer

When state and local officials got together Friday to celebrate the groundbreaking for the $149.5 million Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration in Hartford, they didn't make a public plea for money.

Instead, Gov. M Jodi Rell and Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez asked for grandchildren.

The center, an interactive science museum, would be a place of wonder and exploration for "our grandchildren," museum officials stressed. So Perez and the governor both used the public forum to urge their own children to add to the museum's future visitor base.

"Hint," Rell said from the podium at Friday's groundbreaking ceremony.

The ceremony followed an important milestone that took place just an hour earlier: the museum's board of trustees unanimously approved a detailed "concept plan" for the future museum.

The plan calls for creating six major exhibit areas on four floors. The four largest galleries would be devoted to earth science, space science, physical science and human health.

Other galleries would have the themes of art, music and culture; Connecticut inventions; Connecticut River Valley; clean energy; and sports science. There also would be a children's gallery.

The exhibits will be installed in the center near the end of its construction, due for completion in 2008. The museum's $149.5 million price tag is being funded with roughly $107 million in state money, with the remainder coming from other sources.

"This will be a statewide learning destination that will inspire children," said Henry A. McKinnell, chairman and CEO of Pfizer Inc., which donated more than $5 million for the center.

"In the vernacular," he said, "they will learn that science is cool and that they can do it."

Among the displays to be included in the museum is a "future capsule" - a repository of prognostications for the year 2030, the first three of which were submitted Friday by Connecticut middle school students.

Their predictions will be joined by thousands of others, which are being collected through the museum's website, www.ctcse.org.

Also on Friday, the board of trustees added several new members, including Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway personal transportation device and founder of the FIRST Robotics competition for high school students.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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