Funds sought for science fiction museum lift-off
05:00 AM, Nov 04, 2013
Science fiction fans can join a crowd-funding mission that boldly goes where none has gone before: the creation of a museum devoted to the history of the genre, from Star Trek to video games such as Halo.
Now live on indiegogo.com is the campaign for the Museum of Science Fiction with a goal of raising $166,000 to help fund the creation of a preview museum in Washington, D.C. Organizers hope to open the preview location next year, with a full museum targeted for 2017.
For a time, science fiction had some permanent space among the pop culture subjects exhibited at the Experience Music Project, a Seattle museum founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Now, that site hosts only temporary sci-fi exhibits. “So we do indeed need a fully dedicated museum to tell the larger story of science fiction,” says author Greg Bear (Darwin’s Radio), a member of the museum’s advisory board along with author David Brin (Startide Rising).
Features planned for the 3,000-square-foot preview museum include an 11-foot Starship Enterprise movie prop, a full-size Doctor Who Tardis replica and a wall-length LED display showing landscapes from science fiction films such as Star Wars, Avatar and Jurassic Park.
The preview museum will serve as a place to raise funds, get fan input and “demonstrate the concepts and designs we want to put in the larger museum,” says Greg Viggiano, the museum’s executive director. “It will also give us a physical location to start our programming and hold events.”
Contribution perks for the fund-raising campaign, which runs through Dec. 11, start at $15. Those who contribute $25 get their name on the display wall. A $3,000 donation lets you become a fan adviser for a year.
A Washington area entrepreneur and project management executive, Viggiano is a lifelong science fiction fan faves include Star Trek and Arthur C. Clarke who has recruited three dozen other professionals for the project. “There really isn’t one standalone museum dedicated to science fiction and giving balance to film, television, literature, music, art, video games and radio,” he says. “We want to create a museum that has a really good representation across all those different types of media and make sure that we tell the complete story.”
With tens of thousands of tourists daily and an estimated 19 million annually, Washington makes sense as a site for the museum, which would complement current tourist destinations such as Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Viggiano says. “It would be a good contribution to the area and also the nation and we could also maybe use it as an interesting educational tool to help kids engage with the hard sciences and math.”
Well-designed fun and interactive educational activities within the museum could stimulate young visitors’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects, he says.
That goal hits home with aerospace consultant and Doctor Who fan Mandy Sweeney, who’s helping with the museum effort. “Science fiction really opens you up to the humanities and technical fields,” she says. “We are hoping that we will be engaging several generations of visitors in a way that really lets them connect with the history of science fiction.”