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ScienceWorks raising funds to buy building, start programs

Public capital campaign aims for $1.5 million
 Posted: 2:00 AM September 21, 2013

ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum is kicking off the public phase of a capital campaign to raise $1.5 million to buy its building, make upgrades and launch several new departments and exhibit spaces.

Until now, the museum has rented from the Washington-based Kirlin Foundation, which purchased the building for $1.5 million in 2002. ScienceWorks officials said the foundation wished to sell the building and approached them about buying it.

"We know we want to capture this opportunity this moment in time," said Chip Lindsey, ScienceWorks executive director.

If you go

What: ScienceWorks presents TinkerFest

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, and Sunday, Sept. 22

Where: ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, 1500 E. Main St., Ashland

Cost: $5

Museum officials are buying the building for $850,000, using a loan similar to a mortgage called a program-related investment. The additional $650,000 ScienceWorks hopes to raise would go toward making energy efficiency upgrades and repairs on the building and creating a new exhibits department, new exhibit spaces, a learning lab and a tinkering studio.

"We'll have a place that everybody can be proud of when they come and visit," Lindsey said.

Several individual donors and groups, including the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and Meyer Memorial Trust, already have made donations. A total of about $1.2 million has been raised.

The public campaign kicks off this weekend with TinkerFest, devoted to tinkering and exploring how things work. The two-day event, held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21-22, will boast a variety of artists, robotics experts, mechanics and others. Activities will include dueling robots, chalk art, technology exhibits by the Rogue Hack Lab, playing with radios, and taking apart a car and learning about the components under the hood.

"We're really creating an opportunity for this community, really the whole state of Jefferson, to come together, and do something they've done all along," Lindsey said. "It runs the gamut, but it really is about getting people involved in working with their hands."

Richard Jarel, a toy and special effects designer who helped design the helmets from the "Power Rangers" TV series and numerous toys for the Mattel corporation, will talk about his career as a designer and show examples of some of his creations from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Georgina Hayns and Jeremy Spake, Portland-based animators from LAIKA — the animation studio that made the "ParaNorman" and "Coraline" films — will host a stop-animation workshop from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday. There were still spots available Friday, but space is limited to 20 participants. The class costs $50.

The art exhibit "Deep Sea Creatures" will be on display. Created by master contemporary jeweler Arline Fisch, the exhibit shows several varieties of jellyfish made from colored wires. Fisch will host a workshop on copper-wire crochet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. The workshop cost is $70.

A workshop in which attendees can build fighting sumo robots with robotics instructor Chris Duval is planned from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The workshop costs $25 and is suited for kids 9-13.

All three workshops require preregistration. Call 541-482-6767 for more information or to register. Visit for a complete listing of programs and exhibits.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at

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