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Longview children's museum moves closer to reality

Exhibit Concepts

Developers of a hands-on children’s museum in Longview have released a conceptual design rendering for Longview World of Wonders. It’s slated to be located in a former downtown furniture store. The nonprofit’s board has contracted with Ohio-based Exhibit Concepts to design, fabricate and install the galleries. World of Wonders program’s chairwoman Jo Lee Ferguson said these plans demonstrate that the museum will be professional and a tourist draw.

“We wondered if people thought we were going to just build some stuff in our backyard, and that would be what the museum was -- just a mom-and-pop place," Ferguson said. "It doesn’t mean those kinds of venues don’t have their place and value. But, I think especially when people start to see these very professionally-designed, hands-on exhibits we have planned, they’re going to see we mean business.”

A $2.4 million capital campaign is underway, and the organization currently has about a $500,000 in the bank, according to board facilities chairwoman Michelle Norris. She said the search for an executive director will begin soon. Meanwhile, Norris said, Exhibit Concepts is developing exhibits that tie in to East Texas, like Energy City.

“We really wanted to showcase the natural resources that we have in our community  -- from coal, natural gas, to hydroelectric power -- and we wanted show children how these work in our daily lives together, as well as how they impact our region and how our region can impact the global economy," Norris said.

Longview World of Wonders is slated to open the last quarter of 2014, according to Norris.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.