GREAT LAKES SCIENCE CENTER COMPLETES CONSTRUCTION
ON CONNECTOR BETWEEN BUILDING AND STEAMSHIP WILLIAM G. MATHER
Connector provides physical/thematic links for venues
October 15th, 2009
CLEVELAND (October 15, 2009) – Great Lakes Science Center broke ground in September 2008 for a physical connector to link the building to the Steamship William G. Mather Museum. On October 22, 2009 at 5:30 p.m., a ribbon cutting ceremony will celebrate the completion of this physical and thematic link between the two organizations. This is the first step to providing year-round access to the Mather and the stepping stone to a major redevelopment of exhibits aboard the steamship.
“The Connector poises us to begin major redevelopment of exhibitions on either side of it, at the Steamship William G. Mather and Great Lakes Science Center,” says Jeanette Grasselli Brown, Chair, Board of Directors. “The Connector positions the Great Lakes Science Center to take the lead in interpreting the future of freshwater in the region and beyond.”
The 400’ Connector begins at the ground level of Great Lakes Science Center in the recently opened MC2STEM High School, unveiled this past August. Glass walls open the view beyond and through the Connector; as guests walk through the Connector toward the Mather, they will approach a gathering point in the structure with a raised roof to give a full height view of the prow – enhancing the first glimpse of the ship.
The tallest section of the Connector is designed to act as a symbolic portal into Northcoast Harbor from the west. The exposed truss work above the opening at this point is white to provide a striking contrast against the dark hull of the ship. Industrial materials were used, not only to endure lakefront weather conditions, but also to connect the new structure to the mining and industrial roots of the Mather and Cleveland’s port.
The newly completed Connector is a continuation of several objectives of the Science Center’s strategic plan. First, the plan outlined water and the environment as crucial content areas. In addition, the plan called for the Science Center to be a non-profit leader for collaboration and consolidation among Northeast Ohio organizations.
The Mather combined with Great Lakes Science Center in 2006. Since that time, the Science Center has integrated the Mather into its programming and camps program and elevated awareness of and attendance to the Mather. The Connector solidifies this connection and will help to make the Mather an eventual year-round experience. The next step is to redevelop the cargo holds of the Mather, integrating more exhibits which will outline not only the history of Lake Erie shipping, but also the technology and industries that have and will lead Northeast Ohio. In addition, freshwater exhibits will be created for the Great Lakes Science Center, allowing the Science Center to continue to be a leader in fresh water education.
An accessible pass-through allows bicyclists and pedestrians through the structure without having to open a door – the area is marked with gold panels as a visual cue. In addition, overhead doors permit large crowds to pass through the Connector during large public events on Northcoast Harbor.
The Connector is made possible from a generous lead gift from Cliffs Natural Resources and the State of Ohio through the Cultural Facilities Commission, as well as funding from ArcelorMittal, The Cleveland Foundation, The Elizabeth Ring and William Gwinn Mather Foundation, Jones Day, James D. Ireland, III, The Murch Foundation, The Reinberger Foundation, The Sherwick Fund, Thompson Hine LLP and Ulmer & Berne LLP.
Westlake Reed Leskosky is the architectural and engineering firm for the Connector; Panzica Construction is the general contractor.
About the Steamship William G. Mather Museum
The Steamship William G. Mather Museum is a retired Great Lakes bulk freighter. The Mather opened to the public in 1991 as Northeast Ohio’s only floating maritime museum. It was built in 1925 as Cleveland Cliffs’ flagship, and was named for the founding family of the company. She remained an active part of the Cliffs’ fleet until the end of the 1980 navigation season. The ship stretches 618 feet long and rises five stories above the water. Due to its historic nature, the Mather is not handicap accessible. The Mather is open daily June – August. During May, September and October the Mather is open Friday – Sunday.
About Great Lakes Science Center
Great Lakes Science Center is one of the nation’s leading science and technology centers, featuring hundreds of hands-on exhibits, themed traveling exhibits, daily demonstrations, the awe-inspiring OMNIMAX® Theater and the Steamship William G. Mather. The Science Center is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with discounted parking available for guests in the attached 500-car garage. Great Lakes Science Center is generously funded by the citizens of Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. For more information, contact the Science Center at (216) 694-2000 or visit www.GreatScience.com.
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