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Museum architects visit Union City, review DPA plans

Museum architects visit Union City, review DPA plans

Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2010 9:02 pm
By: Larry Snider

 By LARRY SNIDER Special to The Messenger Several representatives from Verner Johnson Associates of Boston are in Union City this week to begin the planning that will lead to a resumption of construction for Discovery Park of America. Verner Johnson executives in Union City include managing principal Brad Nederhoff and president Louis Sirianni. Both have been involved in many of Verner Johnson’s significant museum projects. They are meeting this week with Robert Kirkland and Jim Rippy who are spearheading the development of Discovery Park. They will also review the existing site. Verner Johnson was chosen through an extensive selection process to develop a new design for Discovery Center (main museum building) and to implement the site master plan that was prepared in late 2009 by Hnedak Bobo Group Inc. of Memphis. The Kirkland Foundation determined it was more efficient to have one architect handle both the site development and the building construction. The Kirkland Foundation and Verner Johnson Associates have an “agreement in principle” but are still discussing some of the contract details. Even though the contract is not yet signed, planning meetings are under way in order to move forward as quickly as possible. Verner Johnson exclusively plans and designs museums and has more experience than any other architectural firm with museums. Since 1965, the firm has specialized only in working closely with institutions and communities to create vibrant, successful museums of all types and sizes. They have worked on more than 200 museum projects in the United States, Europe, China, Japan and other areas of the world. Their work includes several projects for the Smithsonian as well as the Louvre in Paris. Verner Johnson utilizes a planning process that is based on in-depth knowledge of “how museums really work” to achieve both the successful completion and operation of museums. It is estimated that more than 12 million people annually attend museums that Verner Johnson has designed. Current projects include the Cade Museum of Invention and Innovation in Gainesville, Fla., and the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan, Kan. Nederhoff and Sirianni, as well as exhibit experts and designers from Thinc Design and Maltbie Exhibits, will return to Union City on Jan. 25-27. Thinc and Maltbie are part of the Verner Johnson team responsible for the design and construction of exhibits, primarily within Discovery Center. Both firms have worked with Verner Johnson on many successful exhibit design projects. They will meet with Discovery Park’s theme committees including Art, Enlightenment, Children’s Exploration, Military, Native Americans, Natural History, Regional History, Science and Transportation as well as committees for Gardens, YesterYear, Food Service and Gift Shop. The vision for Discovery Park remains unchanged. Its primary objective is education for both adults and children and it will present exhibits and activities for people to experience history, nature, art and science within a 50-acre complex of gardens and buildings. DPA will be located between Everett Boulevard and the proposed I-69, across from Union City Second Baptist Church. ——— Editor’s note: Larry Snider is DPA’s director of marketing and communications. Published in The Messenger 1.14.10

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