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City Panel Approves $4.2M Design of New USS Constellation Visitor Center

It's been in the planning stages for 10 years. Now, it looks like this ship is almost ready to sail.

Baltimore City's Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel gave its final approval this month for a new Education and Heritage Center at the ship museum USS Constellation.

Now it just needs another $1.6 million in funding to open by spring 2012, Constellation Executive Director Christopher Rowsom says.  It's already gotten $2.6 million from federal, state and city government.

The new building will contain more extensive interpretative exhibits detailing what life was like on board the 19th century ship, Rowsom says.

Crafted by Museum Design Associates of Cambridge, Mass., the expanded exhibits will hopefully boost the city's cultural and heritage tourism promotions.

The exhibits will highlight the ship's role in fighting the African slave trade when it intercepted three slave ships from 1859 to 1861.

"Baltimore is a very historical place," Rowsom says. "We want to have everything interpreted and displayed properly."

Designed by W Architecture & Landscape Architecture of New York, the new wood-and-glass structure will be modern looking, Rowsom says.

At 12-feet high, the new visitors' center will be half the height of the current structure and won't block the view of other ships at the Inner Harbor, Rowsom says.

"It's not a very nice piece of architecture and it blocks the views of the ship," he says of the current education center.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Christopher Rowsom, USS Constellation

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