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Nonprofit Eyes Navy Yard for New 'Enviro-Museum'

The director of 'e inc.' spoke to the Charlestown Neighborhood Council Tuesday evening about plans for Building 114.

[UPDATE Thursday, 10:50 a.m.]

An organization that works to teach children about science and environmental action is hoping to open a new museum in Charlestown Navy Yard, in Building 114.

Dr. Ricky Stern, executive director of "e inc.," presented the idea to the Charlestown Neighborhood Council at their Tuesday, Dec. 4 meeting, providing a quick overview of what the company does and their plans for the building.

Started in 2002, "e inc." combines environmental science with civic engagement to develop lessons for students in kindergarten through eighth grade throughout the Boston area.

“'E inc.' provides children, teens and adults a scientific understanding of earth’s natural resources, biomes and beings along with the skills needed to protect the planet and to live sustainably,” according to a brochure Stern shared Tuesday.

Past subject areas have included the ocean, the Amazon rainforest, climate change and global warming, gardening and backyard conservation.

“We see about 2,000 children a year,” Stern said of the organization. “We are interested in packing a punch; we are not a one-shot deal. We go into a school and we stay.”

"E inc." founders have “wanted a museum space since we started,” Stern said, and they are excited for an opportunity to open a site on the Boston Harborwalk.

The museum would have an action space, three exhibits, an “investigation station” and a few office spaces, Stern said. "E inc." would continue its outreach programs from the new location as well as host school groups and regular daily visitors.

Stern compared the project to the Boston Children’s Museum, saying that she hoped the e-science museum would become a “destination space,” bringing people to the area and benefiting local businesses and the Charlestown community as a whole.

“We hope this brings some great positives to Charlestown, not just to our vision and our mission,” she said.

Stern anticipated a one- to two-year timeline for opening the museum, saying e inc. recently got approval for the plans through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

They have teamed up with Partners HealthCare and recently hired a consultant who is helping to build "e inc."’s board of directors. From there, they will begin raising funds and gathering starter exhibits, Stern said.

Eventually, "e inc." hopes to develop “investigation stations” around the community and offer adult education programs in the evenings—speakers, film series and other activities, Stern said.

The site is not without challenges, though—in particular, space limitations.

“We’ll have to be savvy about who comes and when they come,” Stern said of the museum.

In addition, she hopes to encourage “non car traffic” to the site and said e inc. may look to partner with shuttles in the area to connect to existing public transit in Charlestown.

The project is still in the early stages and will have to go through Boston Redevelopment Authority review, along with other parts of the development process. Building 114 is owned by the BRA.

CNC chairman Tom Cunha said that when official building plans for the project are ready, they will be referred to the council's Development Committee for review. The Basic Services Committee will also weigh in on the project. Both meetings will be posted and open to the public.

Joshua D December 07, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Excellent idea !! Great for educating in such an important issue in our time. Charlestown and Boston should embrace this with open arms.
Jeanne M December 17, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Inspirational place for our children to continue learning about saving the country that was built on Boston Harbor. Go for it!
Jay K. February 06, 2013 at 02:39 PM
This would be a great addition to the Navy Yard. Are there any updates?

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