Kids’ Museum to Shine Light on Solar, Environment

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Los Angeles schoolchildren will learn valuable lessons in solar power, and other environmental efforts, in a planned exhibit for the in-progress children's museum that is planned for the San Fernando Valley.

The exhibit is a result of a recent Los Angeles City Council decision to use $3.9 million from the Department of Water and Power and $3.6 million from the Bureau of Sanitation to jump start funding for the museum, which has long been in the works. In return for the funding, the museum will create an exhibit that explores solar power, water conservation, and recycling. The exhibit would also promote awareness of the city's efforts in those areas; recently, the department entered into two new agreements, with K Road Moapa Solar and Copper Mountain Solar 3, both in Nevada, which would bring solar power to almost 200,000 homes. Plans call for the exhibit to be on display for 30 years and account for a third of the museum's exhibit space.

The museum was first announced in 2000 and the city of Los Angeles took over the project in 2009. It will be operated by the Discovery Science Center, which is based in Santa Ana, Calif. That center draws more than 220,000 children each year for its interactive exhibits, according to center officials, who say the Los Angeles museum would be a "regional institute." While the plans for the Los Angeles exhibit haven't been finalized, the Santa Ana center has similar displays that look at the sources of household hazardous waste, how to recycle different items, and how decisions people make while shopping can have environmental repercussions. There will also be a shared focus on education programs that bring students to the museum.

The museum will be housed in a 57,000-square-foot building at the Hansen Dam Recreation Center in Los Angeles. Currently, the museum has a target opening of late 2014.

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