What is happening with D.C.’s Museum of Science Fiction?


A rendering of what the interior of the Museum of Science Fiction could look like. (Courtesy of Greg Viggiano)

D.C. doesn’t generally get too fired up by a new museum — we do have more than 50 already. But the November announcement of plans for a science-fiction museum got this city to perk up. A phalanx of Stormtroopers filming a promo video on the Mall didn’t hurt, either.

At midnight Sunday, an Indie-gogo crowdfunding campaign for the museum ended with $55,000 pledged, far short of its $160,000 goal. Organizers are undeterred, though, saying the campaign succeeded in getting word out about the project, which was its real objective.

“The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Greg Viggiano, executive director of the Museum of Science Fiction, who has seen “a ton of enthusiasm and support from the fan communities.”

A recently announced partnership with the Silver Spring-based Science Channel has also helped build buzz, and the museum plans to have a presence at AwesomeCon, a D.C. comic convention set for April 18-20. That event shows that there is a demand for sci-fi here, said Viggiano. Last year, 7,000 people attended the event; this year, organizers expect more than 30,000.

A project manager by trade, Viggiano aims to make the nonprofit museum a reality “at the speed of a California startup” rather than a bureaucratic D.C. institution. He and a group of more than 100 volunteers are working to get a preview in place by 2015 and a full-scale museum three years later. Besides money to get started (an estimated $3 million for the preview location and $30 million for the museum), organizers need to nail down a space.

While the preview will likely be in downtown D.C., the museum has received interest — and potential competition — from nearby cities. “They see the huge traffic potential,” Viggiano said, noting that the museum would consider a location like Crystal City or Rosslyn if the price was right “as long as it is within a block or so of a Metro station.”

BONUS: Check out six more proposed museums that have big plans for D.C. here.

Rachel Sadon is the local news editor for Express
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