By MATT KOESTERS
CLARKSVILLE — The Falls of the Ohio Foundation aims to raise $900,000 by the end of 2013 for renovations and new exhibits at the interpretive center at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.
The Falls of the Ohio Crossroads Campaign has raised a total of $3.8 million since it kicked-off in 2006, according to Dani Cummins, executive director of the foundation. The $900,000 it hopes to raise this year will be used to fabricate new exhibits in anticipation of renovations at the interpretive center, Cummins said.
“The Falls Interpretive Center has been open since 1994, and we still have the original exhibits,” Cummins said. “It’s been 18 years with the original exhibits, and the typical lifespan for museum exhibits is five to 10 years. So we’re way overdue for a renovation.”
The new exhibits will still tell the story of the 400-million-year history of the Falls, but will be grouped in four themes: “An Ancient Sea,” “A Changing Land,” “Converging Cultures” and “The Falls Today.”
“In our planning, we have wanted to make the exhibits more friendly to the 21st-Century visitor and learner of all ages and walks of life,” Cummins said. “So we want to make the exhibits much more hands-on and interactive, and immersive in the use of technology, such as touch-screen computers and that kind of thing.
“The exhibits that we have now are wonderful, but they’re pretty much reading panels and looking at pictures.”
In addition to updating the interpretive center’s exhibits, the foundation also aims to improve the building by adding an entrance from the rear of the parking lot.
State Sen. Ron Grooms and State Reps. Steve Stemler and Ed Clere are working to incorporate funds into the state’s general budget as a specific appropriation to help pay for building modifications and the new entrance, according to a Falls of the Ohio Foundation press release.
Provided that all fundraising goals are reached, the interpretive center is expected to close in November 2014 and reopen in April 2015, Cummins said.