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Sci-fi museum eyes preview sites in Crystal City, DC waterfront

It might be in D.C. proper, or it might be in Crystal City, but the team behind a museum of sci-fi thinks it can open a preview version of a full-scale museum within the next twelve months.
The Museum of Science Fiction already has in place hundreds of staff members – all working for free – and hundreds more volunteers waiting for a task to be assigned to them.
Now that’s dedication. Where does it come from?
Alexandria resident, Greg Viggiano, 50, the visionary behind and executive director of the future museum, who quit his job not long ago to work on the museum full time, thinks he knows why.
“A lot of people are so passionate about science fiction, and believe that there needs to be an institution dedicated to it,” he says. “They want to help make it happen.”
For the “preview” building Viggiano and his team envisions, the museum raised $54,923 via an Indiegogo campaign that concluded about a month ago. While the funds collected fell short of the original goal of $160,000, Viggiano says it also help advance a less tangible goal: to significantly advance public awareness of the project.
Viggiano says he thinks a preview museum of 3,000 or 4,000 square feet in size could open within twelve months, pending additional funding. “We have the talent on board to pull it off, providing we can find a suitable location.”
Proximity to hotels and Metro stops is key. “Crystal City is just a few Metro stops from L’Enfant Plaza, where Air & Space is,” Viggiano says. “We are also considering a location on the waterfront, one stop away from L’Enfant.”
Viggiano’s background is in project management for large federal contracts. Those skills are coming in handy now. “This thing has so many moving parts.”
He says he has Web designers, architects, scientists, curators and others developing programming, appearing on panels talking about science-fiction topics and creating “visitor experiences” for the future museum. Some have worked at NASA, others at LucasFilms or Georgetown University. All of them share a passion for the subject at hand, often stemming from childhood exposure to sci-fi books and films.
“I watched a lot of Star Trek growing up [in Scarsdale, N.Y.], and I read a lot of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke,” Viggiano says.
Viggiano made sure his now high-school and college-aged daughters saw sci-fi films with strong female leads when they were growing up, like Star Trek’s Captain Janeway.
“Our museum has a huge commitment toward education, particularly STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education,” he says. “We want to use the museum as a tool to get kids more interested in these fields.”
If and when the preview museum opens within a year, Viggiano thinks he and his staff could open the full-scale museum another three to four years hence. 

Read more articles by Amy Rogers Nazarov.

Amy Rogers Nazarov is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist with more than 25 years experience as a staff reporter and a freelance writer, covering technology, adoption, real estate, and lifestyle topics from food & drink to home organizing. Her byline has appeared in Cooking Light, The Washington Post, Slate, Washingtonian, The Writer, Smithsonian, The Washington Post Express, The Baltimore Examiner, The Sacramento Bee, Cure, The Washington Times, Museum, and many other outlets. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors and tweets at @WordKitchenDC.
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