Fundraising set to start for Coast Guard museum

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The National Coast Guard Museum Association is launching a local fundraising campaign on Saturday called "First 100" to help generate initial funds for the programming, development and marketing of the new National Coast Guard Museum planned for downtown New London, Conn.

The "First 100" campaign seeks to raise $100,000 in 100 days, beginning Saturday, through minimum donations of $1,000. As donations are received, the initial contributors will be forever immortalized as members of the museum's "First 100" Society and honored with a bronze plaque inscribed with their name and placed at the entrance to the new museum.

"People are very excited about the National Coast Guard Museum coming to New London and they're eager to help and get involved," museum association treasurer John Johnson said in a statement. "It's our hope to have the museum open by 2017 and we're working hard to raise the necessary funds so that we can start on the museum's programming and marketing as soon as the engineering, architectural and permitting work is complete."

In April, the commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Robert J. Papp, announced the proposed location and designs for the museum, which is intended to be built in the New London Waterfront District adjacent to the city's train station and ferry terminals. Plans include a four-story, 54,300-square-foot building with four floors of interactive exhibits, event space and lecture rooms, as well as a reception area with a gift shop and cafe.

Plans also anticipate docking the Coast Guard's tall ship, Barque Eagle, at an adjacent pier, serving as an additional attraction. A pedestrian overpass across the railroad tracks will connect the museum with the local ferry terminal and train station, helping to usher visitors worldwide as they come to experience the first national museum dedicated to the Coast Guard's history.

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